Verb Tense Examples and Explanations

There are many different verb tenses in the English language.  Many students have a hard time figuring out the appropriate tense to use for every circumstance.  To help you, we have created examples and explanations of regular verbs being used in all the possible verb tenses.

Simple Tenses:

Present Simple Sentence

Sentence Explanation General Explanation
I work at Gallaudet. In general, I am employed at Gallaudet.  I may not be there right this second, but that is the place where I work.

Refers to a general time. Talks about actions/situations which happen repeatedly, all the time, OR at any time. Also used to express a belief, fact, or opinion.

I jog three times a week. It is my habit to run three times every week.  This is a repeated action.  It is not happening right now, but it does happen again and again.
He smokes cigarettes. It is his habit to smoke cigarettes.  He does this regularly.  We can express it as a general "fact" with this verb tense.
Water freezes at 32 degrees. This is a fact.  Water always freezes at 32 degrees.

 

Past Simple Sentence Sentence Explanation General Explanation
I worked at Gallaudet for three years. I no longer work there, but in the past I did work at Gallaudet.  I worked there for three years.  I do not work there now. Refers to actions that happened in the past and are finished.
When I was in college I always jogged three times a week. I am not in college now.  In the past, when I was in college, I used to run three times a week.  
He smoked cigarettes for 19 years. He does not smoke anymore.  In the past, he used to smoke.  He smoked regularly for 19 years.  

 

Future Simple Sentence Sentence Explanation General Explanation
I will work at Gallaudet next year. I don't work there yet, but next year, I will begin to work at Gallaudet. The easiest way to say that something WILL happen in the future. Uses the word "will," or "am going to" with the simple present form of the verb.
Next year, I am going to jog three times a week. I don't run regularly at this time in my life, but next year I will begin to run three times every week.
He will smoke cigarettes tonight. He is not smoking right now.  In the future, tonight, he will smoke cigarettes.