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Uses of Tenses

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Uses of Tenses

Uses of Tenses



Present, Past, and Future Tenses

Each of the six tenses has its own uses.

Present Tense

The present tense is used to express an action or a state of being that is occurring now, to show habitual or customary action, to convey a general truth, to create a literary present, to make historical events seem current, and to express future time.
  • OCCURRING NOW
    Detective Dane solves another mystery. [Present tense is used to show that the action happens now.] 
  • HABITUAL ACTION
    Doug Dane works as a detective. [Present tense is used to show that the action occurs on a regular basis.] 
  • GENERAL TRUTH
    In Dane’s town, criminals never win. [Present tense is used to show that something is always true.] 
  • LITERARY PRESENT
    In this chapter, Dane finds a new clue. [Present tense is used to summarize the plot or subject matter of a literary work.] 
  • HISTORICAL PRESENT
    In 1861, the Pinkerton National Detective Agency stops a plot to kill President-elect Lincoln and saves his life. [Present tense is used to make a historical event seem current.] 
  • FUTURE TIME
    The new book comes out tomorrow. [Present tense is used, but the word tomorrow indicates that the action will occur in the future.]

Past Tense

The past tense is used to express an action or a state of being that occurred in the past and does not continue into the present.

EXAMPLE 
  • Last year Detective Dane solved many mysteries.

Future Tense

The future tense is used to express an action or a state of being that will occur. The future tense is formed with the helping verb will or shall and the base form of the verb.

EXAMPLES 
  • Detective Dane will solve many more mysteries. 
  • Detective Dane shall work for many years to come.

Present Perfect, Past Perfect, and Future Perfect Tenses

Present Perfect

The present perfect tense expresses an action or a state of being that occurred at some indefinite time in the past and may be continuing into the present. The present perfect tense is formed with the helping verb have or has and the past participle of a verb.

EXAMPLE 
  • The report has undergone many changes. [Has undergone shows an action that occurred at an indefinite time in the past.]

Past Perfect

The past perfect tense expresses an action or a state of being that ended before some other past action or state of being. The past perfect tense is formed with the helping verb had and the past participle of a verb.

EXAMPLE 
  • Had the computer network crashed before the lightning struck? [Had crashed shows that the network’s action ended before another past action occurred.]

Future Perfect Tense

The future perfect tense expresses an action or a state of being that will end before some other future action or state of being. The future perfect tense is formed with the helping verbs will have or shall have and the past participle of a verb.

EXAMPLE 
  • By Friday, the council will have determined their next course of action. [Will have determined shows that the council’s action will end before a specific future time.]
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Mr. ‏El-Sayed Ramadan ‎ ‎

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