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Tense

These pages look at the English tense system and help you understand what tense is, why it's important and how we use it.

What is Tense?

The English Tense System
Some languages don't use tense but English does and so must you!

The 12 Basic English Tenses
Lessons on the 12 basic English tenses—looking at structure and usage—with example sentences and quizzes

Tense Songs audio
Tense-based songs, with subtitles and transcripts

Many English learners worry too much about tense. If you stopped 100 native English speakers in the street and asked them about tense, 1 of them might give you an intelligent answer - if you were lucky. The other 99 would know little about terms like "past perfect" or "present continuous". And they would know nothing about aspect, voice or mood. But they can all speak fluent English and communicate effectively. Of course, for ESL it helps to know about tenses, but don't become obsessed with them. Be like those native speakers! Speak naturally!