tenses

Grammar Lesson: Three types of tenses and how to use them

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on whatsapp

Today I want to write about three types of tenses that many (even advanced students) struggle with.

Take a look at the following sentences and pay attention to the tenses:

  1. Simple present tense: As I write this, it is 10:30 am.
  2. Present continuous tense: It is raining here in Kuala Terengganu.
  3. Present perfect continuous tense: It has been raining since this morning.

Note that I’ve given you a specific time (10:30 am) which is the morning. The time I have specified is very important. To do that, I have used the simple present tense in the first sentence: “It is 10:30 am.”

In the second sentence, I talk about the state of the rain that is being experienced right now at 10:30 am, For that, I have used the is +”ing” verb: “It is raining”. The “ing” verb indicates that it is still ongoing (the rain has not stopped). To describe something that is still happening, you need to use the present continuous tense.

Next, I want to talk about the state of rain that began in the past and is happening for a period of time which includes now. For that, I need to use “has + been + v-ing”. “It has been raining since this morning.” This is called the present perfect continuous tense. I need to use “since” to describe when it started, which was this morning. As I write this, remember that it is still morning so I can use “since”.

Do you see how tenses play a role in describing an experience in relation to the time I am experiencing it?

Let’s look at some common mistakes people make in the tenses:

 As I write this, it 10:30 am. It rain here. It raining since morning.
As I write this, it was 10:30 am. It raining. It was raining since this morning.

Do you see any mistakes? Notice the errors and compare it to the correct examples.

We’ll talk to you in our next blog post!

Do you want to speak English with confidence?

Sign up to join our free video training, Speaking with Confidence. We’ll send you seven tips to your email address!

Here’s Tip 1 for a sneak peek of what’s in store for you.

Hi there!

We’re Azimah, Amnah and Aisya from Malaysia. We created My English Matters as a digital platform to help Malaysians and second language learners with their English proficiency.

You may have seen us on: