A Simple Approach for 12 Different Tenses on GMAT

Here is a simple approach for understanding the 12 different tenses. Highly useful for the GMAT sentence correction questions.

A Simple Approach for 12 Different Tenses

Tenses are a critical part of GMAT sentence correction. A firm understanding of the twelve tenses of the English language, including their forms, classification, and usage, is vital for securing a strong score in this section of the GMAT. In this short article, we will go over a simple approach to remembering the 12 tenses and their relation to one another.

The Approach

Tenses are an aspect of grammar that you must have spent a long time on, during your school years. During those days, you might have found it difficult to keep track of how many tenses there are and their functions, as in addition to the three basic tenses, past, present, and future, there a number of sub-tenses, based on function and usage. However, for your GMAT preparation, we have prepared a simple way to remember the different tenses, using a branching pattern.

Begin by considering Tenses to be the base. Now, understand that there are two major types of tenses, the Simple Tense and the Perfect Tense. The Simple Tense is the default tense, the preferred option in most situations, and the Perfect Tense is used in peculiar cases. From here, common sense tells us that there will be three further sub-divisions in both of these tenses, for the past, present, and future. Thus, two tenses now become six, which are as follows:

Simple Present Tense

Simple Past Tense

Simple Future Tense

Present Perfect Tense

Past Perfect Tense

Future Perfect Tense

Having covered the simple and perfect tenses, in all three of their forms, you might recall that there is another tense classifier that we have not included yet, the "continuous" form. Therefore, as each of the above-mentioned tenses also has a continuous form, there are six tenses in addition to them, bringing the total up to 12. These tenses are the:

Simple Present Continuous Tense

Simple Past Continuous Tense

Simple Future Continuous Tense

Present Perfect Continuous Tense

Past Perfect Continuous Tense

Future Perfect Continuous Tense

Through this simple method, you can take a macro view of the twelve tense and keep track of them easily. Below, you will find a visual representation of this approach, in the form of a flow chart, covering the 12 tenses. Please study it carefully, and use it as a guide.

12 Different Tenses

This article has deliberately been kept brief; for a more elaborate explanation, please refer to Experts' Global's Stage One Sentence Correction videos, wherein we shall take a more detailed look at tenses.

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