Verb Tenses in English Grammar

How many tenses does English have?

English has a lot of tenses — 12 in fact!

We can categorise the tenses into three basic types: present, past and future.

In addition to these basic forms, each tense then also has the following aspects:

  • progressive aspect (ing form)
  • perfect aspect (have + past participle)
  • perfect progressive aspect (have/had been + ing)

But what is a tense aspect? They are a bit like different flavours of the same tense.

The tense (present/past/future) situates the action in time, while the aspect gives more detail about whether it was in progress, already completed, etc.

This gives us our total of 12 tenses:

Present tenses:

Past tenses:

Future tenses:

Click on the links below to learn about each tense in detail and practise using it in the exericses.