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Simple tenses of verbs

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The main function of a verb is to indicate when the action happens. There are three main verb tenses; past, present and future. Each tense is divided into; simple, continuous, perfect and perfect continuous.

In this lesson we are looking at the simple tenses in the past, present and future.

The present tense of a verb is the 'original' form. The past tense can have different patterns. The future simple is formed with 'will'.

Here are some verbs used in the past, present and future tenses:


I had a shower. (Past simple)
I have a shower every day. (Present simple)
I will have a shower later. (Future simple)


I saw Chris yesterday. (Past simple)
I see Chris at work. (Present simple)
I will see Chris at the party this evening. (Future simple)


I ran five kilometres yesterday. (Past simple)
I run very fast. (Present simple)
I will run tomorrow morning. (Future simple)

It is important to remember that in the Present simple with ‘he’, ‘she’, and ‘it’ add an ‘s’ to the verb.


He liked the film. (Past simple)
He likes swimming (Present simple)
He will like the party. (Future simple)


She ate her lunch outside. (Past simple)
She eats lunch at the restaurant near her office. (Present simple)
She will eat with me. (Future simple)


I knew her when I was a child. (Past simple)
I know your Father. (Present simple)
I will know what to do later. (Future simple)


I cooked dinner. (Past simple)
I cook dinner. (Present simple)
I will cook dinner tomorrow. (Future simple)

It is important to use the correct word or phrase which shows the time of the action because sometimes the tense is not enough to explain the time an action happens. We look at this in other lessons.
So a Past simple tense has words or phrases to show it is a past action like 'yesterday', 'last week/month/year', 'a month ago' etc. and the same is true for the Present simple and the Future simple.

Now complete the following with the correct tense.

  • 1. I _ the film I saw yesterday.

  • 2. He _ his family next weekend.

  • 3. They _ the marathon last week.

  • 4. She _ a tasty Italian meal for last weeks dinner party.

  • 5. I _ three dogs and two parrots as pets when I was young.

  • 6. I _ the family who live next door.