A set of verb forms that indicate particular points in time or period of time in the past, present or future is called tense.

English has two tenses: Present tense and past tense

Simple present tense (Subj + V1 / V5 + Obj. + . . . )

⮚ We use the simple present tense for activities that happen again and again
He often travels.
She drinks coffee every day.
Note: Generally adverbs of frequency like every day, sometimes, ever, never, seldom, usually, occasionally, etc. are used in such sentences.

 We use it for facts that are always true.
Our planet moves around the sun.
Lions eat meat.

 With a future time expression (tomorrow, next week) it is used for planned future actions (timetables).
The train leaves at 8.15 tomorrow.
They return tonight.

 It is used to express habitual actions, describe an action that the speaker is confident of.
Cats drink milk.
I declare that the child needs love.

 It is used in newspaper headlines, drama, stories, fiction, time clauses.
Mass murder escapes.
As soon as he earns any money, he spends it.

 It is used with verbs of possession (belong, owe, have, own), verbs of mental activity (understand, know, see, believe, think) and verbs of the senses (feel, see, hear)
He knows English.
This box contains explosives.

 We also use simple present tense with quotations and proverbs.
Keats says, 'A thing of beauty is a joy forever.
A rolling stone gathers no moss.

Present continuous (Subj. + is/am/are + V4 + Obj + . . . )

⮚ We use the present continuous tense for activities that are happening just now.
I am learning English at the moment.
You aren't listening!
Why is he sitting here?

 We use it for an action happening about this time (today, this week), but not necessarily at the moment of speaking. It is a temporary activity.
I am in London.
I am staying at the hotel.

 With a future time expression (soon, on Monday) if it is used for definite arrangements in the near future.
I am leaving soon.
We are meeting on Monday.

 It is used with the adverb 'always' to show repeated action that annoys the speaker.
He is always losing his keys.

 It is used with adverb phrases like now, at present, at the moment, nowadays, these days, and imperative expressions like Look !, Listen !, Don't move! etc.
Be quiet! 
The baby is sleeping.
(But, Look! The ink has spilt over the shirt.)

 We use this tense to describe long-term processes and developments.
The world is getting smaller.
The ozone layer of the earth is depleting.
Note: static verbs like: love/hate/think/understand/know/have/cost/belong to/ see/smell/feel/want/ believe/ etc. are not used in continuous tense

Be going to - future intentions and opinions
 It is used for intentions. We use it for decisions that we made before the moment of speaking.
I am going to clean the car and you can pack the suitcase.

 It is also used to express your opinion that something is certain to happen. There is evidence for your prediction.
Our team is going to win.
The planes are going to land.
Note: Sometimes we can use all of these structures with a little difference in meaning.
I am travelling to France in May. (My personal arrangements)
I travel to France in May. (Someone’s plans for me)
I am going to travel to France in May. (my personal intentions)

The present perfect (Subj. + has / have + V3 + Obj.)
 We use the present perfect for activities or states that started in the past and still continue.
We have lived here since 2001.
She has known me for more than two years.

 It is often used with expressions indicating that the activity began in the past and comes up to now, such as: for 10 years, since 1995, all week, all the time, already, lately, recently, just, up to now, so far etc.
We have always worked in Kathmandu.
It has been quite cold lately.

 We use it to describe an experience that happened in the past (the time is not given), but the effects are important now.
She has been to London.
Note: When we use this tense to express some experience, we can use the following adverbs - ever, never, already, often, occasionally, yet, before, etc.
Have you ever tried it?
 It is used in construction.

Present perfect + Since + Simple past tense
I haven't seen her since she left our college.
 It is used with for and since in negative sentences.
I haven't returned it for two days.

Present Perfect Continuous (Subj. + has/have + been + V4 + . . . for/since + time)
 It is used to describe an action that began in the past and is still going on at present.
He has been writing a novel for two months.

 It is used with:
All/whole + present time (this morning/this week/day).
He has been decorating his house all this morning

The past simple tense (Subj. + V2 + Obj. + . . .)
 We use it for activities or situations that were completed at a definite time.
I came home at 6 o'clock.
When he was a child, he didn't live in a house.
Note: yesterday, the day before yesterday, ago, last, last year, 1996, childhood, infancy, etc. mark a definite time

 We use it for repeated activities.
We walked to school every day.

 It is used in stories to describe events that follow each other.
Pawan entered the hall and looked around.
He took off his coat and put it on a chair.

 After the expressions like: It is time, it is high time, it is about time, etc.
It is time he went to bed.
It is about time you stopped being so lazy.

 It is used to express an event.
He was climbing over the fence when his jeans split.

 It is used in conditional sentences (for unreal past after as if, as though, if only, wish etc.)
I wish I had a car.
If he went there, he would meet her.

 If two actions happen in the past, we use past perfect for the first completed action and simple past for the second completed action.
(a) Subj. + had + V3 + before + Subj. + V2 + Obj.
(b) Subj. + V2 + Obj. + after + Subj. + had + V3 + Obj.
The bell rang before the teacher reached the school.
The D.M. came after the meeting had started.
Note: Today, This morning, This month, This year, recently, This week etc. have both simple past and present perfect tense

Past continuous tense (Subj. + was/were + V4 + Obj.)
The continuous tense is typically used:
 To express the idea that an action in the past continuous started before the action expressed by the past simple and continued after it.
When she saw me, I was looking at the trees. (These two actions happened at the same time).
When she saw me, I looked at the trees. (These two actions happened one after another.)

⮚ With a point of time to describe an action that started before that time and continued after it.
At 8 o'clock Menaka was doing past simple exercises.

 To describe a situation.
The sun was shining.

 To show a more casual action.
I was talking to my neighbour yesterday. We had a nice chat.

 For two unrelated actions:
I was cooking and my sister was dancing.

 It is used with: All + Past time / the morning.
She was scrubbing the house all morning.

 With time expressions show gradual development.
The wind was rising.

Past Perfect Tense (Subj. + had + V3 + Obj.)
⮚ We use the past perfect tense to make it clear that an event was completed before another event.
The doorbell rang at last.
I had been in the room since breakfast.
When I arrived there Anuja had already left.

 It is used to refer to activities that were completed before a point in time.
In 2005, I had lived in the same place for ten years.
Had you ever travelled by plane before your holiday in Kathmandu?

 The past perfect tense is often used with expressions indicating that some activities took some time, such as: for 10 years, since 1995, all week, all the time, always, etc.
When the plane landed Tim had travelled all day.

 The past perfect is used when we want to make it clear that the first event was completed before the second started and that there is no relation between them.
When she had washed the dishes she had a cup of tea.

 If we use after in a time clause, the past perfect is much more usual.
The passengers arrived after the train had left the station.
Note: We use this tense similarly with: as soon as, until, before, by the time.
He got up as soon as he had heard the alarm clock.

Past perfect continuous (Subj. + had been + V4 + Obj. ... for / sine + time)
 It is used for activities that began before a point in time and were still continuing at that point in time.
Last summer, Rahul had been renovating his house for two years.

 The past perfect continuous and the present perfect continuous are basically very similar. The difference is, however, that in the past perfect we refer to the point of time in the past, while in the present perfect we refer to the present times.
I have been practising since the morning.
At 11 o'clock I had been practising for two hours.

Future simple tense (Subj. + will/shall + V1 + Obj.)
 The future simple tense is used to express a general intention.
He will change his job.
They won't change the telephone number.

 We use it for predictions or opinions.
It will snow in winter.
The horse will not win.
Note: In the future simple tense we can use the following verbs or adverbs: to say that we assume something, but we are not sure: think, be sure, hope, believe, suppose, perhaps, possibly, probably, surely
They'll probably study at university.
I don't think she'll accept it.

⮚ The future simple is used for a decision or offer made at the moment of speaking.
Can I walk you home? - No, thank you. I'll take a taxi.

Future Continuous (Subj. + will be/shall be + V4 + Obj.)
 It is used for an action that will be going on at a certain time in the future.
I will be reading at 10:30 tomorrow.

 It is used to describe an action that will be done in future without any particular future intention.
I think I will be helping my father with farming.

 It is used for already decided future action.
I will be fishing tomorrow.

Future Perfect (Subj. + will have / shall have + V3 + Obj.)
 It is used to show the completion of action at or within a certain time in future.
I shall have finished this work by five o'clock.

 We use this tense with by/in/ within + future time.
By this time next year, I shall have visited ten countries.

Future Perfect Continuous (Subj. + will have been / shall have been + V4 + Obj. )
 It is used to emphasize the continuity of an action up to a certain point of time in future.
By the end of this month, he will have been teaching here for twenty years.
Note: Generally, it is used with by / in future time, . . . for / since + time

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