Tense And Its Types With Examples | Function of Tenses
A tense may be defined as that form of a verb which indicates the time and the state of an action or event. In this manner, a verb may refer to
(A) Time of an Action (Tense)
(i) He goes to school. (Present time of an action)
(ii) He went to school. (Past time of an action)
(iii) He will go to school. (Future time of an action)
From the above sentences, it will be clear to the students that there are three main tenses.
1. The Present tense
2. The Past tense
3. The Future tense
(B) State of an Action
(i) I write letters regularly. (Present tense, Habitual function)
(ii) I am writing a letter. (Present continuous, Progressive function)
(iii) I have just written a letter. (Present perfect, Preceding function)
(iv) I have been writing a letter for some time. (Present perfect continuous, Time expression)
(C) Time Frame of a Tense
We have following three time frames and in order to get a complete structure of tenses, we should know briefly all of them. These are as follows
(i) Point of time is that time which denotes any specific / proper time. e.g. in 1947, on Monday etc.
(ii) Period of time is that time which denotes a specific duration of time. e.g. from 1930 to 1950, from Monday to Saturday etc.
(iii) Expression of time denotes the combination of both point and period of time e.g. winter 1947, summer 1950 etc.
The Tenses and their Functions
The Present Indefinite Tense
– Habitual Action
This tense is generally used to denote ‘habit, custom, practice, repeated action, permanent activity, general truth’ etc.
(A) These ideas are expressed by the adverbs of frequency such as ‘often, seldom,usually, never, occasionally, sometimes, normally, generally, always, frequently, rarely, daily’
(i) The old lady goes for a walk in the morning.
(ii) Pearl usually believes everybody.
(iii) Arnav often gets late for lunch.
(iv) Shaurya seldom gets up late.
(B) This tense is also used to make a statement in the present showing permanent nature and activity of the subject and eternal principles.
(i) I know him very well.
(ii) He teaches in St. Xavier College.
(iii)The cow gives milk.
(iv). Rivers freeze at high altitude.
Additional Uses of Present Indefinite Tense
(i) Now Netaji enters and addresses the Indian soldiers.
(ii) Now Arjun shoots arrows at Bhishma.
(i) The Prime Minister arrives from New York tomorrow.
(ii) He leaves his job next week.
Does – 3rd Present Singular (He, She, This, That or Noun)
Do – Rest Subjects
A : S + V1 + (s,es) + O
N : S + does/do + not + V1 + O
I : <WH> + does/do + S + V1 + O ?
NI : <WH> + does/do + not + V1 + O ?
WH Family : What, Why, Whom, Whose, Who, How, With whom, Until when etc.
- Ram plays football.(राम फुटबॉल खेलता है)
- Ram does not play football.(राम फुटबॉल नहीं खेलता है)
- Does Ram play football.(क्या राम फुटबॉल खेलता है)
- Does Ram not play football.(क्या राम फुटबॉल नहीं खेलता है)
- What does Ram play?(राम क्या खेलता है?)
- Why does Ram play?(राम क्यों खेलता है?)
- How does Ram play?(राम कैसे खेलता है?)
- Where does Ram play?(राम कहाँ खेलता है?)
- With whom does Ram play?(किसके साथ राम खेलता है?)
- Until when Ram does play?(राम कब तक खेलता है?)
- How many times does Ram play? (राम कितनी बार खेलता है?)
- Where all does Ram play? (राम कहा-2 खेलते हैं?)
- How often Ram play? (राम कब-2 खेलता है?)
1. I play cricket. (मैं क्रिकेट खेलता हूं)
2. I don’t play cricket. (मैं क्रिकेट नहीं खेलता हूं) 3. Do I play cricket?(क्या मैं क्रिकेट खेलता हूँ?)
4. Do I not play cricket?(क्या मैं क्रिकेट नहीं खेलता हूं?)
5. Ram goes.(राम जाता है)
6. Ram walks.(राम घूमता है)
7. Ram goes for a walk.(राम घूमने चला जाता है।)
8. He walks.(वह घूमता है)
9. He often walks.(वह अक्सर घूमता रहता है)
10. He sometimes walks. (वह कभी-कभी घूमता रहता है)
11. He seldom walks.(वह शायद ही कभी घूमता है।)
12. He always walks. (वह हमेशा घूमता है)
13. He walks very often. (Same as above given)
14. He walks sometimes. (Same as above given)
15. He walks seldom.(Same as above given)
16. “Barking dogs seldom bite”
1. Do you eat? (क्या आप खाते हो ?)
2. What do you eat?(आप क्या खाते हो?)
3. How often do you come to play. (आप कब-2 खेलने आते हो)
4. Whom does he love? (वह किससे प्यार करता है?)
5. Until when does Shankar stay in office?(कब तक श्वेता कार्यालय में ठहरता हैं)
6. Where all does Sanjeev go? (संजीव कहाँ-2 जाता है?)
1. Ram eats the food.(राम खाना खाता है)
2. It sounds good.(यह सुनकर अच्छा लगI है।)
3. I send him home. (मैं उसे घर भेजता हूं।)
4. Whose car does she drive?(किसका कार वह चलाती है?)
5. Who does it/this? (यह कौन करता है)
6. Who do it/this? (ये कौन करता है?)
7. With who all do you talk? (किस-2 के साथ आप बात करते हैं?)
8. Who goes? (कौन जाता है?)
9. Who all go? (कौन-2 जाते हैं?)
10. Who does not go?(कौन नहीं जाता है?)
11. Who all do not go? (कौन-2 नहीं जाते?)
12. Ram does not play ever./ Ram never plays. (राम कभी नहीं खेलता है)
13. Since when do you start studying. (कब से आप पढ़ाई शुरू करते हैं)
14. With whose brother does he like to play.(किसके भाई के साथ वह खेलना पसंद करता है)
The Present Continuous Tense
(A) This tense is normally used for an action in progress that is temporary in nature (not for a permanent activity) in the present at the time of speaking.
(i) She is not working. She is swimming in the river.
(ii) It is raining outside.
(B) It also expresses future action or a definite arrangement in the near future.
(i) I am going to the cinema tomorrow.
(ii) She is coming next week.
Additional Uses of Present Continuous Tense
(C) Continuous tense with ‘always’ may express an idea which is not to the linking of the speaker.
(i) She is always teaching her children.
(ii) He is always praising his friends.
(D) There are some of the verbs which sometime don’t admit of progressive action. Such verbs are called Non-progressive (Stative verbs).
(i) Verbs of Perception See, taste, smell, hear, prefer, please.
(ii) Verbs of Thinking Process Think, know, mean, mind.
(iii) Verbs Showing Possession Own, have, belong, comprise, possess, contain.
(iv) Verbs Expressing Feeling or State of Mind Believe, like, love, want, wish, desire, hate.
(v) Verbs in General Look, seem, appear, affect, resemble, cost, require, stand, face, become.
(a) Study these sentences carefully
|He is owning a car.||He owns a car.|
|We are hearing the bell.||We hear the bell.|
|This house is belonging to me.||This house belongs to me.|
|I am not hating him.||I don’t hate him.|
|Are you forgetting my name?||Have you forgotten my name.|
|I am not meaning this.||I don’t mean this|
|I am having no house to live in.||I have no house to live in.|
|She stands in the shade of a tree.||She is standing in the shade of a tree.|
|The temple is standing in the heart of a city.||The temple stands in the heart of the city.|
|The book is containing good subject-matter.||The book contains good subject-matter.|
(b) Mark the difference in the use of stative activity and progressive verbs.
|The rose smells sweet.||Stative verb|
|She is smelling a back rose.||Progressive verb|
|He lives in Chennai.||Stative verb|
|She is living in India at present.||Temporary activity|
|She has a large house to live in.||Stative verb|
|She is having lunch now.||Progressive verb|
|It looks it may rain soon.||Stative verb|
|She is looking at the sky.||Temporary activity|
|I am seeing him next morning.||Progressive verb|
|The nurse is feeling her forehead.||Progressive verb|
|I think she is a miser||Stative verb|
|I am thinking of leaving Chandigarh.||Progressive verb|
|I love my sister.||Stative verb|
|She is loving her daughter.||Progressive verb|
(E) ‘While, still, at the moment, presently (at present) and now’ may help students to express progressive present.
Sub + is/am/are + Verb 1st form + ing + obj.
3rd Person Singular – is
1st Person Singular – I – am
Rest Subjects – are
Ram is going home. (राम घर जा रहा है।)
I am playing. (मैं खेल रहा हूँ।)
We are laughing. (हम हंस रहे हैं)
I am playing. (मैं खेल रहा हूँ।)
We are laughing. (हम हंस रहे हैं)
Sub + is/am/are + not + V1 + ing + obj.
Ram is going home. (राम घर नहीं जा रहा है।)
I am playing. (मैं खेल नहीं रहा हूँ।)
We are laughing. (हम हंस नहीं रहे हैं)
<WH> + is/am/are + Sub + (not) + V1 + ing + obj?
Are you playing? (क्या आप खेल रहे हो?) – Yes or No
What are you playing? (आप क्या खेल रहे हो?)
Is Ram going home? (क्या राम घर जा रहा है?)
Am I not playing? (क्या मैं नहीं खेल रहा हूं?)
Why are we laughing? (हम क्यों हंस रहे हैं?)
Which game is she playing? (कौन सा खेल वह खेल रहा है?)
Why is Mom scolding him? (माँ उसे क्यों डांट रही हैं?)
What are you thinking? (आप क्या सोच रहे हो?)
The Present Perfect Tense (Imperfect Past)
– Preceding Action
(A) This tense is a mixture of present and past. At the time of speaking the action is already complete in the past. It always implies a strong connection with the present though action took place in the past. Generally, The following adverbs and conjunctions are used to express the preceding action. For example
‘Ever, just, recently, already, yet, till (time), so far, of late, lately, before, (by) by the time, after’ etc.
Note : JUST is laways used in the sense of ‘already’. Other meanings of ‘just’ are ‘now’ and ‘exactly’.
(i) I have just seen that film.
(ii) I have already had my breakfast.
(iii) ‘Ever’ means ‘any time in the past’ and ‘always’.
(iv) ‘So far, yet, till’ means ‘upto now’, upto this. (negative implication)
(v) Of late, lately (recently, used only in Present Perfect Tense)
(B) Present Perfect + Point of time = Simple Past
It should be noted that point of time in the past indicates that action took place at a point in the past. The point of time in the past is expressed by ‘Since, ever since, last, yesterday, the other day, ago, before, back’ formerly (any time in the past) etc. For example.
(i) She has returned two days ago/ before. (omit ‘has’)
(ii) She reyrned two days ago.
(C) Present Indefinite + Time expression = Present Prefect
This tense can also be used with ‘since, for, how long, whole, all, throughout, all along’ etc to express time expression.
(i) He has known me for two years.
(ii) She has owned this parlour since 2002.
Note : Look up Perfect Continuous tense for details about time expression.
Sub + has/have + V3 + obj.
3rd Person Singular – has
Rest of Subjects – have
Ram has gone to school. (राम स्कूल जा चूका है।)
I have played. (मैने खेल लिया है।)
We have seen the film. (हमने फिल्म देखी है।)
Ram has not gone to school. (राम स्कूल नहीं गया है।)
I have not played. (मैने नहीं खेला है)
We have not seen the film. (हमने फिल्म नहीं देखी है।)
<WH> + has/have + Sub + (not) + V3 + Obj?
Have you seen? (क्या आपने देखा है।)
What have you seen? (आपने क्या देखा है?)
Has Ram gone to school? (क्या राम स्कूल गया हैं?)
Has he played? (क्या वह खेल चूका है।)
Why has Avirat not come? (अविरत क्यों नहीं आया?)
Why has Ram not gone to school? (राम क्यों नहीं स्कूल चला गया है?)
What have you not told him? (आपने उसे क्या नहीं बताया?)
What have we seen? (हमने क्या देखा है?)
Since – Point of Time
For – Duration of Time
Since 2 AM/2 PM / 2 o’clock….
Since 1998/ 2005/ 2009……
Since Monday, Tuesday…. Sunday
Since morning/ evening/ afternoon/ night
Since yesterday/ day before yesterday
Since childhood/ birth
Since that day
Since my dad was born
For 2 secs, 2 mins, 2 hrs, 2 days, 2 weeks, 2 months, 2 yrs, 2 centuries…
For a long
For a while
For many days/ hours/ month/ years..
Sub + has been/ have been + V1 + ing + obj + since/for + <time>
Ram is walking. (राम घूम रहा है|)
Ram has been walking for 2 hrs. (राम 2 घंटे से घूम रहा है।)
I am playing. (मैं खेल रहा हूँ।)
I have been playing since morning. (मैं सुबह से खेल रहा हूं।)
Sub + has not been/ have not been + V1 + ing + obj + since/ for + <time>
Ram has been walking for 2 hrs. (राम 2 घंटे से नहीं घूम रहा है।)
I have been playing since morning. (मैं सुबह से नहीं खेल रहा हूं।)
<WH> + has/have + Sub + (not) + been + V1 + ing + obj + since/ for + <time>?
Where has Ram been walking for 2 hrs? (राम 2 घंटे से घूम कहाँ रहा है।)
Since when has he been playing? (वह कब खेल से रहा है?)
The Past Indefinite Tense
– Habitual Action
(A) This tense is used for a past habit, indicated generally by
‘Often, seldom, usually, normally, generally, occasionally, sometimes, never, always, frequently, rarely, daily, used to, would’ etc. For example
(i) They never drank wine.
(ii) He always carried an umbrella.
(iii) I used to go to Delhi by train.
(iv). She would go there daily.
(B) This tense is also used for a single act completed in the past. Definite point of time is denoted by ‘Since, ever since, earlier, ago, back, before, last, yesterday, the other day (any point of time in the past)‘ etc. For example
(i) I met your brother yesterday.
(ii) She bought a car two year ago.
It is wrong to say. For example
(i) I have met your brother yesterday. (remove ‘have’)
(ii) She has bought a car two year ago. (remove ‘has’)
Note : Present Perfect + Point of time = Simple Past
‘Point of time’ denotes the time when the action takes place. (Present, Past, Future Tense). For example
(i) I come here every Sunday.
(ii) I went to Delhi yesterday.
(iii) I shall go there tomorrow.
Time Expression : For time expression look up Perfect Continuous Tense.
The Past Continuous Tense
– Progressive Action
(A) This tense is chiefly used for past action in progress. For example
(i) It was still raining when I reached there. (Past action in progress)
(ii) He was busy in packing last evening. (Past action in progress)
(B) It is also used for definite arrangement for future in the past. For example,
(i) He was leaving that night. (Definite arrangement for future in the past)
(ii) I asked her what she was doing next Sunday. (Definite arrangement for future in the past)
(C) As mentioned in the case of the present continuous tense, certain verbs don’t admit of progressive action. Please study such verbs carefully. Refer to such verbs under Present Continuous tense next section.
(D) ‘While, still, at that moment, then’ may help the students to express progressive action in the past.
The Past Perfect Tense
– Past Preceding
(A) This tense is used when out of two actions it is necessary to emphasize that the preceding action was completely finished before the succeeding action started.
(i) I had gone to Delhi last week before my father came. (Correct)
(ii) I had gone to Delhi last week. (Incorrect, because preceding action is not implied here)
(B) Sometimes preceding action is implied and is indicated by the use of ‘Ever, just, recently, already, yet, so far, till (time), by the time, (by), before, after‘ etc. For example,
(i) I had already taken breakfast.
(ii) I had finished the book before he came.
(iii) I had returned from college just then.
(iv) I finished the book after I had returned from college.
(C) This tense is also used as time expression with.
‘Since, for, how long, whole, all, throughout, all along’ etc. For example
(i) She had known him for two years.
(ii) He had owned this plaza for five years.
(D) Past Perfect tense used with verbs such as
‘Want, hope, expect, think, suppose, mean, intend’ indicate that the action mentioned did not take place. For example
(i) I had wanted to help my brother. (but could not help)
(ii) I had expected to pass. (but did not pass)
(iii) My sister had hoped that I would send her memory. (unfulfilled hope)
(iv) Vishal had intended to set up his own business. (but could not)
Sub + had + V3 + obj.
Ram had gone to school. (राम स्कूल जा चूका था।)
I had played. (मैने खेल लिया था।)
We had seen the film. (हमने फिल्म को देखा था।)
Sub + had + not + V3 + obj.
Ram had not gone to school. (राम स्कूल नहीं गया है।)
I had not played. (मैने नहीं खेला है)
We had not seen the film. (हमने फिल्म नहीं देखी है।)
<WH> + had + Sub + (not) + V3 + obj?
Had you seen? (क्या आपने देखा था?)
What had you seen? (आपने क्या देखा था?)
Had Ram gone to school. (क्या राम स्कूल नहीं गया था।?
Had he played. (क्या वह खेल चूका था?)
Why had Avirat not come? (अवीरट क्यों नहीं आया था?)
Why had Ram not gone to school? (राम स्कूल क्यों नहीं गया था?)
What had we seen? (हमने क्या देखा था?)
The Future Indefinite Tense
(A) This tense express an action that is to take place in future. For example.
‘Soon, shortly, in a few moments, tomorrow, presently (soon), next year/ month/ week etc indicate future action. For example
(i) They will come here shortly.
(ii) Ritu will take examination next month.
Note : Presently means (i) soon (ii) at present
(B) It should be noted that there are several ways to express future action in English as given below.
(a) Future action is expressed in the present continuous tense. But it is more definite action than the action expressed in the future indefinite. For example
(i) They are coming tomorrow. (certain to come)
(ii) She is marrying soon. (certain to marry)
(b) Future action is also expressed in the future continuous. For example
(i) Sushant will be arriving soon. (will arrive)
(ii) I shall be going tomorrow.
(c) Future action is also expressed in the present indefinite tense. For example
(i) She arrives from the U.S.A. next month. (will arrive)
(ii) The Prime Minister leaves for Lucknow tomorrow. (will leave)
Note : Ordinarily ‘shall’ is used with first person of pronoun ‘I’ and ‘we’. ‘Will‘ is used with second and third persons.
Besides, there are following uses of ‘shall’ and ‘will’
|You shall not move.||Order|
|They shall be rewarded.||Assurance/ promise|
|I will help my brother.||Determination|
|You shall look after elders.||Duty|
|I will go to Delhi tomorrow.||Intention|
|I shall go to Delhi.||(may or may not go)|
|I shall be drowned.||(may be drowned)|
|I will be drowned.||(determined to be drowned)|
Sub + will + V1 + Obj.
Ram will go to school. (राम स्कूल जाएगा)
I will play cricket. (मैं क्रिकेट खेलूंगा )
We all will sit together. (हम सभी एक साथ बैठेंगे)
He will forgive you. (वह तुम्हें क्षमा कर देंगा)
Ram will not go to school. (राम स्कूल नहीं जाएगा)
I will not play cricket. (मैं क्रिकेट नहीं खेलूंगा )
We all will not sit together. (हम सभी एक साथ नहीं बैठेंगे)
<WH> + will + Sub + (not) + V1 + Obj?
Will I play? (क्या मैं खेलूंगा?)
What will I play? (मैं क्या खेलूंगा?)
Where will Ram go? (राम कहा जाएगा?)
When will Aman bring? (अमान कब लाएगा?)
How will we sit? (हम कैसे बैठेंगे?)
Which book will she read? (वह कौन सी किताब पढ़ेगी?)
Why will Mom not call her? (क्यों माँ उसे फोन नहीं करेगी)
What will they people think? (वे लोग क्या सोचेंगे?)
Until when will you stay in office? (आप कार्यालय में कब तक रहेंगे?)
The Future Continuous Tense
– Future Progressive
(A) This tense is used to express an action that will be in progress with a point of time in future.
(i) She will be waiting for me when I reach her home.
(ii) What will he be doing when you visit him?
(iii) Get home at once. Your mother will be wondering where you are.
(iv) Rahul will be watching movie on television now.
(B) This tense is also used to express the future indefinite tense or definite future arrangement.
(i) He will be going to Pune by car today.
(ii) She will be arriving tomorrow to meet her husband.
(C) As mentioned in the case of the Present Continuous tense certain verbs do not admit of progressive action. Refer to such verbs under Present Continuous tense section.
Sub + will be + V1 + Obj.
Ram will be going. (राम जा रहा होगा)
Abhishek will be coming. (अभिषेक आ रहा होगा)
That kid will be sleeping. (वह बच्चा सो रहा होगा)
Sub + will + not + be + V1 + ing + Obj.
Ram will not be going. (राम जा रहा होगा)
Abhishek will not be coming. (अभिषेक आ रहा होगा)
That kid will not be sleeping. (वह बच्चा सो रहा होगा)
He will be doing something. (वह कुछ कर रहा होगा)
Children/Kids will be going home. (बच्चे घर जा रहे होंगे)
He will be working at 10. (वह 10 बजे काम कर रहा होगा)
We will be studying at 7. (हम 7 बजे पढ़ रहे होंगे)
<WH> + will + Sub + (not) + be + V1 + ing + Obj?
Will Ram be playing? (क्या राम खेल रहा होगा)
What will Ram be playing? (राम क्या खेल रहा होगा)
With whom will he be playing? (वह किसके साथ खेल रहा होगा)
Will she be walking? (क्या वह घूम रही होगी |)
What will he be doing? (वह क्या कर रहा होगा?)
Will that kid not be sleeping? (क्या वह बच्चा सो नहीं रहा होगा?)
He will not be doing anything. (वह कुछ भी नहीं कर रहा होगा)
The Future Perfect Tense
(A) This tense is used when out of two actions it is necessary to emphasize that the preceding action will be completely finished before the succeeding action starts in the future.
Sometimes preceding action is implied and indicated by the use of ‘Ever, just, already, recently, yet, so far, till (time), before, (by), bye the time after’. For example
(i) She will have already prepared food when I reach home.
(ii) He will have rung up his wife before he arrives.
(iii) I think the news will not have been published so far.
(iv) My assistant will have typed five letters by lunch today.
(B) This tense is also used to express time expression.
‘Since, for, how long, whole, all, throughout, all long’ denote that action started sometime in the past and is continuing into the present. For example
(i) He will have known her for two years next month.
(ii) He will have suffered a lot by now since his birth.
Sub + will have + V3 + Obj.
Ram will have gone. (राम जा चूका होगा)
She will have slept. (वह सो चूकी होगी)
We will have left. (हम निकल चूका होगे)
Ram will not have gone. (राम नहीं गया होगा)
She will not have slept. (वह सोई नहीं होगी)
We will not have left. (हम निकले नहीं होगे)
<WH> + will + Sub + (not) + have + V3 + Obj.
Will he have played? (क्या वह खेल चूका होगा?)
What will he have played? (वह क्या खेल चूका होगा?)
Will Ram have gone? (क्या राम जा चूका होगा)
Will Rohit have come by then? (क्या तब तक रोहित आ चूका होगा?)
Will she not have slept?(क्या वह सो नहीं चूकी होगी)
Perfect Continuous : Present, Past, Future
– Time expression
(A) Perfect continuous tense (Present, Past, future) denotes an action continuing from the past into the present. It implies the duration of an action (past to present). The time expression is normally indicated by
‘Since, for, how long, whole, all throughout, all along.’
Note : ‘For‘ is used for a period of time from the past to present. ‘Since‘ is used for a particular point of time or some event in the past to present.
(B) Time expression can be used with both continuous and indefinite tenses as follows
(a) Continuous + Time expression = Perfect Continuous (Present, Past, Future) – (Action is not yet complete)
(b) Indefinite + Time expression = Perfect (Present, Past, Future) – (Action is complete)
Note : Student should note the difference between point of time and time expression.
(i) She goes to temple every Monday. (Point of Time)
(ii) She visited her uncle yesterday. (Point of Time)
(iii) She has completed two letters since last night. (Time expression)
(iv) She has been suffering from fever for two days. (Time expression)
(v) She had been playing Chess the whole day yesterday. (Time expression)
All the best for your upcoming exam!
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