Tense is the form of a verb that shows the time something happened, or is going to happen.  
  We use the simple present tense:  

a. for actions that happen now.

For example:

- I watch television.

- I wash my face.


b. for actions that happen again and again.

For example:

- I watch television every night.

- I wash my face every morning.


c. When we talk about facts.

For example:

- Samad likes football.

- Atiqah loves ice cream.


d. When we give instructions.

For example:

- Close the door.

- Open the window!



The verb must agree with the subject of the sentence.

Singular Subject Singular Verb
A turtle lives
A shark eats
An octopus has
A dolphin is
Plural Subject Plural Verb
Turtles live
Sharks eat
Octopuses have
Dophins are
  Simple past tense shows actions that happened in the past.  

Add “-d” or “-ed” to change some verbs into the past tense.

For example:

a. Work = Worked

b. Ask = Asked

c. Enter = Entered

d. Love = Loved


'Was' shows past tense. Use it for singular nouns which means for one person, one place or one thing.

For example:

a. He was happy.

- Meaning: Now he is not happy.

b. She was at the market.

- Meaning: Now she is not at the market.


'Were' shows past tense. Use it for plural nouns which means more than one person, more than one place or more than one thing.

For example:

a. Siti and Senah were hungry.

- Meaning: Now they are not hungry.

b. They were sad.

- Meaning: Now they are not sad.


Words like Once upon a time, Yesterday, Last month, Long ago and Years ago tell us that we have to use the simple past tense.

For example:

- Once upon a time there was an ugly duckling.

- I saw her yesterday afternoon.

- Last month, a fisherman saved a dolphin.

  The simple future tense tells us about actions that take place in the future.  

a. Use 'shall' or 'shan't' for the pronouns 'I' and 'We'.

For example:

- I shall listen to the language tape.

- We shall not (shan't) play here.


b. Use 'will' or 'won't' for all pronouns.

For example:

- Priya and Shanti will attend the computer lesson next month.

- Mr. Raja will not (won't) send the email today.

  The words used to show the simple future tense are soon, later, afterwards, next week, next month, next year, tomorrow, etc.  
  The verb following 'will', 'won't', 'shall' and 'shan't' must be at its base form (root word).  
  The present continuous tense is formed with the subject plus the present particle form (-ing) of the main verb and the present continuous tense of the verb to be: am, is, are.  

a. show an action is still going on at the time of speaking.

For example:

- Mother is reading the newspaper now.


b. show a future action that has been planned.

For example:

- We are having a birthday party this coming Sunday.


c. show the meaning 'about to'.

For example:

- I am going to paint my bedroom.


d. show habitual actions. It is used with words like 'always', 'often', 'after', 'constantly', etc.

For example:

- The headmaster is always scolding the gardener.


We use the present continuous tense in the negative forms.

For example:

- The pupils are not doing their homework. they are watching a video show.


The present continuous tense is formed as follows:

The simple formula:

Subject + Verb to be + Verb with (-ing form)

For example:

a. I (subject) + am (verb to be) + speaking

The correct sentence would be:

a. I am speaking.


b. I (subject) + am (verb to be) + speaking

The correct sentence would be:

a. I am speaking.


Remember this:

a. Subject

- I, He, She, It, Singular nouns, We, They, Plural nouns


b. verb to be

- am, is, are


c. Verb with (-ing form)

For example:

- speak + ing = speaking

- cut + t + ing = cutting

- chang - e + ing = changing

- transfer + r + ing = transferring

  The past continuous describes actions or events in a time before now, which began in the past and were still going on when another event occurred.  

We use the past continuous tense to talk about the past:


a. for something which happened before and after another action.

For example:

- The children were playing their toys when I got home.

- They were waiting for the bus when the accident happened.


b. for something that happened before and after a specific time.

For example:

- It was nine o'clock. I was writing a thesis.

- It was six o'clock. We were discussing about our assignments.


c. to show that something continued for some time.

For example:

- She was shouting.

- The animals were relaxing in the shade of the trees.


d. for something that happened again and again

For example:

- We were meeting secretly after school.

- They were always arguing.


e. with verbs which show change or growth

For example:

- Her English was improving.

- My hair was going grey.

  Remember: with verbs not normally used in the continuous form, the simple past is used.  
  The future continuous tense is used to show an action that is going on at a particular time in the future.  

a. Use 'shall be' or 'shall not be' for the pronouns 'I' and 'We'.

For example:

- I shall be going on a study tour.

- We shall not be going on a study tour.


b. Use 'will be' or 'will not be' for the pronouns 'He', 'She', 'It', 'You' and 'They'.

For example:

- He will be visiting the grape factory this weekend.

- They will not be visiting the grape factory this weekend.