CBSE Class 10 English Grammar - Tenses

Formulae Handbook for Class 10 Maths and Science

CBSE Class 10 English Grammar – Tenses

I. How would you define the term ‘Tense’?
The term ‘Tense’ denotes the form of a verb which shows the time at which an action happened. So, the tense shows two things : (i) the time of the action
(iii) state expressed by the verb.
Look at these sentences:

  • Reshma goes to school.
  • Reshma went to school.
  • Reshma will go to school.

In the above sentences (i) ‘goes’ (ii) ‘went’ and (iii) ‘will go’ are verbs.
In sentence (i), the verb ‘goes’ denotes the present tense and refers to the present time.
In sentence (ii), the verb ‘went’ denotes the past tense and refers to the past time.
In sentence (iii), the verb ‘will go’ denotes the future tense and refers to the future time.
By ‘Tense’ we can understand the correspondence between the form of the verb and our concept of time (past, present and future).
II. ‘Time’ and ‘Tense’ are not the same thing. ‘Time’ is a universal concept. It has three divisions: past, present and future. ‘Tense’ is related only to the verb.
It is not necessary that if the verb is in the present tense, it will show only the present time. It is also not necessary that if the verb is in the past tense, it will show the past time.
Look at the sentences:

  • The match takes place on Sunday.

Here the verb ‘takes place’ is in simple present tense but expresses an action that will take place in the future time.

  • Mohan is about to come.

Here ‘present tense’ expresses the near future time.

  • The Sun sets in the west.

It is a universal truth. Here, it stands for all the three times: past, present and future.
Note: Modem grammarians believe that there is no future tense in English to express future time. We use the modal auxiliaries ‘shall’ and ‘will’, with the present tense, etc. to express future time. But we are following the traditional grammarians in this book. According to them English has three tenses, (i) Present Tense (ii) Past Tense and (iii) Future Tense.

More Resources for CBSE Class 10

1. The following table shows the different forms of the verb:
CBSE Class 10 English Grammar - Tenses 1

2. Forms of the present Simple Tense:
CBSE Class 10 English Grammar - Tenses 2

  • Thus we have seen that the Simple Present Tense is formed by using the plain infinitive. But -s or -es are added to the bare infinitive (i.e. infinitive without ‘to’) for the third person singular (He, She) and singular noun (Nitu)
  • We form the negative sentences by using doesn’t or don’t before the main verb.
  • The interrogative sentences are formed by using do or does before the subject.
  • The negative interrogative sentences are formed by using do or does before the subject and not after the subject.

But the short forms don’t and doesn’t come before the Subject.
CBSE Class 10 English Grammar - Tenses 3

You can master in English Grammar of various classes by our articles like Tenses, Clauses, Prepositions, Story writing, Unseen Passage, Notice Writing etc.

We use Present Simple time to talk about things in general. We are not thinking only about now. We use it to say that something happens all the time or repeatedly or that something is true in general. Here it is not important whether the action is happening at the time of speaking

  • I take my breakfast every day.
  • We go to school.

We use Present Continuous tense to talk about something that is happening at or around the time of speaking. The action is not finished. In such sentences is/am/are + verb + ing is used to show continuation.

  • Girls are playing.
  • I am watching TV.

Present Perfect tense is used to give information about an action that has recently been completed. It is also used to talk about some action in the past that has a result now. In such sentences verb ends with have/has + verb + ed/t/en/ne forms.

  • Tom has lost his key.
  • I have forgotten your name.

Present Perfect Continuous tense is used to indicate an activity that continues from the past until now repeatedly or an activity that has recently stopped. In these sentences have/ has + been + v + ing form is used.

  • John looks sunburnt. He has been working under the sun since morning.
  • Your clothes are very dirty. What have you been doing?

Past Tense

  • I/You/He/She/It/We/They played. – (Affirmative)
  • I/You/He/She/It/We/They didn’t play. – (Negative)
  • Did I/You/She/It/We/They play? – (Interrogative)

All these sentences are in simple past. We use Past Simple for:

  • Action completed in the past
  • Actions which happened at a specific point in time.
  • Past habits and past actions that happened immediately after the other.

Now look at the following sentences:

  • I/He/She/It was playing. – (Affirmative)
  • We/You/They were playing. – (Affirmative)
  • I/He/She/It wasn’t playing. – (Negative)
  • We/You/They weren’t playing. – (Negative)
  • Was/I/He/She/It playing? – (Interrogative)
  • Where were/We/You/They playing? – (Interrogative)

All these sentences are in Past Continuous. We use past continuous for:

  • An action that was in progress at a stated time in the past.
  • A past action which was in progress when another action interrupted it.
  • Two or more actions were happening at the same time.

Let’s read the following sentences:

  • Rohit had already left when we arrived at the party.
  • He had broken his leg and it was still hurting.
  • Everything had seemed normal at first.

All these sentences have been written in Past Perfect Tense. We use it to talk about an action which finished before another action in the past.

We use certain time expressions with past perfect: before, already, after, just, when, never, etc.

Now read the following sentences:
I had been watching TV for an hour when I remembered I had forgotten to call my friend.
She had been painting her room and her clothes were covered in paint.
These sentences have been written in Past Perfect Continuous Tense. We use it to talk:

  • for a past action which started and finished in the past before another past action, putting emphasis on the duration.
  • for an action which lasted for some time in the past and the result was still visible in the past..

Time expressions used: for, since, until, etc.

11. Future Time Reference

  • Let us read the following sentences:
  • We will go to the zoo tomorrow.
  • He will be on leave next week.

All these sentences indicate that we use will to talk about an event in progress at some point in future. However, there are different modes in English that can be used to refer to incidents that occur at some time in future. This mode of reference is called as future time reference. Such sentences have constructions based on different structures.

They are as follows:
Simple Present Tense

  • The Commonwealth Games begin from 2nd October.
  • If he works hard like this, he can pass.

Present Continuous Tense: It is used to refer to future events that have been planned before.

  • We are expecting the queen to inaugurate the games this month.
  • I’m sorry I can’t attend the wedding. I’m meeting the director this evening.

Use of Going to

  • We are going to shift to Shimla very soon.
  • Suchitra is going to marry Harish.

Be + about to + infinitive

  • The class is about to start.

Use of Will/Shall
It is used to make a prediction about future, or in advertisements, etc.

  • India will win at least one gold in boxing.
  • Their souls shall rest in peace.

Be + To + V

  • The teacher is to deliver a talk on study skills.

Exercise (Solved)

Fill in the blanks with the correct form of the verbs given in the brackets.

  1. The police………………….. four thieves last night, (catch)
  2. I was………………………. food when he came in. (cook)
  3. It………………… at 9 o’clock, (rain)
  4. I certainly…………………… my colleague if I had been there, (help)
  5. Stars………………….. in the sky at night, (twinkle)
  6. All the students………………. the classwork when the teacher came in. (do)
  7. Mahesh………………….. tomorrow from Patna, (come)
  8. The patient………………… before the doctor came, (die)
  9. I saw that the policemen…………………. the thieves, (chase)
  10. He is a very rude person, I ………………… him. (not help)


  1. caught
  2. cooking
  3. has been raining
  4. would have helped
  5. twinkle
  6. were doing
  7. will come
  8. had died
  9. were chasing
  10. won’t help.

Exercise (Unsolved)

Fill in the blanks with the correct form of the verbs given in the brackets.

  1. Water………………… on heating. (evaporate)
  2. Shantanu……………………… all the chocolates. (eat)
  3. Farmers………………….. the field. (plough)
  4. If I…………………… you I would not repeat that mistake. (be)
  5. I………………. this book for the last four years. (write)
  6. I……………. you in writing the essay. (help)
  7. Two aeroplanes……………………. flying in the sky. (be)
  8. He……………. back yet. (not come)
  9. While I………….. to the music, my younger son was dancing. (listen)
  10. Some of my friends…………………………. the Taj Mahal last week. (visit)