Comparing Examples of all the English Tenses

comparing examples of tensesI have had a few requests recently to provide more examples of sentences as they are used across all the English tenses. This is useful to show how and why we might use the different tenses to describe the same situation. One example was given in my timeline (I go school…) and you can go into detail about why we use the different tenses in my book – but for here, let’s just look at 4 different sentences across all 12 aspects of English.

In these examples I have not added context to sentences – some of the tenses should have more context to make perfect sense (e.g. He was walking to work…when he tripped over.). The future is shown in the “will” form, which could be replaced with “to be going to” or present tenses for future meanings.

Present Simple

  • I study English.
  • He walks to work.
  • Jen is a particularly bright student.
  • The teacher encourages her pupils to read more books.

 

Present continuous

  • I am studying English.
  • He is walking to work.
  • Jen is being a particularly bright student.
  • The teacher is encouraging her pupils to read more books.

 

Present perfect

  • I have studied English.
  • He has walked to work.
  • Jen has been a particularly bright student.
  • The teacher has encouraged her pupils to read more books.

 

Present perfect continuous

  • I have been studying English.
  • He has been walking to work.
  • Jen has been being a particularly bright student. (Note: present perfect continuous is very clumsy for describing a state, as in this example.)
  • The teacher has been encouraging her pupils to read more books.

 

Past simple

  • I studied English.
  • He walked to work.
  • Jen was a particularly bright student.
  • The teacher encouraged her pupils to read more books.

 

Past continuous

  • I was studying English.
  • He was walking to work.
  • Jen was being a particularly bright student.
  • The teacher was encouraging her pupils to read more books.

 

Past perfect

  • I had studied English.
  • He had walked to work.
  • Jen had been a particularly bright student.
  • The teacher had encouraged her pupils to read more books.

 

Past perfect continuous

  • I had been studying English.
  • He had been walking to work.
  • Jen had been being a particularly bright student.
  • The teacher had been encouraging her pupils to read more books.

 

Future simple

  • I will study English.
  • He will walk to work.
  • Jen will be a particularly bright student.
  • The teacher will encourage her pupils to read more books.

 

Future continuous

  • I will be studying English.
  • He will be walking to work.
  • Jen will be a particularly bright student.
  • The teacher will encourage her pupils to read more books.

 

Future perfect

  • I will have studied English.
  • He will have walked to work.
  • Jen will have been a particularly bright student.
  • The teacher will have encouraged her pupils to read more books.

 

Future perfect continuous

  • I will have been studying English.
  • He will have been walking to work.
  • Jen will have been being a particularly bright student. (Note the future perfect continuous is clumsy for states, as in this example.)
  • The teacher will have been encouraging her pupils to read more books.

Leave a Reply