Past Present Future Tense Chart & Table in English with Rules, Usage Examples, Definitions, and Best Practices for English Learners

Past Present Future Tense chart

PPF: Past Present Future

In general, verbs have 3 main tenses: present past future. There are also 4 aspects to each tense: simple, continuous, perfect, perfect continuous. The past tense is for showing conditions and things that happened prior to the time of speaking (e.g. yesterday, last month, 5 years ago, and so on). The present tense is for describing habits or things that are currently taking place (e.g. at the moment, at present, now, and so on). Lastly, the future tense is for expressing predictions, estimates, guesses, or things that have not yet occurred (e.g. next week/month/year, tomorrow, later, and so on). In this blog, you will read over 100 examples of past present and future tense sentences and their various conjugations and formulas in different sentence structures.

An Overview of Verb Tenses and Their Aspects

Before we get into specifics, let’s study an overview of all the 12 tenses. Tenses are a crucial element in grammar. They signify time, whether or not an action or event is done or has ended, and which action finished first in a time sequence. The rules for past tense present tense future tense are expressed in different conjugations across sentence structures and subsequent patterns.

3 types of tenses:

  1. Present Tense
  2. Past Tense
  3. Future Tense

4 aspects or forms of each tense type:

  1. Simple
  2. Perfect
  3. Continuous
  4. Perfect Continuous

The chart below shows how the present past future tense and their aspects intersect.

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Chart for Past Present Future Tense

SimpleSimple PresentSimple PastSimple Future
ContinuousPresent ContinuousPast ContinuousFuture Continuous
PerfectPresent PerfectPast PerfectFuture Perfect
Perfect ContinuousPresent Perfect ContinuousPast Perfect ContinuousFuture Perfect Continuous

Now let’s take a look at the past present future tense chart with sample sentences. To illustrate the different verb forms better, let’s use the verb “watch” in its various conjugations across tenses. Study the examples of present past and future tense forms of the word.

Present Tense Past Tense Future Tense Sentence Chart

SimpleMelaka watches a movie.Melaka watched a movie.Melaka will watch a movie.
ContinuousMelaka is watching a movie.Melaka was watching a movie.Melaka will be watching a movie.
PerfectMelaka has watched a movie.Melaka had watched a movie.Melaka will have been watching a movie.
Perfect ContinuousMelaka has been watching a movie.Melaka had been watching a movie.Melaka will have been watching a movie.

Depending on who you ask, the present tense and past tense used to be the only ones recognized as the main tenses. This is because they show the rudimentary forms of verbs without the need for helping or auxiliary verbs.

Here’s a table for the regular verb “talk.”

(Note: The participle forms need auxiliary verbs but have been included to illustrate a comprehensive guide to all basic verb forms.)

Chart for the Basic Forms of the Regular Verb “Talk”

Base Present ParticiplePastPast Participle

The following is a table for the irregular verb “eat.”

(Note: The participle forms need auxiliary verbs but have been included to illustrate a comprehensive guide to all basic verb forms.)

Chart for the Basic Forms of the Irregular Verb “Eat”

Base Present ParticiplePastPast Participle

More advanced studies into English verbs take into account their different moods, which are classified into 3 types:

  • Indicative mood – statements
  • Imperative mood – requests or commands
  • Subjunctive mood – possibilities

Some classify the moods further into 5, including the interrogative mood (questions) and the conditional mood (conditions both real and unreal)

The Importance of Tenses Charts in Studying English

It’s almost standard practice or English language learners to use tables, graphs, and charts in school or during self-directed study time to conquer English grammar. These tools are popular because they make indispensable references or guides to the complexities of the English language. Furthermore, they are extremely functional and often simplified and illustrated clearly. They’re designed specifically to show the essentials of the technical side of English. They can be utilized for easy comparisons and for reducing or eliminating confusion entirely.

Verbs are a hefty subject, with all past present future tense words having multiple conjugations. There are also irregular verbs to consider, which have different spelling and conjugation rules than regular verbs (as shown in the previous charts). 

In conversational English, only the simple tenses (simple present, simple past, and simple future) and the present continuous tense are common. However, the other 8 tenses can be utilized for more advanced language requirements such as academic and professional tasks. The proper usage of these tenses can help your confidence by sounding more trustworthy and knowledgeable. 

Still, because having 12 tenses means dealing with 12 different time periods, the rules can easily blur and confuse language learners. Sometimes, describing an action that occurs at a specific time can be expressed in more than one way.

Study the following sentences:

  • The population division releases traffic forecasts. (simple present)
  • The population division is releasing traffic forecasts. (present continuous)
  • The population division will release traffic forecasts. (simple future)
  • The population division will be releasing traffic forecasts. (future continuous)
  • The population division will have released traffic forecasts. (future perfect)

Each sentence’s denotation is distinctive to proficient non-native speakers, but these sentences are quite similar to most people. In conversations where the topic is familiar to those involved, all these sentences can be alternatives to describing the same thing. This explains why only 4 tenses are utilized in typical conversations. The simple tenses are more familiar and are often adequate enough to express the main idea. A present past future tense chart, many examples of which can be found in this article is comprehensive, formulaic, and easy to follow. They can help you distinguish and compare rules, and navigate the nuances of the English language. It’s important to take advantage of various learning tools to greatly enhance your fluency.

Past Present Future Words, Tenses, Formulas, and Examples

The table below is called a Verb Tenses Rules Chart. Many English language learners put their own together as a quick guide for self-studying and review. It contains the tenses and their basic rules and formulas. In addition, the conjugations of regular verbs and irregular verbs can be easily compared. Moreover, since learners have different language exposures, they can customize sentence examples that contain present past future tense words relevant to their daily language requirements, whether at work or at school. Each chart of present past and future tense is a great supplement to English books and instruction.

All Tense English.

Chart of Present Past Future Tense Examples and Formulas

TensesRules and FormulaExamples
Simple PresentSubject + Main verb (or its plural form) + The rest of the sentenceSamara eats dinner at 6 p.m.
Present ContinuousSubject + Am/is/are + Present participle + The rest of the sentenceThe lab scientists are analyzing Level 3 pathogens in their headquarters.
Present PerfectSubject + Have/has + Past participle + The rest of the sentenceLeyland has written 50 examples of past present and future tense sentences.
Present Perfect ContinuousSubject + Have/Has been + Present participle + The rest of the sentenceLuz and Mario have been traveling across the United States for 6 weeks.
Simple PastSubject + Verb + ed + The rest of the sentenceLeonard took advanced courses about surrealism in the 20th Century.
Past ContinuousSubject + Was/were + Present participle + The rest of the sentenceJapan was hosting the United Nations Summit.
Past PerfectSubject + Had + Past participle + The rest of the sentenceDianne had met Carl before the opening ceremony.
Past Perfect ContinuousSubject + Had been + Present participle + The rest of the sentenceThey had been perusing the Michael Jackson Chart History when the museum informed guests that they will close soon.
Simple FutureSubject + Will/shall + Main verb + The rest of the sentenceKyle will cover a United States history volume spanning a millennium.
Future ContinuousSubject + Will/shall be + Present participle + The rest of the sentenceJames will be preparing my itinerary when I visit the United Kingdom next summer.
Future PerfectSubject + Will/shall have + Past participle + The rest of the sentenceThe human population will have increased greatly after 10 years.
Future Perfect ContinuousSubject + Will/shall have been + Present participle + The rest of the sentenceClarita will have been reading history books for four hours by midnight.

The Present Tenses

The present tense has 4 aspects: simple present, present continuous, present perfect, and present perfect continuous.

1. Simple Present

For describing habits or routines, events that regularly take place, directions or instructions, general truths or facts, and feelings or emotions.

Formula for Simple Present Tense
Subject + Main verb (or its plural form) + The rest of the sentence

Simple Present Tense Examples:

  • Daxan drinks coffee twice a day.
  • The cabin feels gloomy in the weather.
  • Miranda flinches as she fries the cutlets.
  • Buy some ice cream at the store now, please.
  • Drive down this street and make a right at 21st.
  • She calls the present continuous the “future present tense” as a joke.

2. Present Continuous

For describing ongoing actions at the time of speaking, or for events at specific times in the future.

Formula for Present Continuous Tense
Subject + Am/is/are + Present participle + The rest of the sentence

Present Continuous Tense Examples:

  • My father is changing the tires.
  • am pulling the debris out of the walkway. 
  • Ashad is evaluating the new website content.
  • Her cousins are hiking at the national park tomorrow.
  • Tricia is giving instructions to the builders at the moment.
  • The members are reuniting at the event to honor their 10th anniversary.

3. Present Perfect

For actions that started sometime in the past and aren’t finished for the time being (the phrases “for + a length of time” or “since + a specific start time” are often used), past actions that finished recently (in which case words such as already, yet, or ever is used), and previous actions that have some influence in the present.

Formula for Present Perfect Tense
Subject + Have/has + Past participle + The rest of the sentence

Present Continuous Tense Examples:

  • Puca and I have been to France.
  • Shawna has tried the braised ribs.
  • I have dusted the bookshelves already.
  • Kelly has trained in calligraphy for 5 years.
  • Gina’s class has written essays on freedom.
  • Erwin and Reman have seen the documentary.

4. Present Perfect Continuous

For action that began at some time past and is still happening at the time of speaking. Time phrases with for and since are often used.

Formula for Present Perfect Continuous Tense
Subject + Have/Has been + Present participle + The rest of the sentence

Present Perfect Continuous Tense Examples:

  • Heni has been glazing the meat for an hour.
  • Dara’s charity has been helping women for years.
  • Beatrix and Rob have been discussing moving since last year.
  • Ren has been organizing the program for the Darts tournament.
  • Tim and his team have been shooting a student film for two weeks.
  • Shawn has been creating past and future present versions of the photograph.
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The Past Tenses

The past tense has 4 aspects: simple past, past continuous, past perfect, and past perfect continuous.

1. Simple Past

For actions that started and ended in the past.

Formula for Simple Past Tense
Subject + Verb + ed + The rest of the sentence

Simple Past Tense Examples:

  • Zandro strolled around Hoan Kiem lake.
  • We drove through the night without incident.
  • Christina bought roast chicken on her way home.
  • The local sparrows flew in droves across the horizon.
  • Flo used a present past future tense table pdf to review.
  • Carlo rubbed shining wax on the buckle until it gleamed in the sun.

2. Past Continuous

For actions that were in progress during a particular time in the past.

Formula for Past Continuous Tense
Subject + Was/were + Present participle + The rest of the sentence

Past Continuous Tense Examples:

  • My neighbors were renovating their outdoor kitchen.
  • Mori was skimming through the employee handbook.
  • The wind was blowing furiously at the beach yesterday.
  • Carlo and Antonio were sampling the cakes in the evening.
  • Danilo was mixing the festival rice cake in a massive cauldron.
  • The boys were denying their involvement in vandalizing the wall.

3. Past Perfect

For showing the occurrence and sequence of 2 past actions. The past perfect tense describes the action that ended first and the action that happened after is expressed using the simple past.

Formula for Past Perfect Tense
Subject + Had + Past participle + The rest of the sentence

Past Perfect Tense Examples:

  • Solo had gotten to the office before he heard his phone.
  • Saiko had settled in Busan already before she told her family.
  • The unusual pink-colored cloud had appeared when we arrived.
  • The restaurant had encountered financial troubles before it closed down.
  • They had matriculated in Bangkok together so they decided to meet again.
  • had passed the abandoned barn before I realized I saw something strange.

4. Past Perfect Continuous

For actions that began before a specific period in the past and were still ongoing up to that time.

Formula for Past Perfect Continuous Tense
Subject + Had been + Present participle + The rest of the sentence

Past Perfect Continuous Tense Examples:

  • Colson had been testing the new rounds when Pan came in.
  • Belinda had been splicing flowers when the rain fell in torrents.
  • Solange had been polishing the marble table when I entered the living room.
  • The After Dark club had been holding secret meetings before we became suspicious.
  • Glenn had been interviewing the fire survivors when another explosion happened in the background.
  • Niko had been instructing the class using past present future tense examples when Jackie pointed out the mistake.

The Future Tenses

The future tense has 4 aspects: simple future, future continuous, future perfect, and future perfect continuous.

1. Simple Future

For actions or states that haven’t taken place yet, or that will start and finish at some point in the future.

Formula for Simple Future Tense
Subject + Will/shall + Main verb + The rest of the sentence

Simple Future Tense Examples:

  • I will cram for the test.
  • Felice will pack her luggage soon.
  • Devon will descend the stairs in that costume.
  • Vaughn’s grandmother will bake her famous pecan pie.
  • Jaro’s local government will distribute care packages on Monday.
  • Kara will use the table of past present and future tense for her homework.

2. Future Continuous

For actions that will continue for a period of time at a future time.

Formula for Future Continuous Tense
Subject + Will/shall be + Present participle + The rest of the sentence

Future Continuous Tense Examples:

  • Griffin will be chopping wood in the courtyard.
  • He will be placing orders for masks from the store.
  • Meridith’s gallery will be auctioning post-colonial coins.
  • The hosts will be igniting a grand bonfire for tomorrow’s activities.
  • Betsy will be installing the doorbell camera system in the afternoon.
  • The campaign will be culminating at the inauguration of the new auditorium.

3. Future Perfect

For actions that will be completed before a specific time in the future. 

Formula for Future Perfect Tense
Subject + Will/shall have + Past participle + The rest of the sentence

Future Perfect Tense Examples:

  • Ceedee will have ended the meeting by 8 p.m.
  • They will have been together for 4 years in September.
  • We will have secured the roof before the typhoon hits.
  • Maria will have returned home before the game begins.
  • On Monday, he will have served in his position for 3 months.
  • She will have journeyed to the burial grounds this time next year.

4. Future Perfect Continuous

For actions that will progress until a particular future time. 

Formula for Future Perfect Continuous Tense
Subject + Will/shall have been + Present participle + The rest of the sentence

Future Perfect Continuous Tense Examples:

  • By 2 p.m., I will have been prepping for 3 hours.
  • I will have been staying in the city for 2 years in November.
  • Mary Lois will have been looking for a job for 3 months next week.
  • In the winter, Ruthie will have been curating at the museum for a decade.
  • Tirso Jr. will have been painting for hours when Dale arrives in the afternoon.
  • Matteo will have been operating the shop for 6 years by the end of this month.

Verb Tenses in Different Sentence Structures

The usage of English 100 words past present future tense verbs in the previous segments have been in the affirmative sentence structure. To show and compare verb forms further, each of the following charts will contain distinct examples. Each table or chart will help you in creating your own. It’s good practice to have a customized reference tool to complement your learning methods. Study the sample sentences to glean rules and patterns of 3 structures of sentences. Namely, the negative, interrogative, and interrogative with question words. You will acquire a solid understanding and gain useful tips for making English grammar chart variations.

1. Present Tenses

Present Tense Sentence Structure Chart

TenseNegativeInterrogativeInterrogative with Question Word
Simple PresentHeidi doesn’t eat spicy foods.Does Heidi eat spicy foods?Why does Heidi eat spicy foods?
Present ContinuousMae Ann is not singing at the event.Is Mae Ann singing at the event?Where is Mae Ann singing at the event?
Present PerfectJoel has not practiced present past and future tenseHas Joel practiced present past and future tense?How has Joel practiced present past and future tense? 
Present Perfect ContinuousGracia has not been arranging the store window.Has Gracia been arranging the store window?Why has Gracia been arranging the store window?

2. Past Tenses

Past Tense Sentence Structure Chart

TenseNegativeInterrogativeInterrogative with Question Word
Simple PastJulie did not draw the artwork.Did Julie draw the artwork?What time did Julie draw the artwork?
Past ContinuousBleisha was not having a good time in Rome.Was Bleisha having a good time in Rome?Where was Bleisha having a good time in Rome?
Past PerfectDrake had not reviewed the present future tense.Had Drake reviewed the present future tense?When had Drake reviewed the present future tense?
Past Perfect ContinuousThey had not been getting a good night’s sleep.Had they been getting a good night’s sleep?How had Raya been getting a good night’s sleep?

3. Future Tenses

Future Tense Sentence Structure Chart

TenseNegativeInterrogativeInterrogative with Question Word
Simple FutureMarjorie will not give an example of present past and future tense.Will Marjorie give an example of present past and future tense?Why will Marjorie give an example of present past and future tense?
Future ContinuousWe will not be charging you for days without electricity.Will we be charging for the days without electricity?How much will we be charging for the days without electricity?
Future PerfectTani will not have enjoyed the trip without Sam.Will Tani have enjoyed the trip without Sam?How will Tani have enjoyed the trip without Sam?
Future Perfect ContinuousGreg will not have been fighting to stay awake for 6 hours.Will Greg have been fighting to stay awake for 6 hours?Why will Greg have been fighting to stay awake for 6 hours?
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A present past and future tense chart or table that’s complete with rules, formulas, and examples is a valuable tool to utilize for anyone studying the English language. In fact, a huge number of English learners make their own past present, and future tense charts. By following this method, you get to spend more time immersed in the subject and subsequently retain more information. Ensure that your customized table has past present tense examples and that the sentences are ones you’ve made yourself. You can ask your tutor and teacher to check it for errors as well. A self-modified present past future tense table also presents the advantage of using vocabulary that you encounter daily so that the content of your references is tailored to what you need. Remember that each learner is exposed to English differently. The words a typical student would use will not be the same as an office employee. Similarly, a person working at a doctor’s office will have different language requirements and exposure from someone working in a software firm. Crafting charts about the present tense past tense future tense is just a start. There are plenty of other grammar topics you can make charts about. In language learning, you should hone and focus your efforts in the right way. Utilizing a present past and future tense chart is only one step, and there are many other exciting and astonishing steps on the path to mastery.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Verb Tense?

Tense is an element of the English language’s grammatical framework. It expresses the present past and future and actions, events, states, and conditions that occur in any time period, specific or otherwise. It designates sequence and temporal relevance. There are a total of 12 tenses, which are conjugated in various ways to describe specific functions in time.

Can the perfect and perfect continuous tenses exist without the word since and for?

Absolutely. The rules of present past future tense are specified in grammar studies in order to differentiate and comprehend each of their unique functions. But most of the time, people engaged in conversations know what their topic is. Even if there aren’t any adverb modifiers or phrases with explicit or exact time expressions in their sentences, they will still follow the flow of their discussion. Oftentimes, between people talking, time can be implied. To illustrate, the sentence “I have been living at Donato Avenue.” doesn’t have an exact time expression, but is correct nonetheless. Moreover, you can still infer that I started living at Donato Avenue at some point in the past and I still am. In any case, if you want to know more, you can always ask “For how long?” This may be different in writing tasks, but even then, if the events are well established, you don’t need to write time expressions in every sentence describing an event. 

What is meant by V1 V2 V3?

These are used as markers to present language rules as formulas. However, they aren’t standardized, utilized, or recognized universally. Some countries adopt a practical methodology for learning English and don’t treat it as you would mathematics. The benefits and drawbacks of these different methods are a topic for another day. V1 signifies the main or base form of a verb, V2 means the simple past form, and V3 is the past participle.

What are present participles?

Present participles are verbs ending in -ing and are used in continuous or progressive tenses. Present particles are also used with auxiliary verbs derived from different forms of “be” such as be, am, is, are, was, were, and been.

When should you use “has been” and “was”?

“Has been” and “was” are auxiliary or helping verbs. “Has been” is the perfect tense form of the helping verb “have.” Meanwhile, “was” is the past tense form of the helping verb “is”. In perfect tenses, you use “has been” with singular subjects. And you use “was” for singular subjects in the past continuous tense.

How should I learn tenses perfectly?

Using a past present future tense table is a good place to start. There is no perfect way. Try your best to learn the proper usage of every aspect of the past present and future tense, all their conjugations, how they intersect and can be used as options to express the same or similar ideas, and apply what you’ve learned in conversations or real-world language tasks. Each language learner is unique and a method that works for one may not work for another. So don’t look for the “perfect” way and be kind to yourself. Mistakes are part of learning and every stumble can help teach you something and improve your fluency. 

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William Landry

William Landry

William is a professional English and ESL teacher with over 15 years of experience. He has taught students of all ages, from children to business executives, and has worked with ESL learners from all over the globe. With a degree in English Education, William has developed curriculum for learners of all levels and interests. He is passionate about helping people learn English effectively and shares his knowledge with the LillyPad community. When he’s not teaching or writing, William enjoys spending time with his wife and two young children.

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