Drawing conclusions about tense (Part II)

by Anna Tarnow

This is a continuation of the previous post, which you can find here. Let’s learn about a few more tenses.

Present perfect continuous
This tense describes an event that began in the past and continues to the present moment. For example, “He has been painting for six hours.”

Anna Tense Present Perfect Continuous

Past perfect
This tense can appear in two forms.

First, the past perfect can describe a past even that both began and ended before a second event in the past occurred. For example, “I had eaten dinner before I went to the movies.”

Second, the past perfect can describe a past event that began before and continued to a more recent past event. For example, “The car had run until the oil line was cut.”

Anna Tense Past Perfect

Past perfect continuous
This tense is similar to the second form of the past perfect: it describes a past event that continued to a more recent past. However, this tense is used when a specific amount of time is referenced, and it uses a present participle instead of a past participle. For example, “The car had been running for ten minutes until the oil line was cut.”

Anna Tense Past Perfect Continuous

This tense indicates events that will happen but haven’t yet. For example, “He will brush his teeth.”

Anna Tense Future

Future perfect
This tense describes an action in the future that will be completed before another future action happens. For example, “You will have gone to the salon before you go to the party.”

Anna Tense Future Perfect

Future perfect continuous
This tense indicates that an event will be happening (starting in the past or present) up until a point in the future. For example, “You will have had a five-hour wait to get the pizza.”

Anna Tense Future Perfect Continuous

The tables you’ve seen here are simple breakdowns of many English verb forms, but for a more specific overview with visuals, check out, which is a very nice site. It’s designed for ESL students, but I (as a native English speaker) also find it very helpful!


Anna Tarnow is a senior majoring in English and enjoys working on the Pilot newspaper, where she is editor-in-chief.

“Verb Tense Tutorial.” Table. English Page. N.p., n.d., Web. 4 Oct. 2015. <>.

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