Six Basic Tenses of Verb

English has six basic tenses: present, past, future, present perfect, past perfect, and future perfect. In addition, the progressive and conditional forms are used for special functions. The progressive form (I am singing, I was singing, I will be singing) is used to indicate continuity of action rather than its completion. For example, compare I wrote a letter with I was writing a letter. The first sentence simply states that an action was completed in the past, while the second sentence implies that the action is connected to another event. Adverbs are often used with progressive forms to stress the continuous nature of the action or state of being (He is always singing in the shower). Progressive forms can be used with all six tenses. The conditional form (I can sing, I could sing, I could have sung) conveys intention to do or be something.

Following is a complete conjugation of the verb to watch. The function of each tense is discussed following the conjugation.

Present Tense

First person:I watchwe watch
Second person:you watchyou watch
Third person:he/she/it watchesthey watch

Present progressive form:

    • I am (you are) watching, etc.

Present conditional form:

    • I can (I could) watch, etc.

Past Tense (Base Form of the Verb d or ed)

First person:I watchedwe watched
Second person:you watchedyou watched
Third person:he/she/it watchedthey watched

Past progressive form:

    • I was watching, etc.

Past conditional form:

    • I could have watched, etc.
    • I could have been watching, etc.

Future Tense (Will or Shall + the Base Form of the Verb)

First person:I will (shall) watchwe will (shall) watch
Second person:you will watchyou will watch
Third person:he/she/it will watchthey will watch

Future progressive form: I will (shall) be watching, etc.

Present Perfect Tense (Have or Has + the Past Participle)

First person:I have watchedwe have watched
Second person:you have watchedyou have watched
Third person:he/she/it has watchedthey have watched

Progressive form: I have been watching, etc.

Past Perfect Tense (Had + the Past Participle)

First person:I had watchedwe had watched
Second person:you had watchedyou had watched
Third person:he/she/it had watchedthey had watched

Progressive form: I had been watching, etc.

Future Perfect Tense (Will Have or Shall Have the Past Participle)

First person:I will (shall) have watchedwe will (shall) have watched
Second person:you will have watchedyou will have watched
Third person:he/she/it will have watchedthey will have watched

Progressive form: I will have been watching, etc.