WEEK 9 Lesson

SUBJECT : English Language

TOPIC : Grammar  SUB-TOPIC – Tense



          The word Tense is derived from the Latin word “tempus” which means time.

          Tense is the form of the verb used to indicate the time of the action, the continuance of the action or the completeness of the action. The time of the action may be in the present… I see, past… I saw, Future… I shall see, or future in the past… I should see, or future perfect… I shall have seen. Note that all actions are expressed in different tenses.


   There are three (3) main verb tenses namely :

  1. Present Tense
  2. Past Tense
  3. Future Tense

          The present tense is a grammatical tense whose principal function is to locate a situation or event in the present time. The present isn’t just one single moment in time, and when we say all about the present, we don’t always mean right now (real time).  Really,  we use the present tense to talk about a period of time; a time happening right now, continue to happen now, or reflecting something in the past that is still relevant now. Example – He sings, he is singing now, he has sung, he has been singing. These examples show us that there are different types of present tense, that each help us specifically to know when and how something is occurring.


          There are four (4) types of present tense.

  1. Simple Present Tense.
  2. Present Continuous Tense.
  3. Present Perfect Tense.
  4. Present Perfect Continuous Tense.


          This is used to express habitual action, general truth or statement.

          It is used to talk about more general things that we do often or regularly or to state simple facts.

          To use  the simple present, we don’t always need helping verbs. The form of the sentence reflects the name of the tense. It is simple so a simple present follows the pattern subject + present verb.


  1. I work at the mall.
  2. He / She works at the mall.
  3. I go to school five times a week.
  4. He goes to school five times a week.
  5. She does her homework everyday.
  6. They do their homeworks everyday.



          This indicates that an action or event is still on at the time of speaking or writing. To do that, we use the primary auxiliary verb (to be,  with the – “ing” form of the main verb) 

That is, subject + verb to be + ing verb pattern.


  1. The teacher is teaching now.
  2. I am eating a biscuit.
  3. The dogs are barking loudly.
  4. Jane is listening to music.
  5. They are going to school.


          This shows that an action which started and was completed in the past still has a link with the present. This means that it is used to share something that happened before that is still relevant or important now. It also indicates that an action which started in the past has not been concluded. In this case, the modal auxiliary verbs has and have are used with the past participle form of the main verb. A sentence in the present perfect should follow subject + have / has + past form of main verb.


  1. They have lived in that house for ten years.
  2. He has taken the exam already.
  3. The boy has passed the test.
  4. They have warned the teacher to mind his business.
  5. My father has gone to church.


          This expresses an action that began in the past and its still continue. This means that present perfect continuous expresses actions or (events) that we have been doing and are still doing, things that have been going on and are still going on now. This should not be confused with present continuous tense which is on at the time of speaking. In present perfect continuous tense, the action may not be going on at the moment of writing or speaking. It only shows that an action has not been concluded.

          To use it, we need to use have and been combined with the continuous form of the verb (ending in ing) to show that we have been doing something.

          So a sentence in the present perfect continuous follows the subject  + have / has been + ing verb form.


  1. I have been teaching for five years ( I may not be in class teaching at the moment).
  2. He has been building his house since last year.
  3. They have been living in that house since 2006.
  4. Jane has been listening to music online.
  5. He has been taking that exam for at least two hours.


          The past tense is a grammatical tense whose function is to place an action in past time. Past verbs are used to indicate an action, events or condition that has happened in the past. They can be regular verbs that simply end with a “d” or an “ed” or they can be irregular and change their spelling to show the past tense, so there are many different ways of using the past tense. Examples – I wrote a book, They had written a book, They had been writing the book etc.


          Since things happen in so many ways, the English Language lets us express them in many ways. It’s very important to be able to recognize and use the different tenses for different situations even though sometimes, it may seem like there are an endless number of them! Here, we will show how to use four of the main types of past tense.

  1. Simple Past Tense
  2. Past Continuous Tense
  3. Past Perfect Tense
  4. Past Perfect Continuous Tense.


          This shows that an action started and was completed in the past. It also indicates a past habit which the person been referred to is no more involved in. Its form is easy : subject + past verb.


  1. Jane heard birds singing.
  2. You looked great yesterday.
  3. She ran fast.
  4. Olu passed the last stage of the examination last year.
  5. He used to travel home when he was young. (has stopped travelling home).



          The  Past Continuous Tense is used to express events or actions that were going on in the past at a particular time, and an action that was going on in the past and interrupted by another action. To show this, we use verbs ending in ing. Sentences in the past continuous tense follow the Form – Subject + verb to be + ing


  1. Jane was listening to music.
  2. The dogs were barking loudly.
  3. I was teaching the students when the Principal sent for me.
  4. While the bus was moving, the woman jumped down.
  5. Ayo and I were reading for our examination this time last week.


          The past perfect tense is used to indicate that two or more actions took place in the past but one happened or was completed before the other(s). The action that happened first is expressed in the past perfect tense while the other action is expressed in the simple past tense.


  1. The dog had eaten all the cats food before I walked into the kitchen.
  2. We had our meal before the visitor came.
  3. The hoodlums had escaped before the police arrived.
  4. By the time I got to the office, Olu had left for the meeting.
  5. The boy had died before help reached him.



          This is used to show that an action had been completed at a particular time in the past that is under discussion or analysis now.


  1. We had been praying since 1990 before God intervened in 1994.
  2. The program that was terminated had been working well since 1943.
  3. I had been working at the company for five years when I got the promotion.
  4. Martha had been working three miles a day before she broke her leg.
  5. The girl had been writing SSCE for five years before she passed it last year.

          This is used to show or indicate an action that will be performed in the future.


  1. The girls are going to sing amazing grace now.
  2. I will drive you to your lesson at 4pm.
  3. I am going to church this evening.
  4. We are travelling tomorrow.
  5. Don’t lift that. You will hurt yourself.






  1. I _____ to school everyday. (a) going (b) gone (c) go (d) will go
  2. Musa _____ to mosque everyday. (a) go (b) goes (c) going (d) will go
  3. They _____ playing in the classroom yesterday. (a) are (b) were (c) was (d) is
  4. Mother _____ rice last night. (a) cooks (b) cooking (c) will cook (d) cooked
  5. I _____ him tomorrow. (a) saw (b) seeing (c) seen (d) will see
  6. He _____ in the school library. (a) study (b) studies (c) read (d) reading
  7. I _____ my books everyday. (a) will read (b) read (c) reads (d) reading
  8. I _____ play football. (a) does (b) don’t (c) doesn’t (d) will do
  9. _____ you sleep in the afternoon? (a) do (b)  does (c) should (d) shall
  10. John _____waiting for an hour. (a) being (b) will be (c) has being (d) has been

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Download Document Here: JS2 English Language wk9


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