The Big 3 - An Introduction to Verb Tenses

Verbs are action words. They can describe a physical action, a state of being, or an occurrence, and form the main part of a sentence's predicate - the portion of a sentence which contains a verb and information on the subject of the sentence.

Verbs come in three tenses: past, present, and future.

The past describes things that have already happened - yesterday, last week, last month, ten years ago.

The present describes things that are currently happening at this very moment or things that are continuous.

The future describes things that have yet to happen - tomorrow, next month, in the next three weeks.

While verbs can be in the past, present, or future tense, they can also be combined with the simple, perfect, and progressive tenses. There are 12 types of verb conjugations, but today we will be focusing on the three most common seen in everyday writing. Keep reading to see examples of how to use each.

Simple

A simple verb expresses the past, present, and future in a general sense.

Simple present:

I paint murals using various mediums.

Simple past:

I painted a mural using various mediums.

Simple future:

I will paint a mural using various mediums.

Progressive

Progressive verbs end in “-ing” and illustrate a continuous or ongoing action.

Present progressive:

I am painting a mural using various mediums.

Past progressive:

I was painting a mural using various mediums.

Future progressive:

I will be painting a mural using various mediums.

Perfect

The perfect tense illustrates an act that has already been completed using the past participle “-ed”.

Present perfect:

I have painted a mural using various mediums.

Past perfect:

I had painted the mural using various mediums.

Future perfect:

I will have painted the mural using various mediums.

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