May 112012

7 basis tenses in English:

Simple Future          S + will + Vo + O

Simple Present        S + V1s,es + O

Present Continu      S + am/is/are + Ving + O

Present Perfect       S + has/have + V3ed + O

Simple Past              S + V2ed + O

Past Continuous      S + was,were + Ving + O

Past Perfect             S + had + V3ed + O


In English, tenses are defined by the time word.

The Simple Present:       S + V1s,es + O

–        Every: everyday, every morning, every month, every year …

–        Often, usually, always, sometimes …

–        If there is no time word in the sentence, we always use The Simple Present.

The Simple Future:         S + will + Vo + O

–        Next:  next year, next 2 years, next month, next week …

–        In, on + future time: in 2050, on September …

The Simple Past:              S + V2ed + O

–        Yesterday:

–        Past time + ago: 2 days ago, 2 weeks ago …

–        Last + Past time: last week, last month, last year …

–        In, on + past time: in 2006, on Monday …

The Present Continuous:          S + am/is/are + Ving + O

–        Now                     at the moment

The Past Continuous:                 S + was,were + Ving + O

–        “While”

–        “When”

–        Specific time in the past:

at 5 p.m yesterday, on 25th May, 2010 …

The Present Perfect:                   S + has/have + V3ed + O

–        Since (specific time): since 2005, …

–        For (a period of time): for 3 years, …

–        How long

The Past Perfect:                          S + had + V3ed + O

–        Before                             after


Method: How use the correct verb form without understand all words in a sentence

In English, tenses are defined by time word. If you can define the time word correspondent to the suitable tenses,  you’ll know how to write a sentence in correct grammar easily.

Example 1:     Balloon(fly)                                              on the sky now.

–   Step 1: Define the time word

“now”  => The Present Continuous.

=>   am,is,are + V-ing      =      am,is are + flying

–   Step 2: Define S  singular or plural.

Ssingular  => Vsingular

Splural => Vplural

If Verb is “will, can, should, must, did, had,…”, we don’t change them no matter S is singular or plural.

If it’s a negative sentence (not) or a question, we borrow Verb auxiliary “do, does, did”

“Balloon” is singular    =>    am,is are + flying  =  is +flying

Balloon(fly)  is  flying        on the sky now.

Example 2:     Balloon(not fly)                          on the sky everyday.

Step 1:           everyday    =>   The Simple Present

V1s,es    =    not + fly, flies

Without Vmodal or “be” in this sentences, we borrow Vauxiliary

do/does + not + Vo      =        do,does + not + fly

Step 2: Balloon is singular   =>   Vauxiliary  is singular “does”

Balloon(not fly)      does not fly  on the sky everyday.

Example 3:    Balloon(not fly)                           on the sky tomorrow

Step 1:           tomorrow  =>  The Simple Future

Will + V0   =>   will + not + fly

Step 2:   “will” is Vmodal, we don’t change it no matter S is singular or plural:

Balloon(not fly)      will not fly    on the sky tomorrow.


Exercise : Use the correct Verb form

1. Earthquake (cause)                                   many disasters in 2020.

Step 1:                                                                                                                

Step 2:                                                                                                               

2. Pollution(extinguish)                                            many species now.

Step 1:                                                                                                               

Step 2:                                                                                                              

3. These circuses(surprise)                                      to many audiences yesterday.

Step 1:                                                                                                               

Step 2:                                                                                                              

4. He (pray)                                          for his grandmother tomorrow.

Step 1:                                                                                                               

Step 2:                                                                                                              

5. The earth (not travel)                                           around the sun.

Step 1:                                                                                                                

Step 2:                                                                                                               


  1. Earthquake (cause)       will   cause        many disasters in 2020.
  2. Pollution(extinguish)        is extinguishing       many species now.
  3. These circuses(surprise)  surprised   to many audiences yesterday.
  4. He (pray)      will pray       for his grandmother tomorrow.
  5. The sun (not travel)           doesn’t   travel        around the earth.
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