What Are the 12 Verb Tenses in the English Language?

The 12 verb tenses of the English language include present, past, future, present perfect, past perfect, future perfect, present progressive, past progressive, future progressive, present perfect progressive, past perfect progressive and future perfect progressive. Only three of these 12 are commonly recognized, though.

Each tense can be simply explained as follows.

  • Present tense is when an action is currently happening.
  • Past tense is an action that is no longer being done.
  • Future tense is an action that is yet to be done.
  • Present perfect must use “have” or “has” combined with the past participle of the verb.
  • Past perfect must combine “had” with the past participle.
  • Future perfect consists of “will” or “shall” plus “have” and the past participle.
  • Present progressive takes a form of the verb “be” with the “ing” ending.
  • Past progressive is the past tense of a “be” verb with the “ing” ending.
  • Future progressive takes “will” or “shall” with a “be” verb and the “ing” ending.
  • Present perfect progressive is “have” or “has” added to “been” and an “ing” verb.
  • Past perfect progressive takes “had” plus “been” and an “ing” verb.
  • Future perfect progressive combines “will” or “shall” with “have” or “been” and an “ing” verb.