Verb Tense List for ESL Teachers
Twelve Tenses to Teach
English Language Learners
The verb tense list below includes all twelve basic grammar tenses for
English verbs. Most basic tenses have more than one name; it depends on
the grammar book you use and on the teacher teaching the tenses. I've
included all the names you might find in English grammar books.
Effectively teaching all the English verb tenses includes teaching
conjugation, forms, and the functions of each of the tenses. See my
ESL verb tenses
page for strategies and teaching tips for ESL/EFL lessons.
Verb Tense List
- Simple Present or Present Simple
e.g., I play, you play, she/he/it plays, we play, they playPresent Progressive, Present Continuous, Simple Present Progressive or Simple Present Continuous
e.g., I am playing, you are playing, she/he/it is playing, we are playing, they are playingSimple Past or Past Simple
e.g., I played, you played, he/she/it played, we played, they playedPast Progressive, Past Continuous, Simple Past Progressive or Simple Past Continuous
e.g., I was playing, you were playing, she/he/it was playing, we were playing, they were playingPresent Perfect or Simple Present Perfect
e.g., I have played, you have played, he/she/it has played, we have played, they have playedPresent Perfect Progressive or Present Perfect Continuous
e.g., I have been playing, you have been playing, he/she/it has been playing, we have been playing, they have been playingPast Perfect or Simple Past Perfect
e.g., I had played, you had played, he/she/it had played, we had played, they had playedPast Perfect Progressive or Past Perfect Continuous
e.g., I had been playing, you had been playing, he/she/it had been playing, we had been playing, they had been playingSimple Future or Future Simple
e.g., I will play, you will play, he/she/it will play, they
will play, we will play or I am going to play, you are going to play,
he/she/it is going to play, we are going to play, they are going to playFuture Progressive, Future Continuous, Simple Future Progressive or Simple Future Continuous
e.g., I will be playing, you will be playing, he/she/it will be playing, they will be playing, we will be playingFuture Perfect or Simple Future Perfect
e.g., I will have played, you will have played, he/she/it will have played, they will have played, we will have playedFuture Perfect Progressive
e.g., I will have been playing, you will have been playing,
he/she/it will have been playing, they will have been playing, we will
have been playing
Verb Tense List Teaching Order
The above verb tense list is more or less in the order of how
some teachers or tutors might teach ESL verb tenses to students studying
English as a second language or English as a foreign language.
Some grammar books lay out the basic grammar tenses by past,
present and future. That list of tenses would look something like this:
VERB TENSE CHART
| Simple Past
|| Simple Present
|| Simple Future
| Past Progressive
|| Present Progressive
|| Future Progressive
| Past Perfect
|| Present Perfect
|| Future Perfect
| Past Perfect Progressive
|| Present Perfect Progressive
|| Future Perfect Progressive
Textbook Recommendation for Teaching Verbs
My favorite textbook for ESL grammar and for teaching English
grammar basic tenses to high intermediate and advanced learners is
Azar's, Understanding and Using English Grammar.
Not only does she present a detailed list of verb tenses, but she also
diagrams time lines and has detailed examples and exercises.
You can use this book to refresh yourself on the details of many grammar
concepts and it's a great ESL textbook for English language learners;
plus it has grammar exercises you can use in class.
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