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12/29/2017

Tense of the English Verbs

The information above was given to facilitate understanding of the use of English verbs in the Indicative Mood. This mood represents actions or events as real facts. The Indicative Mood contains the category of tense.

Each utterance demands an indication if the event is happening at the moment of speech, or it has happened earlier, or it is expected to happen later. Grammatical tense is the set of the verb forms that determines the definite point in time or a certain period in past, present or future. We receive the set of forms referent to the definite tense by adding the inflections to the basic form of the verbs or including auxiliary and modal verbs into the verb group. [5]

If you want to emphasize the time of an event, you should used a time adjunct – an adverb, a noun group or a prepositional phrase that indicates the time of the action. Adjunct usually takes place in the end of the sentence, but it can either be put in the beginning to accent the time. Every grammatical tense in English has its own adjuncts that help us to define the tense, e.g., adjunct tomorrow shows us that the Future Tense is used in the phrase.

There are different approaches in classification of the English grammatical tenses. Traditionally, 12 tenses are distinguished in English Grammar. But this classification does not include all the Passive tenses and the category of Future-in-the-Past. Russian grammarian Yury Golitzinsky distinguished 16 tenses of the Active voice and 10 tenses of the Passive voice (to sum up – 26 tenses). [6] According to the point of view of B.A. Ilyish the time is represented in English by the three tenses (past, present and future), each of which can appear in the common and in the continuous aspect. He also distinguishes future-in-the-past as a separate form. [7] A. A. Rivlina says that the English tense system consists of four verbal tense forms: the present, the past, the future, and the future-in-the-past.

As it was mentioned, in Old English the tenses were divided into two big groups – past and present. Later the Future forms appeared, though they are composed only with the help of auxiliaries and modal verbs and they do not possess special verb forms or inflections. Each group of tenses – Present, Past and Future – are used in four aspects.

Present Tenses

If we discuss the current deals, we usually use the verb in the form of the Present tense. The simplest tense of this group is Present Indefinite (Simple) – it is used to describe the present activities or to talk about routines or habits.

We use it in the following cases:

to express statements, facts or habitual actions in the present: My father works in Moscow.

to state the universal truths: The sun sets in the West.

to describe the current feelings, emotions or abilities: I hear approaching feet.

to express the Future simple after certain conjunctions (when, after, before, etc.): If he gets a good rest, he’ll be his usual self tomorrow.

in timetables: The plane arrives at 6-30.

to express the action with non-progressive verbs: I believe I understand her.

The Present Simple is formed in the following way:

The Subject + Infinitive without “to” + -s/-es inflection in 3rd person.

These are the adjuncts of the Present Simple: always, ever, every day, generally, never, occasionally, often, seldom, rarely, regularly, sometimes, usually.

The next tense of this group is Present Progressive (Continuous). The Present Continuous is mainly used to express the idea that something is happening at the moment of speaking.

It is used in the situations below:

an action is going on at the moment of speaking: I am reading my lectures now, don’t disturb me.

an action is going on at the present period of time: I’m slimming (not just now, but at present).

changing situations and processes: The story is getting more and more interesting.

expressing irritation: You are always cheating on exams!

near future: He is returning on Tuesday.

The Present Continuous is formed in the following way:

The Subject + auxiliary verb to be
+ Participle I

These are the adjuncts of the Present Simple: now, at the moment, still, constantly, always.

Next tense is the Present Perfect Simple. It is used to express actions that happened at an indefinite time or that began in the past and continue in the present. This tense is also used when an activity has an effect on the present moment.

The following actions are used with the Present Perfect:

Actions which happened at an indefinite (unknown) time before now: I have already been to Paris.

Actions in the past which have an effect on the present moment: I have already eaten the dinner, so I’m not hungry.

Actions which began in the past and continue in the present: Mary has worked as a teacher for over 25 years.

The Present Perfect is formed in the following way:

The Subject + auxiliary verb to have
+ Participle II

These are the adjuncts of the Present Perfect: ever, already, just, before, never, yet, so far.

The last form of this group is the
Present Perfect Progressive
. The Present Perfect Continuous (Progressive) Tense expresses the actions that have started in the past and are still continuing. We use it:

when the action or progress has started in the past and continue in the present: He has been painting the house for 5 hours already.

when the action has recently stopped: Look at her eyes! I’m sure she has been crying. 

with the temporary actions and situations: I have been working as a waitress for the past week.

The Present Perfect Continuous is formed in the following way:

The Subject + auxiliary verb to have + auxiliary verb to be in Past Participle + Participle I of the main verb

Past Tenses

When we speak about the past, we need the adjunctions of the peat tenses to point out the exact time that we mean. The simplest tense of this group is Past Indefinite (Simple) – it is used to describe the activities that happened in exact time of the past.

We use it to express the following:

Events in the past are now finished: I went to college 3 years ago.

Situation in the past: In happened in the 19th century.

A series of actions in the past: He entered a room, lit a cigarette and smiled at the guests.

The Past Simple is formed in the following way:

The Subject + The Past Simple form of the main verb / -ed inflection

These are the adjuncts of the Past Simple: yesterday, a year ago, last week, just now, the other day.

The next tense of this group is Past Progressive (Continuous). The Past Continuous is mainly used to express the idea that something was happening during some time in the past.

It is used to express:

Duration in the past: I was learning my French from 8 till 9 yesterday.

Interrupted actions in progress: The door suddenly opened when she was taking a shower.

Actions in progress at the same time in the past: I was watching TV and Barbara was reading a book.

Irritation: He was always disturbing me!

Polite question: I was thinking you might help me with this problem.

The Past Continuous is formed in the following way:

The Subject + auxiliary verb to be
in the Past Simple form + Participle I

Next tense is the Past Perfect Simple. It is used to emphasize that an action in the past finished before another action in the past started. This tense is also used in reported speech, third conditional sentences, or to show dissatisfaction with the past.

The following actions are used with the Past Perfect:

Completed action before another action in the past: I had just finished my homework when John came in.

Third conditional sentences: If I had known about it before I would have never made this mistake.

Reported speech: He told me he had read this book already.

Dissatisfaction with the past: I wish I had taken more food. I’m hungry now.

The Past Perfect is formed in the following way:

The Subject + auxiliary verb to have in the Past Simple form + Participle II

These are the adjuncts of the Past Perfect: ever, already, just, before, never, yet, so far.

The last form of this group is the
Past Perfect Progressive
. The Past Perfect Continuous (Progressive) Tense is used to talk about actions or situations that were in progress before some other actions or situations. There are also other uses.

Duration of a past action up to a certain point in the past: The boys had been quarreling for half an hour when we arrived home.

Showing cause of an action or situation: I had to go on a diet because I had been eating too much sugar.

Third conditional sentences: If it hadn’t been raining, we would have gone to the park.

Reported speech: She said she knew Charlie had been lying to her.

The Past Perfect Continuous is formed in the following way:

The Subject + auxiliary verb to have in the Past Simple form + auxiliary verb to be in Past Participle + Participle I of the main verb

Future Tenses

We cannot talk about the future with the same sureness as if we talk about the past or the present. The Future Tense in English expresses your plans or ideas about what will happen. The simplest tense of this group is Future Indefinite (Simple) – it is used to describe the present activities or to talk about routines or habits.

We use it in the following cases:

to express action that will take place in future: He will finish his work tomorrow.

to express spontaneous decisions: I will close the door.

to express repeated actions in the future: He will stay after the lessons every Monday for two weeks.

The Future Simple is formed in the following way:

The Subject + auxiliary verb will/shall
+ the Infinitive without “to”

These are the adjuncts of the Future Simple: tomorrow, in a day, next week.

The next tense of this group is Future Progressive (Continuous). The Future Continuous is mainly used to express the idea that something will be happening during exact time in the future.

It is used in the situations below:

an action will be continuing in the future: He will be studying tomorrow at eight.

an action predicted by the speaker: I must hurry, my mom will be worrying about me.

The Future Continuous is formed in the following way:

The Subject + auxiliary verb will/shall
+ auxiliary verb to be + Participle I

Next tense is the Future Perfect Simple. It is used to express actions that will happen by an exact moment in the future: She will have learned the news before this letter reaches her.

The Future Perfect is formed in the following way:

The Subject + auxiliary verb will/shall
+ auxiliary verb to have + Participle II

These are the adjuncts of the Future Perfect:  by that time, by then, by Sunday, by now, by the end of the year, by summer.

The last form of this group is the
Future Perfect Progressive
. This form is used very rare but it still exists. The Future Perfect Continuous (Progressive) Tense expresses the actions that have started in the past, were continuing for some time and will be in a process until the certain moment of time in the future: They will have been working for this firm for twenty years next May.

The Future Perfect Continuous is formed in the following way:

The Subject + auxiliary verb will/shall
+ auxiliary verb to have + auxiliary verb to be in Past Participle + Participle I of the main verb

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