Tenses

Tenses can be overwhelming if you will to look at its complexity on a whole. At the end of the day, you won’t be much wiser as to how to effectively use what your have learned. Here I will endeavour to impart to you just the 12 basic tenses in 4 sets of 3 categories; SIMPLE, PERFECT, CONTINUOUS and CONTINUOUS PERFECT in past, present and future tenses.

In the following table, we use be to demonstrate the 12 basic tenses.

SIMPLE

past tense

present tense

future tense

singular

I

was

am

will be

you

were

are

will be

he/she/it

was

is

will be

plural

we

were

are

will be

you

were

are

will be

they

were

are

will be

PERFECT

past tense

present tense

future tense

singular

I

had been

have been

will have been

you

had been

have been

will have been

he/she/it

had been

has been

will have been

plural

we

had been

have been

will have been

you

had been

have been

will have been

they

had been

have been

will have been

CONTINUOUS

past tense

present tense

future tense

singular

I

was being

am being

will be being

you

were being

are being

will be being

he/she/it

was being

is being

will be being

plural

we

were being

are being

will be being

you

were being

are being

will be being

they

were being

are being

will be being

CONTINUOUS PERFECT

past tense

present tense

future tense

singular

I

had been being

have been being

will have been being

you

had been being

have been being

will have been being

he/she/it

had been being

has been being

will have been being

plural

we

had been being

have been being

will have been being

you

had been being

have been being

will have been being

they

had been being

have been being

will have been being

To ease learning we will look at each basic tense one by one.