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How many types of tenses are there?

Rohit Nelluri
English Learner

Hey Michael!

When was at school, i just learned Past / Present / Future. Now, there are a lot of tenses out there like (Simple tenses / perfect tenses / continuous etc...)  , how many of them?  What are they? and where we use them?
Normally, which we use mostly by native speakers?

Thank you.


Topic starter Posted : 28/11/2020 6:19 pm
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Michael Lavers
Member Admin

Hi Rohit! That's a good (and big!) question.

I'll list the tenses below. It depends on how you define a tense. In a sense, "future" perfect isn't really a tense. It's just present simple with "will". But according to my list below, there are 11.

  • Present simple & continuous
  • Past simple & continuous
  • Future with "will" / "going to"
  • Present perfect & continuous
  • Past perfect & continuous
  • Future perfect & continuous

They're all used by native speakers. Future perfect is the least common, so you don't need to worry too much about it until you get to an advanced level. You will be able to perfectly explain yourself and communicate without future perfect 99.9% of the time.

Past perfect is quite useful. We use it when talking about something that happened before the Past Simple. Sometimes we don't need to use it (using "had had" can sound a bit weird), but in some cases, you will cause people to misunderstand you if you use past simple instead of past perfect.

All the others are very useful and we use them in every conversation.

To go through the specific uses of each tense would take too long here, but I've made a few podcast episodes about them. I have one on Future, Present perfect, and Past perfect, and I'll probably make a Future perfect episode in December.

I hope this helps a tiny bit! Feel free to practice the tenses here too

Posted : 29/11/2020 9:49 pm
Rohit Nelluri
English Learner

@levelupenglish Very Helpful information, Thank you.

Topic starter Posted : 30/11/2020 2:17 pm
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