English Tense Styles

  Simple Form Progressive Form
Present I run I am running
Past I ran I was running
Future I will run I will be running
Present Perfect I have run I have been running
Past Perfect I had run I had been running
Future Perfect I will have run I will have been running

Use the present for discussing general knowledge or truth, arguments or ideas, or works of literature.

Dogs prefer an owner with a calm, steady nature.

Use the past for events that have already happened in the past and are now finished.

In 1966 her parents moved to the Northeast.

Use the present perfect for events that happened in the indefinite past.

He has argued that carbohydrates are not the enemy they are portrayed to be.

Use the past perfect with the simple past to describe an event that happened before another event.

The storefront had already been destroyed when the police arrived.

Use the progressive form to emphasize action that is happening at that moment.

I am working as fast as I can.

Use the future perfect for actions that will be completed at some time in the future, with one event occurring before another.

When the bell rings I will have been writing for over half an hour.