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What Are the Complete Tenses?Complete tense is a category of verb tense used to describe completed actions. It covers the past complete tense, the present complete tense, and the future complete tense. It is more commonly called the perfect tense.
Table of Contents
- Examples of Verbs in the Complete Tense
- Forming the Complete Tenses
- The Complete Tenses in the Past, Present, and Future
- Interactive Verb Conjugation Tables
- The Complete Aspect
- Why the Complete Tenses Are Important
- Printable Test
Examples of Verbs in the Complete TenseHere are some examples of verbs in the complete tense:
The Past Complete Tense
- I had gone.
- He had seen.
The Present Complete Tense
- I have gone.
- He has seen.
The Future Complete Tense
- I will have gone.
- He will have seen.
Forming the Complete TensesThe complete tenses are formed using a form of the auxiliary verb "to have" and the past participle. For example:
Forming the Past Complete Tense
- He had worked.
Forming the Present Complete Tense
- He has worked.
- We have worked.
Forming the Future Complete Tense
- She will have worked.
The Complete Tenses in the Past, Present, and FutureHere are the 12 tenses again. This time, the tenses are ordered under the headings past tense, present tense, and future tense. The complete (or perfect) tenses are shaded in yellow.
|The 4 Past Tenses||Example|
|simple past tense||I went|
|past progressive tense||I was going|
|past complete tense||I had gone|
|past complete progressive tense||I had been going|
|The 4 Present Tenses||Example|
|simple present tense||I go|
|present progressive tense||I am going|
|present complete tense||I have gone|
|present complete progressive tense||I have been going|
|The 4 Future Tenses||Example|
|simple future tense||I will go|
|future progressive tense||I will be going|
|future complete tense||I will have gone|
|future complete progressive tense||I will have been going|
Top 10 Regular Verbs
Top 10 Irregular Verbs
All 4 Past Tenses
|Person||Simple Past||Past Progressive Tense||Past Complete Tense||Past Complete Progressive Tense|
The simple past tense is for a completed activity that happened in the past.
The past progressive tense is for an ongoing activity in the past. Often, it is used to set the scene for another action.
The past complete tense is for emphasizing that an action was completed before another took place.
The past complete progressive tense is for showing that an ongoing action in the past has ended.
All 4 Present Tenses
|Person||Simple Present||Present Progressive Tense||Present Complete Tense||Present Complete Progressive Tense|
The simple present tense is mostly for a fact or a habit.
The present progressive tense is for an ongoing action in the present.
The present complete tense is for an action that began in the past. (Often, the action continues into the present.)
The present complete progressive tense is for a continuous activity that began in the past and continues into the present (or finished very recently).
All 4 Future Tenses
|Person||Simple Future||Future Progressive Tense||Future Complete Tense||Future Complete Progressive Tense|
The simple future tense is for an action that will occur in the future.
The future progressive tense is for an ongoing action that will occur in the future.
The future complete tense is for an action that will have been completed at some point in the future.
The future complete progressive tense is for an ongoing action that will be completed at some specified time in the future.
The Complete AspectThe term complete aspect (or perfect aspect) is used to group all verbs (past, present, and future) in the perfect tenses. (Remember that the aspect of a verb is determined by whether its action is ongoing or completed.)
The trick to learning tenses is mastering the following:
- The verb "to be" in all its forms (am, is, are, was, were, will be)
- The verb "to have" in all its forms (has, have, had, will have)
- Present participles, i.e., the "ing" form of verbs (e.g., playing, thinking, eating)
- Past participles (e.g., played, thought, eaten)
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