All 12 Verb Tenses in English – Past, Present and Future Verb Conjugation

verb tenses
From the past, present and future, how well do you know your verb tenses? For teachers, this article will help you brush up your memory. Otherwise, if you're a student, here are tons of examples to help you master verb conjugation.

Last Updated: Jul 21, 2017

Do you want to improve your English verb tense skills?

A good place to start is this list of all 12 verb tenses.

From past, present and future, here are practical examples with different subjects.

Take a look:

Present Verb Tense

PRESENT SIMPLE: When you use present simple, you are using a routine. It’s something that you always do every day, month or year. Or it’s something that you never do.

I, You, We, They: travel every day.
He, She, It: travels every day.

PRESENT CONTINUOUS/PROGRESSIVE: When you use present continuous, you are referring to what is happening right now. Also, it can be an action that is not yet complete.

I: am traveling right now.
You, We, They: are traveling right now.
He, She, It: is traveling right now.

PRESENT PERFECT: Although it’s easy to confuse this verb tense with present simple, the main difference is that the action is complete for present perfect. In other words, you are looking at the result right now without any words referring to time.

I, You, We, They: have traveled to France.
He, She, It: has traveled to France.

PRESENT PERFECT CONTINUOUS/PROGRESSIVE: In this verb tense, an action starts in the past but it’s still continuing now. You have been performing the action and still are performing the action in the present.

I, You, We, They: have been traveling for a day.
He, She, It: has been traveling for a day.

Past Verb Tense

PAST SIMPLE: For past simple, it includes a finished action and time.

I, You, We, They, He, She, It: traveled to France yesterday.

PAST CONTINUOUS/PROGRESSIVE: When you use past continuous, you are often using two actions. However, one action is not finished in the past, and another is complete interrupting the other action.

I, He, She, It: was traveling by bus when the deer crossed the road.
You, We, They: were traveling when the deer crossed the road.

PAST PERFECT: This verb tense uses two actions at two different times. Before the second action occurs, the first action is complete.

I, You, We, They, He, She, It: had traveled by car when the bus arrived.

PAST PERFECT CONTINUOUS/PROGRESSIVE: For colloquial English, we don’t use past perfect continuous very often. But in text books, it’s a bit more common. This very tense has a complete action that happened before a second action. But in this case, you can describe how long.

I, You, We, They, He, She, It: had been traveling for one hour when the car broke down.

Future Verb Tense

FUTURE SIMPLE: This verb tense is about planning things to do in the future. For example, what will you do tomorrow or next week?

I, You, We, They, He, She, It: will travel to France tomorrow.

Instead of using “will”, you can use “going to” for future tense. But this lesson uses “will” for the future tense.

FUTURE CONTINUOUS/PROGRESSIVE: The action is not complete, when another action happens in the future. This is similar to past continuous, but it refers to the future.

I, You, We, They, He, She, It: will be traveling when you arrive.

FUTURE PERFECT: An action will be completed in the future before another is completed.

I, You, We, They, He, She, It: will have traveled to France by the time you arrive.

FUTURE PERFECT CONTINUOUS/PROGRESSIVE: An action will be continuing in the future when it is interrupted by another action. In this future verb tense, it often includes an indication of how long the action has been happening.

I, You, We, They, He, She, It: will have been traveling for one hour when you arrive.

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