Verbal Ability - Simple Tenses of Verbs


The job of a verb is to mention the action of a sentence. However, an action could have happened in the past, can happen in the present, or can happen in the future too. Depending on the time in which the action takes place, the verb is expressed in tenses.

Actions are of two types - one, where occurrences take place, for example — I sleep, I talk, he rides, she falls, etc. The other type of actions is the state of being or status, for example – I am, He is, etc. Depending on these two different types of verbs, their tense forms will vary.

Any action has the possibility to occur in three time-zones only. It has either occurred in the Past, occurs in the Present, or may occur in the Future. Based on this, there are three tenses −

  • Simple Present Tense
  • Simple Past Tense
  • Simple Future Tense


Some people argue that there is no Future Tense in English as words like “will, shall” can be used for many present-time actions.

For Example

  • He won’t help me ever.
  • Will you just keep quiet and listen to me?

Also, many sentences can also be written talking of future actions without using “will, shall”.

For Example

  • The train departs in ten minutes.
  • It is going to rain.
  • I am visiting my parents this weekend.

Simple Present Tense

Simple present tense is a form that is used by a verb when it describes an action that happens regularly in the present time.

  • He goes to meet his parents every month.
  • It rains heavily this time of the year.
  • He goes to school every day.


When the action happens regularly in the present, we use the base form of the verb with “I, You, We” and related plural nouns. For “he, she, it” cases and related singular nouns, we use “s” with the base form of verbs.

For Example

  • I do.
  • We have.
  • You talk.
  • Players practice.
  • Birds chirp.
  • He talks.
  • Rita sings.

If the verb talks about the nature, state of being, or status of some person, we will use the “be” form.

In this case −

  • “am” is used with “I”
  • “are” is used with “we, you, they”
  • “is” is used with “he, she, it” and related nouns.

For Example

  • I am happy.
  • We are tired.
  • You are impertinent.
  • They are late.
  • He is silent.
  • Roy is boring.
  • She is a model.

Simple Past Tense

Simple Past Tense is used to talk of actions that started and ended in the past.

For Example

  • I went to this school as a kid.
  • He told me that he was ill.
  • He asked me out tonight.


In most of the cases, the past tense of a verb can be formed by using “ed” with the main verb, for example, “talk- talked”. But there are many exceptions like “go- went”.

For Example

  • I did.
  • We had.
  • You talked.
  • The players practiced.
  • The birds chirped.

If the verb talks about the nature, state of being, or status of some person, we will use the “be” form, but in their past form.

In this case −

  • “was” is used with “I, he, she, it”
  • “were” is used with “we, you, they”.

For Example

  • I was happy.
  • You were impertinent.
  • They were late.
  • He was silent.

Exceptions to the “ed” form of the past form

Many verbs don’t use “ed” to change their tense to past. Some use only “d” in their past form and some use completely different words for their past form, while some don’t change at all.

Some of the common words are here −

Base Verb Simple Past Participle
Write Wrote Written
Win Won Won
Wear Wore Worn
Understand Understood Understood
Think Thought Thought
Tell Told Told
Teach Taught Taught
Take Took Taken
Stand Stood Stood
Spend Spent Spent
Speak Spoke Spoken
Sit Sat Sat
Set Set Set
Send Sent Sent
Sell Sold Sold
See Saw Seen
Say Said Said
Run Ran Run
Put Put Put
Pay Paid Paid
Meet Met Met
Mean Meant Meant
Make Made Made
Lose Lost Lost
Lie Lay Lain
Let Let Let
Leave Left Left
Lead Led Led
Know Knew Known
Keep Kept Kept
Hold Held Held
Hear Heard Heard
Have Had Had
Go Went Gone
Give Gave Given
Get Got Got
Find Found Found
Feel Felt Felt
Eat Ate Eaten
Drive Drove Driven
Draw Drew Drawn
Do Did Done
Cut Cut Cut
Cost Cost Cost
Come Came Come
Choose Chose Chosen
Buy Bought Bought
Build Built Built
Bring Brought Brought
Break Broke Broken
Begin Began Begun
Be Was/Were Been

Simple Future Tense

When talking of actions that may happen in the future, we use “will, shall”. However, there are many ways in which we can talk of actions that can happen in future without using “will, shall”. The reader is supposed to understand the meaning of such sentences.

For Example

  • I will do.
  • We will have.
  • You will talk.
  • The players will practice.
  • The birds will chirp.


If the verb talks about the nature, state of being, or status of some person, we use “will” with “be” form −

For Example

  • I will be happy.
  • You will be far.
  • They will be late.
  • He will be silent.

If a sentence has two actions that may happen in the future, we use “will, shall” with only one of them, as that will make the reader understand that the sentence is being spoken for a future action.

For Example

  • If I go to the market, I will bring you a toffee.
  • He will win if he continues to practice this hard.