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Humanities Libertexts

7.2: Verb Tenses: Active Voice

SIMPLE TENSES

SIMPLE PRESENT

$$\text{General facts, states of being, scheduled events in the future, and repeated actions}\; = \text{base form or –s form}$$

Example \(\PageIndex{1}\):

  • Teachers often grade late into the night.
  • Water becomes ice at 32 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Celebrities donate to hundreds of charities every year.
  • The plane departs tonight at 9:00 p.m.

SIMPLE PAST

$$\text{Completed actions from the past that occurred at a specific time or facts/states of being that occurred in the past} = \text{base form} + \text{-ed/-d/irregular form}$$

Example \(\PageIndex{2}\):

  • Their neighbors worked together to rebuild the house.
  • He drove across country to prove a point.
  • When she was young, my sister played with me all the time.

SIMPLE FUTURE

$$\text{Future actions, predictions, or promises} = \text{will} + \text{base form}$$

Example \(\PageIndex{3}\):

  • will eat in a few minutes.
  • The rain will stop any second now.

SIMPLE PROGRESSIVE FORMS

PRESENT PROGRESSIVE

$$\text{Actions that are happening right now, but not happening forever or future actions} = \text{am, is, are} + \text{present participle}$$

Example \(\PageIndex{4}\):

  • The teachers are meeting in the boardroom. Josie is meeting the principal.
  • We are baking cookies tomorrow.

PAST PROGRESSIVE

$$\text{Actions that happened at a specific time in the past or past plans that didn’t happen} = \text{was, were/was going to, were going to} + \text{present participle}$$

Example \(\PageIndex{5}\):

  • They were sailing when the hurricane hit.
  • was going to fly out tonight, but couldn’t get a ticket.

PERFECT TENSES

PRESENT PERFECT

$$\text{Repetitive or constant actions that began in the past but are still happening or actions that happened at an unspecified time in the past} = \text{has, have} + \text{past participle}$$

Example \(\PageIndex{6}\):

  • have loved dogs since I was a child.
  • Alex has lived in the UK for over a year.
  • Stephanie has bought three cars in three years.

PAST PERFECT

$$\text{Actions that occurred/began before something else in the past} = \text{had} + \text{past participle}$$

Example \(\PageIndex{7}\):

He had just choked when the ambulance drove by.

PERFECT PROGRESSIVE FORMS

PRESENT PERFECT PROGRESSIVE

$$\text{Continuous actions that began in the past but are still occurring} = \text{has, have} + \text{been} + \text{past participle}$$

Example \(\PageIndex{8}\):

Ygritte has been trying to learn knitting for years.

PAST PERFECT PROGRESSIVE

$$\text{Actions that began and continued in the past until some other action in the past occurred} = \text{had} + \text{been} + \text{present participle}$$

Example \(\PageIndex{9}\):

By the time I moved to Klamath Falls, I had been writing for ten years.

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