The 5 Best Verb Tenses
by Lewis Kidd
There are 9 main tenses in English, being a combination of the
past, present, and future tenses, and the aspects of simple, perfect, and
progressive. Add in the 3 perfect progressive tenses and it makes 12.
Here is a list of the 5 best tenses and what makes them useful,
advantageous, and fun. Try them on your teacher, and see what happens!
1. Simple Past
This is by far the most useful tense. The thing people
talk about most is the past, and of all the possible past tenses, the
simple is the most effective way of expressing it. For example, "I
watched my cat cough up a pen cap."
2. Present Progressive
This tense is the most popular for talking about
the present. Instead of saying things you do, or really basic actions,
you use it to talk about what you are in the process of doing, which is
the essence of the present tense. For example, "I am eating a muffin
right now, can I call you back?" Strange as it may seem, you can use
this tense to talk about the past, as in, "So I'm licking the window,
right, and all of a sudden the glass is breaking and my tongue is
bleeding all over the place!" *Note: an added bonus is that you can use
this one to talk about the future, too, as in "I am going to the market
3. Past Progressive
Good for telling stories. For instance, how many
times have you heard someone say, "So I was walking down the street"
Although, most stories can be livened up by using #2, the present
4. Simple Future
This one is almost as good as the simple past, because
people like to talk about things they are going to do, most of which will
never be fulfilled. For example, "I will tape every episode of The Brian
Benben Show, including re-runs."
5. Present Perfect
This is a tense that acts like both a past and
present tense. It involves a completed action, but you're talking about
it in the present. This one is good for talking about your past
accomplishments. For example, "I have sailed the seven seas. I have
thrown down unspeakable demons. I have invented the nine-passenger
This is a slang tense, a mishmash of different tenses, or
even tenses that don't exist. For example, "We is going to the
waterfront to picks us up some women." This isn't really a tense, per
se, being more of a subject-verb agreement conflict, but it deserves a