Basic English Grammar
Tanggal Terbit: February 25, 2010


We have 3 dimensions of time, they are :

1. Past time
2. Present Time
3. Future Time

To express the point of time to someone else, we can use the name of the time, e.g. yesterday, tomorrow, last year, next week, a few days ago, etc. On the other hand, Name of time gives us when something happen.
In the illustration above, we are in the present time. When we would like to say something happens in the past time, we can use like yesterday, .... ago, or last ... .And, When we would like to express something will happen or, based on a prediction, will happen in the future time, we can use the name of the time, like tomorrow or later or next .... .
Those names of time describe the point of the event we do or someone else does.

Tenses is a group of time which is formed to specialize the point of time when something happen. Here, we can find that there are 16 (sixteen) kinds of tenses. All of them are different in tendency or usage as well as different in pattern or sentence structure. However, all of the sentence structures in tenses have two basic sentences, namely, Nominal and Verbal Sentence. Let me say that every tenses has the two basic sentences.

By using a tense, we can omit the name of a time (adverb of time). So, When the adverb of time is used, the sentence gets some information more completely.

Compare these two sentences!

1. She cooked in the kitchen.
2. She cooked in the kitchen an hour ago.

/An hour ago/ provides more information about what /she/ did in the past time. Without the adverb of time, we do not know when it occurs because /she cooked in the kitchen/ gives us general information which occurs in the past time. But when did it happen? here, we do not yet, do we?

From the pattern above we just know the determiner, that is, the suffix /-ed/ as a characteristic of simple past form. When the sentence turns into /I shut the door/, we will get confused because /I shut the door/ uses the lexical-meaning-verb /shut/ which has the same form either in Infinitive, past form or past participle form. (look at Irregular Verb). That will be different when the adverb of time is used.

For examples:

I shut the door.
I shut the door yesterday.

In the sentence above, the adverb of time /yesterday/ emphasize the existance of /shut/ that the /shut/ form is in simple past tense.

All sentence in English Language include the tense usages. This is what makes English language uniquee among others around the world as well as arabic language.

However, both of them (either pattern or adverb of time) are very important.

Now Study this follows!

In Indonesia language, when we would like to express something happens in the past time, we have to use the adverb of time. without this adverb, we (although we knows sometimes) get difficulty at what time or when the event takes place.

For examples:

1. Saya menjual sebuah kebun. (I sell/sold/have sold  my farm.)
2. Saya menjual sebuah kebun bulan yang lalu. (I sold My farm a month ago)

The adverb of time, here, is /bulan yang lalu/ which is the same as /a month ago/. Without the adverb, we don't know the exact time when it happens. When /bulan yang lalu/ or /a month ago/ is used, we knows when it occurs.


There are many characteristics or determiners in tenses, they are:

1.Adverb of time
2.Form of a verb being used
3.Form of auxilliary
4.Form of /BE/

Adverb of Time in present tenses

e.g. now, today, recently/lately, for (about), since, nowadays, currently, At this moment, etc.

Form of a verb being used

e.g. first verb of present verb (either with suffix /-s/, /-es/ or not), Past form verb or the second verb. Past form verb, commonly, uses the suffix /-ed/ or /-d/ at the lexical-meaning-verb and the third verb or past participle form, which commonly uses the suffix /-ed/ or /-d/ at the lexical-meaning-verb.
Be carefull with the Irregular verb because some verbs can be similar in form either in infinitive, past form verb or past participle.

For examples:

Verb-1 : Shut
Verb-2 : Shut
Verb-3 : Shut

And, there are many kinds of similarities like above, e.g., hurt, set, put, let, etc.

Form of Auxilliary

e.g. /do/ and /does/ which is commonly used in present simple. /did/ is for the past simple. /have/, /has/ or /had/ in the perfect tenses. /will/, /shall/ or would/should is for future tenses.

Form of /BE/

e.g. is, am, or are is as an auxilliary as well as a structural-meaning-verb (In Nominal Sentence), /was/, /were/ in the past tense, /been/ in perfect tense and /be/ in the future tense.


e.g. /-s/, /-es/ or without the suffixes in simple present tense, /-d/ or /-ed/ in Simple past tense, etc.

For beginner, I recommend you to learn 5-tenses-plus as your basic tenses, they are:

1.Simple Present Tense
2.Present Continuous Tense
3.Simple Past Tense
4.Present Perfect Tense
5.Simple Future Tense and Modal Auxilliary.

For further study about the 5-tenses-plus, we will discuss them next time.

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