Thumb Rules for Present, Past and Future Tenses. (English)
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Thumb Rules for Present, Past and Future Tenses. (English)

Gunjan Sarojwal Started The Discussion:

Hello,

I have found various tutorials on TOFEL, ILETS preparation sites and have tried to jot down some rules related to
Tenses in English Grammar in a concise format.

I have been using this format for checking various language/grammar/comprehension tests in recruiting
candidates.

Hope it will benefit all.

Regards,

Gunjan

-----------------

Tenses RULES

Present Tense (SIMPLE):
  • With singular- verb + (s)
  • With Plural- Verb only
I /They/ we/you work, He /she/ it (object, plan etc) works (1st form of verb)
(CONTINUOUS tense: + ING)
I am working, we/they/you are working, and he/she/it is working or it is being done
I /they/we/you do, He/she /it does.
I /we/they/you don’t, He/she/It doesn’t (NEGATION)
Do I/they/we/you? ……… Does he/she/it? (QUESTION)
PRESENT PERFECT
I/we/ they/you- have/haven’t
for e.g-I have done (3rd form of verb)
He/she/it- has/hasn’t
for e.g-he has done (3rd form of verb)
PRESENT PERFECT CONTINUOUS
I/we/ they/you- have / haven’t been …verb + ing
He/she/it- has/ hasn’t been…verb + ing
It has been done (3rd form of verb)
‘Have had’ and ‘has had’ are used when something/work is carried on from past in to the present.

PAST TENSE
(simple present)Isà Was (simple past)
I /he/she/ità was/ wasn’t
I saw, ate, drank etc (2nd form of verb)
(simple present)Areà were (simple past)
We/you/theyà were/ weren’t
We saw, ate, drank etc (2nd form of verb)
For question in simple past- Did you…..+ 1st form of verb?
e.g- Did Mary dance in a musical?
Past continuous –
I /he/she/it-- was/ wasn’t …verb+ ing
We/you/they-- were/ weren’t… verb + ing
Past Perfect-when something/work started and ended in past tense only
I/we/you/they/he/she/it- had + 3rd form of verb
e.g I had done my homework yesterday. Sometimes we use “had had” when we are too sure about the happening.
Past Perfect Continuous- when something / work got started and went on in past tense but not ended.
I/we/you/they/he/she/it- Had been… verb+ ing.
For question- had you completed/ been completing your work……..?

FUTURE TENSE
Please study the will/shall & going to usage to know when and how we use these words.
I/we/you/they/he/she/it- will + 1st form of verb
They will do……I/we shall do (1st form of verb)
‘It’ will be done (3rd form of verb with IT)
For future continuous –
I/we/you/they/he/she/it- will be & verb+ ing
Future perfect-
Note – we rarely use future perfect tense only when we are confident about future.
I/we- shall have + 3rd form of verb
You/they/he/she/it- Will have + 3rd form of verb
Future perfect continuous: will/ shall have been & verb + ing.

shrikantbhatt - Member Since: Dec 2007
Dear Gunjan,:) It was great to view your post, add more of these, do you have any audibles? on pronouncation, and accent (UK & USA) for various common English words?? If so post them too. Shrikant

nelson25 - Member Since: Feb 2008
Dear Peer, That was a nice article and can you make it little bit simple to understand in and easier way to beginners too. Regards Nelson Chennai

Gunjan Sarojwal - Member Since: Jun 2007
Thanks Nelson,

well those were the rules only ...with some examples.
i am preparing detailed tutorials as well and will put them on site shortly.
A brief overview on Tenses is given below:

What are tenses?
Tenses are used to indicate time. There are 3 main classifications of Tenses which are sub-classified into four categories:
Present Tense
Past Tense
Future Tense
Simple Present
Simple Past
Simple Future
Simple Present Continuous
Simple Past Continuous
Simple Future Continuous
Present Perfect
Past Perfect
Future Perfect
Present Perfect Continuous
Past Perfect Continuous
Future Perfect Continuous





At times “continuous tense” is also understood as “progressive”.
Present tense is the stem of the infinitive—to SEE, to USE, to DRIVE, etc.

Past tense is usually formed by adding -ed or -en to the verb or by changing a vowel inside the verb—SAW, USED, DRIVEN, etc.

Future tense is formed by adding "will" or "shall" to the verb stem—we SHALL see, you WILL use, he WILL drive, etc.


Perfect tense is formed by adding "have" or "has" to the past participle of the verb—I HAVE
seen, he HAS used, you HAVE driven, etc.

Past Perfect tense is formed by adding "had" to the past participle of the verb—I HAD
seen, he HAD used, you HAD driven, etc.

Future Perfect tense is formed by adding "shall have" or "will have" to the past participle of the verb—I SHALL HAVE seen, you WILL HAVE used, he WILL HAVE driven, etc.


Table of English Tenses
tense
Affirmative/Negative/Question
Use
Signal Words
Simple Present
A: He speaks.
N: He does not speak.
Q: Does he speak?
§ action in the present taking place once, never or several times
§ facts
§ actions taking place one after another
§ action set by a timetable or schedule
always, every …, never, normally, often, seldom, sometimes, usually
if sentences type I (If I talk, …)
Present Progressive
A: He is speaking.
N: He is not speaking.
Q: Is he speaking?
§ action taking place in the moment of speaking
§ action taking place only for a limited period of time
§ action arranged for the future
at the moment, just, just now, Listen!, Look!, now, right now
Simple Past
A: He spoke.
N: He did not speak.
Q: Did he speak?
§ action in the past taking place once, never or several times
§ actions taking place one after another
§ action taking place in the middle of another action
yesterday, 2 minutes ago, in 1990, the other day, last Friday
if sentence type II (If I talked, …)
Past Progressive
A: He was speaking.
N: He was not speaking.
Q: Was he speaking?
§ action going on at a certain time in the past
§ actions taking place at the same time
§ action in the past that is interrupted by another action
when, while, as long as
Present Perfect Simple
A: He has spoken.
N: He has not spoken.
Q: Has he spoken?
§ putting emphasis on the result
§ action that is still going on
§ action that stopped recently
§ finished action that has an influence on the present
§ action that has taken place once, never or several times before the moment of speaking
already, ever, just, never, not yet, so far, till now, up to now
Present Perfect Progressive
A: He has been speaking.
N: He has not been speaking.
Q: Has he been speaking?
§ putting emphasis on the course or duration (not the result)
§ action that recently stopped or is still going on
§ finished action that influenced the present
all day, for 4 years, since 1993, how long?, the whole week
Past Perfect Simple
A: He had spoken.
N: He had not spoken.
Q: Had he spoken?
§ action taking place before a certain time in the past
§ sometimes interchangeable with past perfect progressive
§ putting emphasis only on the fact (not the duration)
already, just, never, not yet, once, until that day
if sentence type III (If I had talked, …)
Past Perfect Progressive
A: He had been speaking.
N: He had not been speaking.
Q: Had he been speaking?
§ action taking place before a certain time in the past
§ sometimes interchangeable with past perfect simple
§ putting emphasis on the duration or course of an action
for, since, the whole day, all day
Future I Simple
A: He will speak.
N: He will not speak.
Q: Will he speak?
§ action in the future that cannot be influenced
§ spontaneous decision
§ assumption with regard to the future
in a year, next …, tomorrow
If-Satz Typ I (If you ask her, she will help you.)
assumption: I think, probably, we might …, perhaps
Future I Simple
(going to)
A: He is going to speak.
N: He is not going to speak.
Q: Is he going to speak?
§ decision made for the future
§ conclusion with regard to the future
in one year, next week, tomorrow
Future I Progressive
A: He will be speaking.
N: He will not be speaking.
Q: Will he be speaking?
§ action that is going on at a certain time in the future
§ action that is sure to happen in the near future
in one year, next week, tomorrow
Future II Simple
A: He will have spoken.
N: He will not have spoken.
Q: Will he have spoken?
§ action that will be finished at a certain time in the future
by Monday, in a week


Regards,

Gunjan

Gunjan Sarojwal - Member Since: Jun 2007
Thanks Nelson,

well those were the rules only ...with some examples.
i am preparing detailed tutorials as well and will put them on site shortly.
A brief overview on Tenses is given below:

What are tenses?
Tenses are used to indicate time. There are 3 main classifications of Tenses which are sub-classified into four categories:
Present Tense
Past Tense
Future Tense
Simple Present
Simple Past
Simple Future
Simple Present Continuous
Simple Past Continuous
Simple Future Continuous
Present Perfect
Past Perfect
Future Perfect
Present Perfect Continuous
Past Perfect Continuous
Future Perfect Continuous





At times “continuous tense” is also understood as “progressive”.
Present tense is the stem of the infinitive—to SEE, to USE, to DRIVE, etc.

Past tense is usually formed by adding -ed or -en to the verb or by changing a vowel inside the verb—SAW, USED, DRIVEN, etc.

Future tense is formed by adding "will" or "shall" to the verb stem—we SHALL see, you WILL use, he WILL drive, etc.


Perfect tense is formed by adding "have" or "has" to the past participle of the verb—I HAVE
seen, he HAS used, you HAVE driven, etc.

Past Perfect tense is formed by adding "had" to the past participle of the verb—I HAD
seen, he HAD used, you HAD driven, etc.

Future Perfect tense is formed by adding "shall have" or "will have" to the past participle of the verb—I SHALL HAVE seen, you WILL HAVE used, he WILL HAVE driven, etc.


Table of English Tenses
tense
Affirmative/Negative/Question
Use
Signal Words
Simple Present
A: He speaks.
N: He does not speak.
Q: Does he speak?
§ action in the present taking place once, never or several times
§ facts
§ actions taking place one after another
§ action set by a timetable or schedule
always, every …, never, normally, often, seldom, sometimes, usually
if sentences type I (If I talk, …)
Present Progressive
A: He is speaking.
N: He is not speaking.
Q: Is he speaking?
§ action taking place in the moment of speaking
§ action taking place only for a limited period of time
§ action arranged for the future
at the moment, just, just now, Listen!, Look!, now, right now
Simple Past
A: He spoke.
N: He did not speak.
Q: Did he speak?
§ action in the past taking place once, never or several times
§ actions taking place one after another
§ action taking place in the middle of another action
yesterday, 2 minutes ago, in 1990, the other day, last Friday
if sentence type II (If I talked, …)
Past Progressive
A: He was speaking.
N: He was not speaking.
Q: Was he speaking?
§ action going on at a certain time in the past
§ actions taking place at the same time
§ action in the past that is interrupted by another action
when, while, as long as
Present Perfect Simple
A: He has spoken.
N: He has not spoken.
Q: Has he spoken?
§ putting emphasis on the result
§ action that is still going on
§ action that stopped recently
§ finished action that has an influence on the present
§ action that has taken place once, never or several times before the moment of speaking
already, ever, just, never, not yet, so far, till now, up to now
Present Perfect Progressive
A: He has been speaking.
N: He has not been speaking.
Q: Has he been speaking?
§ putting emphasis on the course or duration (not the result)
§ action that recently stopped or is still going on
§ finished action that influenced the present
all day, for 4 years, since 1993, how long?, the whole week
Past Perfect Simple
A: He had spoken.
N: He had not spoken.
Q: Had he spoken?
§ action taking place before a certain time in the past
§ sometimes interchangeable with past perfect progressive
§ putting emphasis only on the fact (not the duration)
already, just, never, not yet, once, until that day
if sentence type III (If I had talked, …)
Past Perfect Progressive
A: He had been speaking.
N: He had not been speaking.
Q: Had he been speaking?
§ action taking place before a certain time in the past
§ sometimes interchangeable with past perfect simple
§ putting emphasis on the duration or course of an action
for, since, the whole day, all day
Future I Simple
A: He will speak.
N: He will not speak.
Q: Will he speak?
§ action in the future that cannot be influenced
§ spontaneous decision
§ assumption with regard to the future
in a year, next …, tomorrow
If-Satz Typ I (If you ask her, she will help you.)
assumption: I think, probably, we might …, perhaps
Future I Simple
(going to)
A: He is going to speak.
N: He is not going to speak.
Q: Is he going to speak?
§ decision made for the future
§ conclusion with regard to the future
in one year, next week, tomorrow
Future I Progressive
A: He will be speaking.
N: He will not be speaking.
Q: Will he be speaking?
§ action that is going on at a certain time in the future
§ action that is sure to happen in the near future
in one year, next week, tomorrow
Future II Simple
A: He will have spoken.
N: He will not have spoken.
Q: Will he have spoken?
§ action that will be finished at a certain time in the future
by Monday, in a week


Regards,

Gunjan

Gunjan Sarojwal - Member Since: Jun 2007
Hi Srikant, I am sorry but I dont have any audibles for accent as of now. I hope any of our forum members from BPO background can provide some....! Regards, Gunjan

gardenoflove - Member Since: Sep 2009
Dear Gunjan,

It was great to view your post, add more of these, do you have any material for ILETS TOEFL EXAM, ? and any presentation on pronouncation, and accent (UK & USA) for various common English words?? If so post them too.

Pallavi

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