Tenses – CBSE Class 10 English Grammar

Verb form, that shows the time of an action/state, is called Tense. In other words, tense shows the relation between action and its time of occurrence. Basically, different forms of verbs show different tenses. Then tense of a verb shows the time of an action or the state of being.

Examples

He goes to school. (An action of present tense – verb ‘goes’ tells the tense)

He is was in the school. (A state of being in school- verb ‘was’ tells the tense here)


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Classification of Tenses


  • Present Tense
  • Past Tense
  • Future Tense

Each tense is further divided into four forms. Study the table given below to understand more about all tenses and their forms.


Present Tense


Present Indefinite Tense (Simple Present Tense)


This tense is used in the following ways

i) To express habitual action, habit or custom.

Examples:
a) I watch television on Sunday.
b) She gets up every morning at 6 o’clock
c) He walks in the evening
d) My shop opens at 9 o’clock
e) I do exercise every morning

ii) To talk about a general or universal truth.

Examples:
a) Earth revolves around the Sun.
b) The Sun rises in the East
c) The Sun sets in the West
d) Two and two makes four
e) Honesty is the best policy

iii) To indicate a future event which is part of a plan or arrangement.

Examples:
a) The school reopens next week
b) The examination commences next month.

iv) To introduce quotes with the verb ‘says’.

Examples:
a) Newton says, “Every action has an equal and an opposite reaction.”
b) Keats says, “A thing of beauty is a joy forever.”

v) Vivid narration, as a substitute for the simple past.

Example:
Ravana fights bravely but he is killed in the end.

vi) Exclamatory sentences that begin with here or there.

Examples:
a) Here you go!
b) There he goes!

vii) Time clauses and conditional clauses in place of simple future.

Examples:
a) If you do not earn money, you will not buy the house.
b) If you do not work hard, you will fail.

Rules for Affirmative Sentences

  • Singular subject + first form of verb + s/es + ……………
  • Plural subject + first form of verb + …………….

Examples:
a) They play cricket in the ground.
b) She cooks food in the evening.
c) Water boils at 100°C
d) We study in ABC institution.
e) She advises me not to smoke

Rules of Negative Sentences

  • Singular subject + does not + first form of verb + ……………….
  • Plural subject + do not + first form of verb + ………………….

Examples:
a) Reena does not watch television.
b) We do not smoke
c) She does not write a letter to her friend.
d) They do not like swim.

Rules for Interrogative Sentences

  • Do/does + subject + first form of verb + …………?
  • Question word + do/does + subject + first form of verb + ……?

Examples:
a)  Do you play cricket?
b) Does she wash clothes?
c) Does he not go to school daily?
d) Why do you weep now?
e) Whose book do you read?
f) Whom do you teach?
g) Which subject does Garima not want to study?
h) Who teaches you English?
i) Why do you not complete your homework?

Present Continuous Tense

This tense is used in the following ways

i) To describe an action in progress and the continuity of the action.

Examples:
a) She is playing tennis.
b) We are watering the plants.
c) The passengers are wandering to and for.

ii) An action that is not happening at the time of speaking but is in progress.

Examples:
a) He is working in an MNC.
b) I am teaching in a school.
c) They are studying in DN College.

iii) An action that has been pre-arranged to take place in the near future.

Examples:
a) The wedding is going to take place on Sunday.
b) I am going to attend the class tomorrow.

iv) Persistent and undesirable habit, especially with adverbs like always, continually, constantly etc.

Examples:
a) You are always running me down.
b) He is constantly gazing at me.

Rules for Affirmative Sentences

  • Singular subject + is/am + first form of verb + Ing + ……………
  • Plural subject + are + first form of verb + Ing + ……………………

Examples:
a) I am playing a game.
b) She is reading a book
c) We are going to Shimla

Rules for Negative Sentences

  • Singular subject + is/am + not + first form of verb + Ing + ………….
  • Plural subject + are + not + first form of verb + Ing + …………….

Examples:
a) Ram is not surfing the internet
b) They are not watching a movie
c) I am not swimming in the water.

Rules for Interrogative Sentences

  • is/are/am + subject + first form of verb + Ing + …………?
  • Question word + is/are/am + subject + first form of verb + Ing + ………?

Examples:
a) Is Reena cooking the food?
b) Are you not writing a letter?
c) What is Raveena doing here?
d) Which newspaper are you buying?
e) Why was the camel not drinking water?

Exceptions for Present Continuous Tense

The following verbs are not normally used in present continuous tense on account of their meaning:

  • Verbs of perception or sense, e.g., see, hear, smell, notice, recognise, etc.
  • Verbs of appearance, e.g., appear, look, seem etc.
  • Verbs of thinking e.g., think, suppose, believe, agree, consider, forget, know, imagine, mean etc.
  • Verbs of emotion, e.g., want, wish, desire, feel, love, prefer etc.
  • have, own, possess, be (except when used in the passive)

Present Perfect Tense

This tense is used in the following ways

i) To express an action that has recently been completed.

Examples:
a) She has just taken tea.
b) I have purchased a book.
c) They have won the match.
d) He has come now.

ii) To describe an action whose time is not given.

Examples:

a) Have you done MSc in Math?
b) Have you read Shakespeare?

iii) To describe past events whose effect still exists.

Examples:
I have finished my work and now I am free.

iv) To describe actions that started in the past and are continuing until now and possibly will continue into the future.

Example:
I have already used this brand of soap.

v) To show how a past situation relates to the present.

Example:
I’ve done my homework, so I can help you with yours now.

Rules of Affirmative Sentences

  • Singular subject + has + third form of verb + ………….
  • Plural subject + have + third form of verb + ……….

Examples:
a) She has gone to the market.
b) I have met her.
c) They have bathed.
d) It has become dark now.

Rules of Negative Sentences

  • Singular subject + has + not + third form of verb + ………
  • Plural subject + have + not + third form of verb + ……….

Examples:
a) I have not called him.
b) The train has not gone.

Rules for Interrogative Sentences

  • Has/have + subject + third form of verb + ……?
  • Question word + has/have + subject + third form of verb + …….?

Examples:
a) Has she gone to Delhi?
b) Have they not seen the Taj Mahal yet?
c) What have they eaten today?
d) Why has the poem not come yet?

Present Perfect Continuous Tense

This tense is also called Present Progressive Tense.

This tense is used in the following ways:

i) To describe an action that began in the past and is still continuing.

Examples:
a) They have been staying in the village for a long time.
b) It has been raining since last night.

ii) To express an action already completed, but whose effect is still continuing.

Examples
I have been running around for the job all day and am now tired.

Rules for Affirmative Sentences

  • Singular subject + has + been + first form of verb + Ing + ……. + for/since + ……….
  • Plural subject + have + been + first form of verb + Ing + ……. + for/since + ……….

Examples:
a) Arpit has been sleeping since 6 o’clock.
b) They have been running for three hours.

Rules for Negative Sentences

  • Singular subject + has + not + been + first form of verb + Ing + ……. + for/since + ……….
  • Plural subject + have + not + been + first form of verb + Ing + ……. + for/since + ……….

Examples:
a) You have not been suffering from fever for one week.
b) Reena has not been going to music class for 2 months.

Rules for Interrogative Sentences

Has/Have + subject + been + first form of verb + Ing + ……… + since/for + …….?

Question word + has/have + subject + been + first form of verb + Ing + ……… + since/for + …….?

Examples:
a) Have you been sleeping since 8 o’clock?
b) Has he not been living in this house for a long time?
c) Why have they been playing football since morning?


Past Tense


Past Indefinite Tense

This tense is also called Simple Past Tense.

This tense is used in the following ways:

i) To indicate an action that happened in the past and to report completed actions. It is used often in recounts and narratives.

Examples:
a) We closed the shop at 8 pm.
b) She met me last year.
c) I visited the Taj Mahal three months ago.

ii) To indicate past habits or repeated events that are now over.

Examples:
a) In those days, my mother gave me some pocket money every day.
b) I always rode a bike to school when I was young.

iii) The habitual past can also be expressed by using ‘used to’.

Examples:
a) She used to drink tea in the morning.
b) My grandfather used to read a few chapters of the Gita every day.

iv) Sometimes this tense is used without an adverb of time. In such cases, the time may be either implied or indicated by the context.

Example:
I learnt Punjabi in Chandigarh.

v) To indicate another action which happened in the middle of a longer action.

Example:
The light went out while I was watching my favourite TV serial.

Rule of Affirmative Sentences

  • Subject + second form of verb + …….

Examples:
a) I played football in the ground.
b) She sang a song in the party.

Rule of Negative Sentences

  • Subject + did not + first form of verb + …….

Examples:
a) I did not attend the function.
b) They did not watch television.

Rule of Interrogative Sentences

  • Did + subject + first form of verb + …….
  • Question word + did + subject + first form of verb + ………?

Examples:
a) Did you play a game?
b) Why did she abuse her friends?
c) When did father go to office?
d) Why did Supriya not speak the truth?

Past Continuous Tense

This tense is used in the following ways:

i) To indicate an action that was happening at some time in the past. The time of action may or may not be indicated.

Example:
We were watching TV the whole evening.

ii) Used with always, continually etc. for persistent habits in the past.

Example:
He was always sulking.

iii) The past continuous is also used for an action that was going on during a given period or at a period of time in the past.

Example:
Rohan was filling in the hole, his god was digging another.

Rules for Affirmative Sentences

  • Singular subject + was + first form of verb + Ing + …………
  • Plural subject + were + first form of verb + Ing + ……

Examples:
a) She was driving her car.
b) They were making a noise.

Rules for Negative Sentences

  • Singular subject + was + not + first form of verb + Ing + …….
  • Plural subject + were + not + first form of verb + Ing + …….

Examples:
a) She was not singing a song.
b) They were not eating mangoes.

Rules of Interrogative Sentences

  • Was/were + subject + first form of verb + Ing + ………?
  • Questions word + was/were + subject + first form of verb + Ing + ………?

Examples:
a) Were you eating a mango?
b) When was the milkman milking the cow?
c) Why was the bling boy crying?

Past Perfect Tense

This tense is used in the following ways:

i) To indicate an action that was completed before a definite time or before another action that took place in the past.

Example:
a) Manish reached here after you had gone.
b) The patient had died before the doctor reached the hospital.

ii) It indicates desires in the past that have not been fulfilled.

Example:
I wish I had not wasted my time.

iii) It expresses those conditions of the past that were impossible to fulfil.

Example:
If you had questioned him earlier, things would have improved.

Rule for Affirmative Sentences

  • Subject + had + third form of verb + ……….

Example:
She has cooked the food.

Rule for Negative Sentences

  • Subject + had + not + third form of verb + ……….

Example:
They had not attended the function.

Rule for Interrogative Sentences

  • Had + subject + third form of verb + ……….?
  • Question word + had + subject + third form of verb + ……….?

Example:
a) Has she watched a movie?
b) Why had you not gone to Delhi?

Past Perfect Continuous Tense

This tense is used in the following way:

It indicates an action which began in the past and continued up to a certain point of time in the past.

Examples:
a) When we met in Lucknow, she had been studying in city college for 3 years.
b) At that time, he had been working in the company for two months.

Rule for Affirmative Sentences

Subject + had been + first form of verb + Ing + …. + since/for + …….

Examples:
a) You had been suffering from fever since Tuesday.
b) I had been studying for three hours.

Rule for Negative Sentences

Subject + had + not + been + first form of verb + Ing + …. + since/for + …….

Example:
They had not been going to office since the 5th of July.

Rules for Interrogative Sentences

  • Had + subject + been + first form of verb + Ing + …. + since/for + ………?
  • Question word + had + subject + been + first form of verb + Ing + …. + since/for + ………?

Examples:
a) Had you not been reading the book since morning?
b) Where had he been playing since morning?


Future Tense


Future Indefinite Tense

This tense is also called Simple Future Tense.

This tense is used in the following ways:

i) To say what we believe or think will happen in future.

Examples:
a) I believe she will join the office tomorrow.
b) They will go to college.
c) We shall win the match.

ii) Things which we cannot control and are factual.

Example:
The Sun will rise at 6:00 AM.

iii) To indicate an instant decision.

Example:
It is our first marriage anniversary. I shall give you a precious gift.

Rules of Affirmative Sentences

  • You/He/She/It/They (Second and Third Person Pronouns) + will + first form of verb + ……….
  • I/We (First Person Pronouns) + shall + first form of verb + ……….

Examples:
a) He will sell his house
b) I shall purchase a new car.

Rules of Negative Sentences

  • You/He/She/It/They (Second and Third Person Pronouns) + will + not + first form of verb + ……….
  • I/We (First Person Pronouns) + shall + not + first form of verb + ……….

Examples:
a) My friend will not host dinner this evening.
b) We shall not skip the exams.

Rules of Interrogative Sentences

  • Will/Shall + subject + first form of verb + ……….?
  • Question word + will/shall + subject + first form of verb + ……….?

Examples:
a) Will she not come in the party?
b) Who will help him?
c) Why will your friend not come here?

Future Continuous Tense

This tense is used in the following ways:

i) To indicate an action that will occur in the normal course.

Examples:
a) She will be cooking the food tomorrow.
b) I will be meeting him tomorrow.

ii) To indicate an action that will be in progress at a given point of time in the future.

Examples:
a) At this time tomorrow, we shall be attending the party.
b) We shall be visiting the zoo at this time tomorrow.

Rules for Affirmative Sentences

  • You/He/She/It/They (Second and Third Person Pronouns) + will + be + first form of verb + Ing + ……
  • I/We (First Person Pronouns) + shall + be + first form of verb + Ing + …….

Examples:
a) Next year my teacher will be going to China.
b) I shall be teaching my students.

Rules for Negative Sentences

  • You/He/She/It/They (Second and Third Person Pronouns) + will + not + be + first form of verb + Ing + ……
  • I/We (First Person Pronouns) + shall + not + be + first form of verb + Ing + …….

Examples:
a) They will not be studying in city college.
b) I shall not be bathing this evening.

Rules of Interrogative Sentences

  • Will/shall + subject + be + first form of verb + Ing + …?
  • Question word + will/shall + subject + be + first form of verb + Ing + …?

Examples:
a) Will this boy be wandering in the forest?
b) How long will they be travelling?

Future Perfect Tense

This tense is used to describe an action which will be completed at some point of time in the future.

Examples:
a) I shall have finished this work by tomorrow.
b) They will have reached home by the evening.
c) I shall have reached the school before the bell rings.

Rules for Affirmative Sentences

  • You/He/She/It/They (Second and Third Person Pronouns) + will + have + third form of verb + ……….
  • I/We (First Person Pronouns) +shall + have + third form of verb + ……….

Examples:
a) Your examinations will have been over by Tuesday.
b) We shall have cooked the food by the evening.

Rules for Negative Sentences

  • You/He/She/It/They (Second and Third Person Pronouns) + will + not + have + third form of verb + ……….
  • I/We (First Person Pronouns) +shall + not + have + third form of verb + ……….

Examples:
a) The passengers will not have reached the station before the train starts.
b) Your brother will not have read this novel before next Saturday.
c) I shall not have written the letter by noon.

Rules of Interrogative Sentences

  • Will/shall + subject + have + third form of verb + …….?
  • Question word + will/shall + subject + have + third form of verb + …….?

Examples:
a) Will he not have gone before I reach?
b) What will he have eaten before he sleeps?

Future Perfect Continuous Tense

This tense is used in the following ways:

It describes an action that will be in progress over a period of time that will end in the future.

Examples:
a) At noon rani will have been singing songs for an hour.
b) I shall have been working round the clock for twenty-two years next April.

Rules for Affirmative Sentences

  • You/He/She/It/They (Second and Third Person Pronouns) + will + have + been + first form of verb + Ing + ………+ since/for + …….
  • I/We (First Person Pronouns) + shall + have + been + first form of verb + Ing + ………+ since/for + …….

Example:
By next April we shall have been leaving for England.

Rules for Negative Sentences

  • You/He/She/It/They (Second and Third Person Pronouns) + will + not + have + been + first form of verb + Ing + ………+ since/for + …….
  • I/We (First Person Pronouns) + shall + not + have + been + first form of verb + Ing + ………+ since/for + …….

Examples:
a) Sarla will not have been going to Kanpur for a long time.
b) We shall not have been doing homework since morning.

Rules for Interrogative Sentences

  • Will/shall + subject + have + been + first form of verb + Ing + ………+ since/for + ………?
  • Question word + will/shall + subject + have + been + first form of verb + Ing + ………+ since/for + ………?

Examples:
a) Will they have been playing for two hours?
b) Why will the teacher not have been teaching since morning?


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