Civil Service Examination Coverage: English/Simple Tenses

Verb tenses are the time being expressed by the verb or the relevance of action to the expressed time. Tenses are divided into four aspects: simpleperfectprogressive, and perfect progressive. Every aspect contains past, present, and future forms.

So technically, there are 12 major verb tenses that English learners should know. If we talk about verb alone, it only has two ways of forming a tense in English: the past and present.

For example, they watch and they watched. To achieve the form of other verb tenses, we have to add some helping, or auxiliary verbs such as have, be, or will.


One of the four aspects of tenses is simple tense. It is divided into three specific tenses: simple past tense, simple present tense, and the simple future tense. These simple tenses express facts or habitual activities. The simple tenses express actions without particularly stating if the actions are completed or ongoing.

1. Simple Past Tense.

Simple past tense expresses an action that is completed in the past. Simply, it means that the action began in the past and ended in the past too. To form a verb in simple past, we add -d­ or -ed for regular verb (e.g. switched, talked, fetched, answered). This rule excludes the irregular verb which we transform them depending on its required inflection or form (e.g. eat – ate, cut – cut, go – went).

Example: Ronnie applied for a scholarship.

The judges assessed Joey’s performance.

Her mother came early.

The flock of birds flew astonishingly.

Note that in forming a sentence in the simple past tense, we usually focus on transforming the verb in simple past form rather than the number of the subject or the verb.

2. Simple Present Tense

Simple present is used when an action is happening right now, or when an action happens regularly. Also take note that simple present tense in a bit odd in its title, because it is not always about what is happening in the present. Sometimes, it is also used to express an action that is not currently happening or some future events.

To form simple present tense, we have to focus on the number of the subject. Here we determine first whether the subject is singular or plural. Simple present tense uses the -s or -es form of the verb when it is singular (rises, dances, sings, presents) and it is in base form when it is in the plural (rise, dance, sing, present).


Shamaerlene excels in class particularly in mathematics. (singular)

Mario supplies us some soy pudding with caramel syrup and tapioca balls. (singular)

The Barangay Officials patrol every night. (plural)

-The jury conduct its actual meeting every Monday. (plural)

Simple present tense can also be used in the following condition:

  • 1. An action or condition is taking place at the time of speaking.


-The students read the lecture.

-Romwel waits for his girlfriend.

  • 2. A condition or situation that takes place from the past through the present and extends into the future (an habitual activity).


-Lito reads every morning.

-He buys pan de sal to the nearest bakery.

-He goes to work every day.

  • 3. Universal truth or all-time fact.


-The sun rises at east.

-The sun sets at west.

-At 5,200 feet above sea level, Baguio enjoys low temperatures.

  • 4. Future action or simple futurity.


-The train arrives this evening.

-She has an English class tomorrow morning.

  • 5. Narrating reports, stories, etc.


-Ron stands in front of the class.

-He feels nervous but it seems to him that it is now or never.

-He starts to look at his paper and tries to speak slowly and gently.

-Soon after, he realizes that he starts to gain courage.

3. Simple Future Tense

Simple future tense states or expresses an action, condition, or state of being that will take place in the future. To form simple future tense is by placing the word WILL before the simple form of the verb.


-I will sing to Him with all my heart.

-I will help you by all means.

Sources: Insignia Review Center – CHQ Institute Inc.

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