What is verb tense? (with examples)
The tense of a verb is determined by when the action took place. The three main tenses are as follows:
- The Past Tense (e.g., I walked.)
- The Present Tense (e.g., I walk.)
- The Future Tense (e.g., I will walk.)
The tense of a verb can also tell us things like whether the action is habitual, continuous, or complete. This is called the aspect of the verb, which is part of the tense.
Examples of Tenses
Here are some examples of verbs in different tenses:
- I walked to work.
(The verb walked is in the past tense.)
- I walk to work.
(The verb walk is in the present tense.)
- I will walk to work.
(The verb will walk is in the future tense.)
Recuerda que los verbos no solo expresan acciones. También pueden expresar un estado de ser. Por ejemplo:
- I was happy.
(The verb was is in the past tense.)
- I am happy.
(The verb am is in the present tense.)
- I will be happy.
(The verb will be is in the future tense.)
Examples of Verbs in Different Tenses
Aquí hay algunos ejemplos más de verbos en los tiempos pasado, presente y futuro:
- The hardest that I have laughed at a movie was probably Team America. I laughed ’til I thought I was going to throw up. (Ron White)
(The shaded verbs are in the past tense.)
- You laugh at me because I’m different. I laugh at you because you are all the same. (Jonathan Davis)
(The shaded verbs are in the present tense.)
- Nobody will laugh long who deals much with opium; even its pleasures are of a grave and solemn complexion. (Thomas deQuincey)
(The shaded verbs are in the future tense.)
You’ll notice that some of the verbs in the past tense example about Team America are made up of more than one word (have laughed, was going). We need these different versions of the tenses because they help us indicate whether the action (or state of being) is in progress or completed. For example, the different versions of the verb to laugh are the following:
- Past Tense: laughed, was/were laughing, had laughed, had been laughing
- Present Tense: laugh, am/is/are laughing, has/have laughed, has/have been laughing
- Future Tense: will laugh, will be laughing, will have laughed, will have been laughing
The Full List of Tenses
La siguiente tabla muestra la lista completa de los tiempos:
|The 4 Past Tenses||Example 1||Example 2|
|simple past tense||I went||I laughed|
|past progressive tense||I was going||I was laughing|
|past perfect tense||I had gone||I had laughed|
|past perfect progressive tense||I had been going||I had been laughing|
|The 4 Present Tenses||Example 1||Example 2|
|simple present tense||I go||I laugh|
|present progressive tense||I am going||I am laughing|
|present perfect tense||I have gone||I have laughed|
|present perfect progressive tense||I have been going||I have been laughing|
|The 4 Future Tenses||Example 1||Example 2|
|simple future tense||I will go||I will laugh|
|future progressive tense||I will be going||I will be laughing|
|future perfect tense||I will have gone||I will have laughed|
|future perfect progressive tense||I will have been going||I will have been laughing|
A Quick Explanation of the Tenses with an Example
The Past Tenses
Simple Past Tense. El tiempo pasado simple se usa para describir una actividad completa que sucedió en el pasado.
- I ran to the shops.
Past Progressive Tense. The past progressive tense is used to describe an ongoing activity in the past. It is often used to set the stage for another action.
- I was running to the shops when I saw Bruno.
Past Perfect Tense. The past perfect tense is used to emphasize that one action was completed before another occurred.
- I had run to the shops, but they were closed.
Past Perfect Progressive Tense. The past perfect progressive tense is used to show that an ongoing action in the past has ended.
- I had been running to the shops, but I have now started walking.
The Present Tenses
Simple Present Tense. The simple present tense is mainly used to describe facts and habits.
- I run daily.
Present Progressive Tense. The present progressive tense is used for continuous action in the present.
- I am running to your house at the moment.
Present Perfect Tense. The present perfect tense is used for actions that started in the past. (Often the actions continue in the present).
- I have run for 5 miles so far.
Present Perfect Progressive Tense. The present perfect progressive tense is used for an ongoing activity that started in the past and is continuing in the present, or an ongoing activity that started in the past but has now ended (usually very recently).
- I have been running for hours.
The Future Tenses
Simple Future Tense. The simple future tense is used for an action that will happen in the future.
- I will run to the shops tomorrow.
Future Progressive Tense. The future progressive is used for a continuous action that will happen in the future.
- I will be running to the shops every day after today.
Future Perfect Tense. The future perfect tense is used to describe an action that will have been completed at some point in the future.
- I will have run to work by 12 o’clock.
Future Perfect Progressive Tense. The future perfect progressive is used for an ongoing action that will be completed at a specific time in the future.
- I will have been running for 3 hours by 12 o’clock.