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English Tenses – Grammatical Terms

The terms for the tenses in English Grammar vary according to reference book you use. In the following list you can see which terms mean the same.

Terms for TensesExamples
  • Present Simple
  • Simple Present
  • Present Tense*
I watch television every day.
  • Present Continuous
  • Present Progressive
Im watching television at the moment.
  • Past Simple
  • Simple Past
  • Past Tense*
I watched television last night.
  • Past Continuous
  • Past Progressive
I was watching television the whole evening.
  • Present Perfect (Simple)**
  • (Simple)** Present Perfect
have just watched television.
  • Present Perfect Continuous
  • Present Perfect Progressive
have been watching television for 5 hours.
  • Past Perfect (Simple)**
had a headache because I had watched television too much.
  • Past Perfect Continuous
  • Past Perfect Progressive
had been watching television when Susan arrived.
  • will-future
  • Future Simple
  • Future Tense*
will watch television tomorrow night.
  • going to-future
Im going to watch television this afternoon.
  • Future Continuous
  • Future Progressive
will be watching television on Saturday night.
  • Future Perfect (Simple)**
will have watched television by tomorrow.
  • Future Perfect Continuous
  • Future Perfect Progressive
will have been watching television for 6 hours by midnight.

* Sometimes the word TENSE is added to other terms in this table as well.

** Sometimes the short name without Simple is used.