Six Basic Tenses of Verbs

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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

Singular

Plural

First person:

I watch

we watch

Second person:

you watch

you watch

Third person:

he/she/it watches

they 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)

Singular

Plural

First person:

I watched

we watched

Second person:

you watched

you watched

Third person:

he/she/it watched

they 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)

Singular

Plural

First person:

I will (shall) watch

we will (shall) watch

Second person:

you will watch

you will watch

Third person:

he/she/it will watch

they will watch

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

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

Singular

Plural

First person:

I have watched

we have watched

Second person:

you have watched

you have watched

Third person:

he/she/it has watched

they have watched

Progressive form: I have been watching, etc.

Past Perfect Tense (Had + the Past Participle)

Singular

Plural

First person:

I had watched

we had watched

Second person:

you had watched

you had watched

Third person:

he/she/it had watched

they had watched

Progressive form: I had been watching, etc.

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

Singular

Plural

First person:

I will (shall) have watched

we will (shall) have watched

Second person:

you will have watched

you will have watched

Third person:

he/she/it will have watched

they will have watched

Progressive form: I will have been watching, etc.

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