How to use tenses properly?

Even after having the full command on the tenses and knowledge about all the tenses, when the situation comes to the usage of these tenses we all get into the troubles and confuse very much in selecting the correct tense according to our situation. Learning when to use the tenses correctly and how to use them correctly is utterly important when we are speaking or writing. The six tenses express time within three main categories of past, present and future. We have to use the tenses correctly relating our situation to any of the above three tenses.

When we want to speak or write about the situation related to the past then we can use any of the following tenses:

  1. Simple past
  2. Present perfect
  3. Past perfect
  4. Past progressive
  5. Present perfect progressive
  6. Past perfect progressive
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When we want to represent any situation related to the present time then we can use any of the following tenses:

  1. Simple present
  2. Present

When we want to talk about or write about a situation that is related to future time then use the following tenses:

  1. Simple future
  2. Future perfect
  3. Future progressive
  4. Future perfect progressive

Notes:

  • Use the two present forms tenses simple present and present progressive to represent or show the events that take place now.
  • Use the six past forms of tenses simple past, present perfect, past perfect, past progressive, present perfect progressive, past perfect progressive to show the events that occurs before the present time.
  • The four forms future tenses simple future, future perfect, future progressive, future perfect are used to show the events that take place in future.
  • Don’t try to switch between the tenses in middle of a paragraph because it will create a big confusion among the readers mainly when the sentence containing more than one verb.

Using Past Tenses:

Simple past:

1. Use this tense to show the completed action which occurred in indefinite time.

E.g. I cleaned my house.

2. Use this tense to show the completed action which occurred in definite time.

E.g. I cleaned my house yesterday.

Present perfect:

  1. Completed action which occurred in definite time.

E.g.  We have bought the sweets.

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2.    Action that is continuing condition into the present.

E.g. we waited for 1 hour.

3.    Action that was completed in indefinite time.

E.g. I have been very happy.

Past perfect:

  1. Action that completed before another. E.g. I invited all my friends before the party started.
  2. When the condition completed. E.g. I had been a designer before I became an artist.

Past progressive:

  1. To show the continuous completed action. E.g. I was eating excellent food in restaurant that month.

Present perfect progressive:

  1. Action continuing into the present. E.g. He has been eating all day.

Past perfect progressive:

  1. Use this to show the actions that are continuing and interrupted by the others. E.g. Hari had been cleaning the room that was spoiled by the Swaroop.

Using Future Tenses:

Simple future:

  1. To represent the future actions. E.g. The train will arrive.

Future perfect:

  1. To show the action completed before another. E.g. By the time you eat this, bus will have arrived.

Future progressive:

  1. To show the future continuing actions. E.g. I will be working all the day.

Future perfect progressive:

  1. To show the continuing actions that completed before another. E.g. When I go on vacation next week, I will have been eating.
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