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Definition of Tense:

Tense is the form that a verb takes to show the time it happened.

So if someone ask me to give an example of the present tense can I answer with the basic from of a verb eg, be, play, work etc. instead of saying a full sentence like: I play football every day?

Likewise, an example of the past tense is played, not I played football yesterday?

Thanks in advance.

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It probably depends who is asking and the full scope of the question, but I would avoid giving single word answers.

Here is my reasoning:

"I am playing football" is present continuous tense.

"I play football every day" is simple present tense.

"I will play football tomorrow" is future tense.

"I have played football 3 times this week" is present perfect tense

Notice that in these 4 examples, 2 have the same word "play" but they are two different tenses and then one looks as if it's past, but it's present perfect.

I could go on with examples of the different forms, but I think you get the idea! It's not a one-word-fits-all senario.

Here is a good source to look at: The English Space

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