Simple Tenses

simple tenses

What Are Simple Tenses?

A tense is the form of a verb that is used to show when the verb happened. In English there are 3 main tenses:-

  • simple past
  • simple present
  • simple future

In this article we will look at the simple forms, past, present and future.

 

Simple present tense

The simple present tense (or present simple) is the easiest to understand. It is for things that happen in the present. (but aren’t currently happening). It is used to express things such as habits and things done on a regular basis.

I work in a factory.

I like chocolate.

We see each other every day.

When we use a third person singular (he, she, it etc) the ending to the verb changes and we add an ‘s‘:-

He works in a factory.

She likes chocolate.

Tom sees them every day.

 

Simple Future Tense

The simple future tense (or future simple) is used to describe events that will happen in the future. The verb has the same form as the simple present tense but we have to add the word ‘will’ before it:-

I will go to work later.

She will eat chocolate.

They will travel to America.

In the simple future tense, we don’t add an ‘s’ after third person singulars.
 
 

Simple Past Tense

The simple past tense (or past simple) is used to describe things that have already happened in the past. For a lot of verbs (called regular verbs) the way to make the form is by adding ‘ed’ to the end.

The pronunciation for this ‘ed’ ending changes depending on the word. For more information, read this article on ‘ed’ endings.
 

I worked yesterday.

They called a taxi.

He kicked the ball.

 

The simple past form of irregular verbs is a little more difficult. Some stay the same:

 

I cut wood on Thursdays. I cut the wood yesterday.

 

Some of these irregular verbs are spelled differently altogether:

 

I see them sometimes. I saw them yesterday.

 

Here is a list of some of the most common irregular verbs in English:


Simple present tenseSimple past tense
is  
are
become
begin
break
bring
build
buy
choose
come
do
draw
drink
drive
eat
fall
feed
feel
fight
find
fly
forget
get
go
have
hear
know
lose
make
pay
run
say
see
sell
sleep
speak
swim
take
teach
tell
think
understand
write
→  









































was  
were
became
began
broke
brought
built
bought
chose
came
did
drew
drank
drove
ate
fell
fed
felt
fought
found
flew
forgot
got
went
had
heard
knew
lost
made
paid
ran
said
saw
sold
slept
spoke
swam
took
taught
told
thought
understood
wrote



Simple Tense Practice Exercise

Fill in the blanks using the correct form of the (verb):-

  1. He ___ off his bike. (fall)
  2. She ___ to the post office next week. (go)
  3. They ___ to go to the cinema but it was closed. (want)
  4. He ___ the class tomorrow. (teach)
  5. Jim ___ football on Tuesdays. (play)
  6. I ___ that tv show… until it got bad. (like)
  7. I ___ them arguing, it didn’t sound nice. (hear)
  8. We ___ a lot tomorrow, it’s my birthday! (drink)
  9. It’s true, she ___ me herself. (tell)
  10. She ___ to work by bus everyday. (travel)