How to Spark It

Fri, 07 Jan

Tenses Chart for Kids: Making English Learning Easier

What is tense?

Tenses in English grammar are a verb-based concept used to indicate the time of an action. It refers to time by showing when an action happened - whether it occurred in the past, present, or future.

Types of tenses

There are three main types of tenses in English and each major category is further divided into four subcategories. Here is everything you need to know:

  1. Present Tense
    The present tense is used to describe actions in the present or actions that are habitually performed. They are divided into four subcategories which are:
    • Simple Present Tense
      The simple present tense uses a verb to tell about habits, general facts, and unchanging situations.

      Example:
      • She drinks. (habit)
      • She lives in Australia. (unchanging situation)
      • The red kangaroo is Australia’s national animal. (general fact)
         
    • Present Continuous Tense
      The present continuous tense talks about an action that is happening exactly now and an action that is not happening at the moment but will happen around now
       

      Example:

      • I am eating my dinner. (happening now)
      • Sia is looking for a house. (happening around now)
         
    • Present Perfect Tense
      Present perfect tense talks about experiences from the past, a change and a continuing situation.

      Example:

      • She has lived in the UK. (experience)
      • I have bought a new television. (change)
      • She has worked here for five years. (continuing situation)
         
    • Present Perfect Continuous Tense
      Use present perfect continuous tense to talk about past actions that recently stopped and even past actions still continuing.
       

      Example:

      • The grass is wet. Has it been raining? (past action that stopped)
      • I have been working since 8 am. (past action continuing)
  2. Past Tense
    Past tense is used to describe an action that has happened or something that existed previously. Their four subcategories are:

    • Simple Past Tense
      Simple past tense is used to describe a situation in the past. The situation can be either short or long.
       

      Example:

      • She went for lunch. (short)
      • She lived in New Zealand for five years. (long)
         
    • Past Continuous Tense
      When someone wants to describe a particular action in the past, they use past continuous tense.
       

      Example:

      • On this date last year, I was travelling to the UK.

    • Past Perfect Tense
      A past perfect tense is used to describe an action that has happened and completed before some point in the past.
       

      Example:

      • The plane had left before we arrived.

    • Past Perfect Continuous Tense
      The past perfect continuous tense is a verb tense that expresses actions that happened in the past and continued up until another time in the past.
       

      Example:

      • He had been waiting for her for the past two hours.

  3. Future Tense
    A future tense is a verb form that describes actions that have not yet happened but are expected to happen. Their subcategories are:

    • Simple Future Tense
      The future simple tense is used when there is no plan before speaking and also when predicting the future.
       

      Example:

      • We will decide what to do later. (no plan before speaking)
      • It will rain tomorrow. (making a prediction)
         
    • Future Continuous Tense
      The future continuous tense is used to express action at a particular moment in the future.
       

      Example:

      • I will be working at 8 am tomorrow.
         
    • Future Perfect Tense
      The future past tense is used to express actions that will be completed before some other point in the future.
       
      • Example:
        You can take this book back tomorrow. I will have finished reading it by then.
         
    • Future Perfect Continuous Tense
      The future perfect continuous tense is a verb tense that indicates an action will occur in the future and will continue for a long time.
       
      • Example:
        I will be meeting with my manager tomorrow at 5 p.m.

English tenses chart with examples

Now that you are aware of the types of tenses to teach your child, you also need to teach them the correct rules to apply in order to use these. We have prepared an English grammar tense chart to easily help your child understand grammar tenses.

    Present Past Future
Simple Tense + She plays football
Sub + V1 +Obj
She played football
Sub + V2 +Obj
She will play football
Sub + will+V1 +Obj
  - She does not play football
Sub + Does /Do + not + V1 +Obj
She did not play football
Sub + Did + not + V1 +Obj
She will not play football
Sub + will + not+V1 + Obj
  ? Does she play football?
Does / Do +Sub + V1 +Obj
Did she play football?
Did + Sub + V1 + Obj
Will she play football?
Will +Sub + V1 + Obj
Continuous Tense + She is playing football
Sub + is, am , are + V1 + ing + Obj
She was playing football
Sub + was, were + V1 + ing + Obj
She will be playing football
Sub + will be + V1 + ing + Obj
  - She is not playing football Sub + is, am , are + V1 + not + ing + Obj She was not playing football Sub + was, were + V1 + not + ing + Obj She will not be playing football Sub + will +not+be + V1 + ing + Obj
  ? Is she playing football? Is, Am , Are + Sub + V1 + ing + Obj Was she playing football? Was, Were + Sub + V1 + ing + Obj Will she be playing football? Will + Sub + be +V1 + ing + Obj
Perfect Tense + She has played football Sub + Has/ Have + V3 + Obj She had played football Sub + Had+ V3 + Obj She will have played football Sub+ will+ Have + Sub +V3 + Obj
  - She has not played football Sub + Has/ Have + not + V3 + Obj She had not played football Sub + Had + not + V3 + Obj She will not have played football Sub + will + not +have + V3 + Obj
  ? Has she played football? Has/ Have + Sub +V3 + Obj Had she played football? Had + Sub + V3 + Obj Will she have played football? Will + Sub + have + V3 + Obj
Perfect Continuous Tense + She has been playing football Sub + have /has + been + V1 + ing + Obj She had been playing football Sub + had + been + V1 + ing + Obj She will have been playing football Sub +will + have + been + V1 + ing + Obj
  - She has not been playing football Sub + have /has + not + been + V1 + ing + Obj She had not been playing football Sub + had + not + been + V1 + ing + Obj She will not have been playing football Sub + will + not + have + been + V1 + ing + Obj
  ? Has she been playing football? Have /Has + Sub + been + V1 + ing + Obj Had she been playing football? Had + Sub + been + V1 + ing + Obj Will she have been playing football? Will + Sub + have +been + V1 + ing + Obj

Learning English tenses with tenses table

Looking at such a detailed chart can intimidate your child at first, but continuous practice and immense patience are the keys to their success.

Print out this chart and stick it on the walls of your child’s bedroom or even on their study table. The more this tenses chart is visible in front of your child, the better he memorizes it and further improves his English language skills.