The English tenses summary to make English easier

The English tenses summary you are going to find in this post is mean for English learners that want to understand how to use, and clearly differentiate, the different English tenses.

If you have difficulties to feel the meaning of every tense, then this post is for you!

That being said, this English tenses summary is not an extensive one.
I just want to emphasize on the most common tenses. The ones that you are going to use most often in every day conversations.
The English tenses summary to make English easier

English Tenses Summary


Let’s take a look at the English tenses summary…



I play tennis every weekend. Present Simple
You use it to talk about things that you usually do like for example habits.
am currently playing tennis and I can’t answer the phone. Present continuous
You use it to talk about things that you are currently doing right now while talking.
I played tennis in school when I was a child. Simple past
You use it to talk about things that happened in the past and are now finished.
I was playing tennis when it started to rain. Past continuous
You use it to talk about things you were currently doing in the past (playing tennis) while something else happened (started to rain).
I have played tennis too much and now I feel exhausted. Present perfect
You use it to talk about things that happened in the recent past and are connected to the present.
You want to emphasize the result of the action or that the action is completed.
I have been playing tennis all day long. Present Perfect Continuous
You use it to talk about things that happened in the recent past and are still happening now.
You want to emphasize the duration of the action.
will play tennis if I find a partner. Future Simple
You use it to talk about things that you think will occur in the future.


Some More Examples…

I’m going to share with you 3 others examples of an English tenses summary to help you.

First Example…



She never cries. Present Simple
She is crying because you shouted at her. Present continuous
She cried when her boyfriend left her. Simple past
She was crying when I saw her. Past continuous
She has cried a lot but she now feels better. Present perfect
She has been crying since she lost her dog. Present Perfect Continuous
She will cry if she doesn’t find a job. Future Simple

 Second Example…



It rains everyday in my city. Present Simple
It is raining now,  we can’t go out. Present continuous
It rained all day on my last birthday. Simple past
It was raining when you asked me to go out. Past continuous
It has rained a lot this summer. Present perfect
It has been raining all morning. Present Perfect Continuous
It will rain next weekend if the weather doesn’t change. Future Simple

 Third Example…



They build houses because they are architects. Present Simple
They are currently building a house next to mine. Present continuous
They built their own house 10 years ago. Simple past
They were building their own house when I met them for the first time. Past continuous
They have built houses all over the country. Present perfect
They have been building houses for more than 10 years now. Present Perfect Continuous
They will build a house for my parents next year. Future Simple


How To Master The English Tenses…

As an exercise to help you master these tenses I recommend you to do this:

  1. Choose a subject (For example I, my girlfriend, he, your father, his dog, Paul…).
  2. Choose a verb.
  3. Write down or say aloud a sentence for everyone of the 7 tenses I talk about in this English tenses summary.

Do this exercise in a very regular basis until you feel comfortable using the different tenses both when speaking and writing.

Try also to analyze how other people use tenses while you listen or read. It’s going to help you a lot!

Special note:
Just be aware that among other rules, it’s not correct to use some verbs in the continuous tenses.

  • “I like cookies” is correct.
  • I’m liking cookies” is incorrect.

This happens with verbs about a mental state like for example “Love”, “Like”, ”Hate”… They are not usually used in continuous tenses.
In opposition, “action verbs” like for example “Run”, ”Shout”, “Walk”, ”Work” are commonly used in continuous tenses.
But please, don’t bother too much about that.


And Remember…

The English tenses summary to make English easier_
– Are you going to use this English tenses summary?
– How do you usually work English tenses?
…All your comments are very welcome!!!

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  • Volker

    She has cried a lot but she now fells better. …..feels better
    I have played tennis too much and now I fell exhausted………feel exhausted

    1. George

      Hi Volker!

      Thank you very much for pointing out a spelling mistake I made.
      I wrote “fell” instead of “feel” twice in this post.
      The errors are now corrected.


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