Present Tense and Past tense, Adverbials

Tenses are ways by which we can express ourselves based on time that the events take place. In other words, tenses show time of an action in a sentence. The verb plays a very important role in tenses.

Present Tense

There are three broad divisions of present tense. They are present simple tense, present continuous tense, present perfect tense.

Present Simple Tense

It is used for actions that take place consistently (every time). They are habitual actions.


  1. He comes here often.
  2. They come here every weekend.
  3. She dances everyday.
  4. Okocha passes the ball.

We can also use the present tense for actions that are being reported as they are happening especially in sports commentary.

  1. He heads the ball
  2. He passes it to Okocha
  3. Okocha scores.

Present simple tense can be used to express the present condition or state of a person or a thing as in:

  1. I am a teacher.
  2. She is my wife.
  3. We are gentle people.

The Present Continuous Tense

This is used for actions that are taking place at the time we are talking.


  1. Mrs Adewole  is teaching us English Language.
  2. I am eating my dinner.
  3. We are going to the church.
  4. He is walking

The Present Perfect Tense

This is used to show the action that has just been completed.


  1. He has gone.
  2. She has just arrived.
  3. We have left the place.
  4. They have just completed the building.

It can also be used for when the event started some time ago and it is still on e.g.

  1. I have lived here for ten years.
  2. She has taught English for five years.
  3. They have been wise all their lives.

NOTE: We use “have” with the following pronouns: I, We, You and They.

While we use “has” with the pronouns he, she and it. E.g.

  1. She has just gone out.
  2. We have left the place.
  3. I have lived here for ten years.
  4. She has taught English for five years.

Past tense denotes any of the various tenses of the verb that are used in describing action or states of verb that have been started or completed at the time of occurrence. The most common way of forming the past tense is to add ‘-ed’ to the base forms of the regular verbs. Irregular verbs form their past tense in different ways. The past tense is sub divided into four sub-topics:

  1. The simple past tense
  2. The past continuous tense
  3. The past perfect tense
  4. The past perfect continuous tense.

The Simple Past Tense

This shows that an action started in the past and was completed in the past. It also indicates a past habit which the person being referred to is no more involved. e.g.

  1. I worked yesterday.
  2. Olu passed the last stage of the examination last year.
  3. He made his way home.
  4. She sang so beautifully.
  5. I was employed in 1991.
  6. He used to travel home when he was young.
  7. They kept mute over the issue.

The Past Continuous Tense

It is used to express the following: (a) An action that was going on in the past, at a particular time. (b) That action that was going on in the past but was interrupted by another action. E.g.

  1. I was teaching the students yesterday when the principal sent for me.
  2. While the bus was moving, the woman jumped down.
  3. Ayo and I were reading for our examination this last week.

The Past Perfect Tense

It is used to indicate that two or more actions took place in the past but one happened or was completed before the other. The action that happened first is expressed in the past perfect tense while the other action is expressed in the simple past tense. E.g.

  1. The boy had died before help reached him.
  2. By the time I got to the office, Olu had left for the meeting.
  3. The suspect had escaped when the police raised the alarm.
  4. James had already alighted by the time we got to the bus stop.

The Past Perfect Continuous Tense

This is used to show that an action had been completed at a particular time in the past but is being discussed or analyzed at present. E.g.

  1. We had been praying since 1998 before God intervened in 2008.
  2. The girl had been writing SSCE for five years before she passed it last year.

Tenses show the time of an action in a sentence. In English language, traditional grammar distinguishes three basic tenses namely: past, present and future. However, modern grammarians recognise two basic tenses: past and present. It must be noted that tense is not exactly the same as time. Thus, tense refers to the change that takes place in the form of the verb to indicate time.

Present Simple Tense

These are the events that take place every day or that stand as truth. E.g.

  1. I cook rice every Sunday.
  2. He loves
  3. She goes to school every day.
  4. We go to church every Sunday.
  5. We do our assignments on weekends.

Note: Singular verbs go with singular nouns and plural verbs with plural nouns.

Exceptions are ‘I’ and ‘you’ which go with plural verbs.


  1. They play soccer very well.
  2. Paul and Silas pray every day.
  3. I sing a new song when I am happy.
  4. You like

Past Tense

  1. These are events or situations that happened in the past.
  2. I travelled to London last week.
  3. She ate her food yesterday.
  4. They went to shop.
  5. We were tired yesterday.
  6. Akin washed his clothes on Fridays.

Future Tense

This is the expression of future event that has not taken place. It is coming on the way. The two words that we can use to express the future tense are will and shall .Both can be used with I and We.

On the other hands, will is used with other pronouns such as: you, she, he, it etc. Eg

  1. I shall travel next year.
  2. We shall meet next week.
  3. You will do the work again.
  4. They will pay your money.
  5. She will bring it for us.


Adverbs are words that describe verbs, adjectives or another adverb in same sentence. Examples of adverbs are: quickly, slowly, beautifully, always, often, soon, there etc.

Types of Adverbs

(i) Adverb of time: yesterday, today, later, soon, now etc.

They came here 5times yesterday.

(ii) Adverb of manner: boldly, correctly, accurately, clearly, majestically, slowly, quickly etc

He answers the question correctly.

(iii) Adverb of place: Here, there, inside, outside, in, out etc.

She was here when I saw him.

(iv) Adverb of condition: if, unless, until, in as much as, etc.

His father will pay his school fees if

(v) Adverb of purpose: so that, in order to, etc.

He slept early so that he could wake up early the following day.


  1. Define tenses.
  2. Give ten examples of sentences in present, past, and future respectively.
  3. Define an adverb.
  4. Explain five types of adverbs.
  5. State five sentences containing adverbs.


Define past tense and give five sentences in the past tense.


Define tenses and give five examples of sentences in the present form.

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