Easy Tips to Understand Tenses

Easy Tips to Understand Tenses

Testing your English proficiency is a critical aspect of any MBA entrance exam like CAT, XAT, NMAT or SNAP. All exams have a section on verbal ability and reading comprehension. Also writing ability test is an important aspect of MBA selection procedure for all colleges. Thus, having a good command over the English language is imperative. The VARC section tests your understanding of the English language in three areas:

  1. Comprehension Skills
  2. Vocabulary Knowledge
  3. Grammar Proficiency

Tenses are the backbone of English grammar which denote time reference. You will not be asked the definition directly but tenses come handy when you solve questions on:

  1. Reading Comprehensions
  2. Fill in the blanks
  3. Error spotting
  4. Para-Jumbles

Tenses are used to show time reference when a particular action or activity took place. In short it is about the moment of speaking. There are three main tenses. The easy and best way to learn and understand the three types of tenses are:

  1. Past Tense – An action that has already taken place in the past
  2. Present – An action that is currently taking place
  3. Future – An action that is likely to take place in the future

Before we go through the basic table that tells you about the types of tenses and the rules you need to follow, we will take a look at the three forms of verbs. The tenses are applied to the verbs (or the action word) in a sentence. For our example:

  • Subject (S) – ATHARVA
  • Verb(V) – EAT
  • Object (O) – APPLE

The three forms of the verb EAT are:

1st Form of Verb (V1) or Infinitive

2nd Form of Verb (V2) or Simple Past

3rd Form of Verb (V3) or Past Participle




The rule table you must follow to apply the various tenses are:





Perfect Continuous


S + V1 + O

S + is/am/are + ING form of V1 + O

S + has/have + V3 + O

S + has been/have been + ING form of V1 + O


S + V2 + O

S + was/were + ING form of V1 + O

S + had + V3 + O

S + had been + ING form of V1 + O


S + will + V1 + O

S + will be + ING form of V1 + O

S + will have + V3 + O

S + will have been + ING form of V1 + O

 Based on the above rules and the subject, verb and object the easy way to write sentences will be:





Perfect Continuous


Atharva EATS apples

Atharva IS EATING apples

Atharva HAS EATEN apples

Atharva HAS BEEN EATING apples


Atharva ATE apples

Atharva WAS EATING apples

Atharva HAD EATEN apples

Atharva HAD BEEN EATING apples


Atharva WILL EAT apples

Atharva WILL BE EATING apples

Atharva WILL HAVE EATEN apples


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