Making Sense With Tense – 2

Tenses types

Present Tense, Past Tense, Future Tense

Simple Present Tense: Tom Cruise is a popular actor. Imagine you are interviewing him and you wonder how he maintains such a good physique.

Interviewer – “How do you maintain such good physique? What is your work out plan?”

Tom Cruise – “I focus on weight training. I go to the gym regularly and I don’t miss on treadmill running, and fencing.”

Interviewer – “What diet do you follow?”

Tom – “I consume vegetables, fruits, salads, and grilled foods. I take protein and other supplements necessary for my body and also keep a check on carbs (carbohydrates). Very importantly, I drink plenty of water to keep myself hydrated.”

In this context, the actions of Tom Cruise happens on a regular basis. The actions are never fully complete. They are bound to recur or happen repeatedly. Therefore, the tense used is ‘Simple Present’.

Present Continuous/Progressive Tense: You are at home – you could be doing anything, like preparing for exams. You get a call from a friend. Your mom picks up the call. What would your mom say?

– She is preparing for exams.

What could be the other probable responses?

– She is bathing.

– She is having lunch.

In this context, the speaker is present during the time of the action and is observing the actions of the doer. The doer of the action and the speaker could be the same ( I am reading a story book) or different (as in the example sentences). Therefore, the tense used is ‘Present Continuous/Progressive’.

Present Perfect Tense: Teacher – Have you done your homework?

Student – Yes, I have/No, I haven’t.

Raj – I have posted my aunt’s wedding invitation. Did it reach you?

Adi – No, it hasn’t reached yet.

(Here, the action of posting the letter is done but not reaching. In present perfect tense, the purpose of the action is usually not realized.)

Ex: I have begun working on the project. ( It means the project work has just begun/started. The action done is only beginning the project.)

In these contexts, the actions have started/begun and have completed in part or full in the near past. But the outcomes of action are still continued in the present. This is ‘Present Perfect Tense’.

Present Perfect Continuous Tense:

a. Nikhil – What are you thinking about?

Ram – It has been raining since morning. I don’t know when it would stop. I need to go to the bank today.

Anika – I see Radha often at your house.

Adhya – Yes, she has been coming to my house quite often these days. She has become my sister’s good friend.

Bharat – Amit, your team has not yet finished the assignment.

Charan – Yes, I agree that they have been working on the assignment for too long now. It might take us another week to finish it.

In these contexts, the action has started, is still continuing and is likely to stop after a period of time. Present Perfect Continuous tense is a combination of Present continuous and Present Perfect Tenses.

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