Present, Past and Future Tense
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Present, Past and Future Tense

Most people tend to misuse the present, past, and future tenses of the verbs. This article discusses the properties and proper ways of using the present form, past form and future tense of verbs. It also includes guided activities that will enhance the use of the verb's tense.

Present Tense

Verbs show more than action in a sentence. They also tell when the action happened.

The ranger sees the campers.

The verb sees tells that the ranger is seeing the campers now. A verb that tells what its subject is doing right is the present tense. Notice that s has been added to see. You change the form of verb to show the present tense when a singular noun is the subject. You do not change the form of the verbs when they are used with plural subject or with I or you.

The campers wave. I wave. You wave.

Rules for Forming the Present Tense

1. Most verbs:

Add s



2. Verbs ending in  s, ch, sh, x and z: 

Add es



3. Verbs ending with a consonant y:

change the y to i and add es



Guided Practice

Write the correct present tense form of each verb in the parenthesis.

  1. The sun __________ brightly in the blue sky. (shine)
  2. Only one cloud ________ overhead. (pass)
  3. Roger _________ to the weather report. (listen)
  4. Mother ___________ a picnic lunch. (pack)
  5. We __________ to the center of the lake (row)

Past Tense

You have learned that verbs in the present tense show what is happening. A verb that shows what has already happened is in the past tense.

Gino liked his grandmother's story.

The verb liked is in the past tense. It tells that the action in the sentence happened before now.

There are several ways to form the past tense. You must look at the ending of the verb to see how to form its past tense.

Rules for Forming the Past Tense

1. Most Verbs:

Add -ed



2. Verbs ending with e

Add -d



3. Verbs ending with a consonant and y:

Change y to i and add ed



4. Verbs with a single vowel and a consonant

Double the final consonant and add -ed



Guided Practice

What is the past tense of each verb?

Example: dress Answer: dressed

  1. watch
  2. cry
  3. scrub
  4. store
  5. spray
  6. review
  7. care
  8. zip
  9. marry
  10. yell

Future Tense

You know that verbs can tell what is happening now and what has happened in the past. A verb that tells what is going to happen is in the future tense.

Derek will bring his new book about birds.

Derek and Gretchen will look for some nests.

To form the future tense of a verb, use the helping verbs will or shall with the main verb.

Shall we invite Melissa?

She will probably come with us.

Guided Practice

What is the future tense form of each underlined verb?

Example: Birds make homes all over the world. Answer: will make

  1. Parrots live in hot, steamy jungles.
  2. Penguins like very cold climate.
  3. Shore birds stay near the water.
  4. Many shore birds build nests in the Everglades.
  5. Bird watchers study how the birds live.

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Comments (5)

good primer

Thanks carol.

I pride myself in using correct English most of the time. Even I needed to read this so I know it is so valuable to others.Voted up.

Complicated language it may seem. I observe myself especially when I talk or speak, as a defence because English is not my native tongue.

good reminders!