The Twelve Verb Tenses in English

the twelve verb tenses in English

What are the twelve verb tenses in English?

To help you think about the twelve verb tenses in English, start by thinking about how they are categorized. They are broken up into four main groups. These are the simple, continuous (or progressive), perfect, and perfect continuous (or perfect progressive). There are past, present and future forms each of four types.

Read over the infographic, and see if you can make affirmative, negative and interrogative sentences with each of the tenses. Click on the buttons to see examples to get help or check if you are using the correct grammatical structures.

Are there more verb tenses?

There are different ways to categorize the verbs tenses, and most traditional grammar books stick to the main twelve. However, there are four more structures that fit the criteria to be separate tenses all on their own.

The Past Future Tense or the Conditional Simple
Subject + would + verb
Example: We would help him if we had time.

The Past Future Continuous Tense or the Conditional Continuous
Subject + should be / would be + verb(+ing)
Example: Daniela would be working today if she weren’t sick.

The Past Future Perfect Tense or the Conditional Perfect
Subject + should have / would have + past participle
Example: Ben would have invited you if he had known you were in town.

The Past Future Perfect Continuous Tense or the Conditional Perfect Continuous
Subject + would have been + verb(+ing)
Example: The passengers would have been relaxing if the flight hadn’t been so turbulent.