Could anyone please differentiate the Present Perfect, Present Past, and Present Future tense of verbs. Thanks.

closed as too broad by ColleenV, shin, Alan Carmack, Nihilist_Frost, Em. Jul 17 '16 at 0:43

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.


The "system" of names for English verb constructions is in many respects misleading (if not downright absurd), but no English verb construction bears such an inherently contradictory name as "Present Past" or "Present Future".

Here are the standard names for the finite English constructions, the ones which can be used as independent predications. I use drive so you can readily discern the difference between the 'past' form and the past participle, and I ignore inflections for person and number:

enter image description here

For the complete name of a construction, put the name of the column in which it appears in front of the name of the row in which it appears—for instance, "I have been driving" is Present Perfect Progressive.

What traditional grammar calls the "Future" constructions are modal constructions which employ the modal will. Modals (except must) may be cast in either "present" or "past" form: can/could, may/might, shall/should, will/would. These may be named by employing "Modal Present" or "Modal Past" in front of the row name—for instance, "I would have been driven" is a Modal Past Perfect Passive.

There are also nonfinite constructions: the infinitive and the "present" and "past" participles, and constructions introduced by casting the first auxiliary in these forms:

enter image description here

There are no "Participial Progressive" constructions and no constructions introduced by past participles of the auxiliaries have and be; it is difficult to conceive what additional meanings these might express. And there are no nonfinite constructions at all with modals; modal verbs have no nonfinite forms, and the meanings these might express (and do express in other languages) must be expressed in English with "periphrastic modals" such as be able to, be possible to, be obliged to, have to, be going to.

  • Be warned that none of these names can be relied on as a description of a construction's meaning.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.