Answered By: Rachel Willard
Last Updated: May 09, 2017     Views: 763

Verb tense refers to when the action in a sentence takes place—whether it happened in the past, is happening in the present, or will happen in the future.

Most verbs take a past, present, or future tense. This means that the verb may change forms (add an ending, change spellings slightly, etc.) to reflect something that already happened, something that is currently happening or is an ongoing truth/reality, or something that will happen in the future.


  • Past tense: The researcher explained the unusual results.
  • Present tense: Poverty exists in the world even to this day.
  • Future tense: This study will challenge entrepreneurs in their views of the current state of the economy. (Notice that the future tense requires the helping verb, will.)


Also, remember that sometimes sentences might have multiple verb tenses.


  • The goal of this study is [present-tense verb] to determine how the Armed Forces reacted [past-tense verb] to threats of war in the past and to implement strategies that will encourage [future-tense verb] proactive movements rather than reactive movements in the future.

Verb tenses are important to keep consistent throughout your work so that your readers know when the actions you describe are happening. Verb tenses should always be consistent and make sense in the context of your writing.


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