The word “Tense” has been derived from the Latin word “tempus” which means “the time”. Thus tense denotes the time of an action. It shows:
- The time of the action.
- The continuance of the action.
- The completeness or incompleteness of the action.
There are three main tenses, these are:
Present: I sing. You sing. He sings.
Past: I sang. You sang. He sang.
Future: I shall sing, You will sing. He will sing.
Note: The time of the action (tense) may also be; future in the past; I should sing. You would sing. He would sing.
The future in the past shows that the action was about to take place at some point of time; I know that he would sing.
Each tense is further sub-grouped into four main parts. They are outlined as follows:
Present simple: Rahim studies.
Present continuous: Rahim is studying.
Present perfect: Rahim has studied.
Present perfect continuous: Rahim has been studying since morning.
Past simple: Rahim studied.
Past continuous: Rahim was studying.
Past perfect: Rahim has studied.
Past perfect continuous: Rahim has been studying since morning.
Future simple: Rahim will study.
Future continuous: Rahim will be studying.
Future perfect: Rahim will have studied.
Future perfect continuous: Rahim will have been studying.
Thus, it is clear from the aforesaid citation that:
The time of action may be present (I sing), past (I sang), future (I shall sing) or future in the past (I should sing).
An action still going on in either present, past, future or future in the past. Time is indicated by a continuous tense form (I am singing, I was singing, I shall be singing, I should be singing).
An action that is completed at the time referred to is said to be perfect (I have sung, I had sung, I shall have a sing, I should have sung). The form “I have sung” is present perfect tense. Since it shows an action that is completed of the present moment.
The simple future tense shows that an action is about to take place at some time after the present; I know he will sing.
The future in the past shows that the action was about to take place at some point of time in the past; I know he would sing.
Read Also: Present Simple