CAT Grammar: Introduction to Verb Tenses

Sunday, May 5th, 2019

CAT Grammar Verb Tenses

Verbs and Tenses are the basic parts of English Grammar. We all have studied about verbs and tenses in our school days. But what does verb tenses refer to? If you recollect, the actions words- verbs take various forms depending upon the time frame (present, past, future) as well as state/aspect (simple, perfect, progressive). Hence the name ‘verb tenses’. But how are verb tenses relevant to CAT? Well, questions based on sentence correction check your knowledge of verb tenses.

The usage of verb tenses varies according to tense, person, and number. As you know, verbs form an essential part of the sentence structure. So, you need to be aware of the fundamental rules of verb tenses to gain hold of sentence correction questions in CAT grammar. Well, as you would expect, each of the present, past and future verb tense is subdivided into simple, progressive/continuous, perfect continuous/progressive and perfect types. The different kinds of verb tenses are:

  1. Simple Present
  2. Present Continuous/Progressive
  3. Present Perfect
  4. Present Perfect Progressive
  5. Simple Past
  6. Past Continuous/Progressive
  7. Past Perfect
  8. Past Perfect Progressive
  9. Simple Future
  10. Future Continuous/Progressive
  11. Future Perfect
  12. Future Perfect Progressive

Let’s discuss the various types of verb tenses with examples:

CAT Grammar: Simple Present

As the name states, the simple present tense refers to the present state of something/someone or a habitual action. In case of habitual actions, the sentences are often accompanied by words like sometimes, always, often, usually, seldom, never, on Sundays, rarely, every day, etc. Examples:

  • studymanagement at the University of Washington.
  • She studies grammar every day.
  • The new factory generatesa lot of industrial waste.

CAT Grammar: Present Continuous/Progressive

How do you state an activity that is currently in progress? Here comes the use of present continuous/progressive tense. The activity may have started in past and is expected to continue in the future. The keywords to identify this tense are: right now, now, this quarter, etc. Let’s understand with the help of examples:

  • Shekhar is standing on the balcony.
  • Anne is studying management at NIT.
  • The students are walking back home.

An interesting thing about the above two forms is that both can be used to refer to the future scheduled events. Examples:

  • The plane leaves at 5 p.m. (Simple Present)
  • I am meeting him tomorrow at 2 pm. (Present progressive)

CAT Grammar: Present Perfect 

You may have started/completed something in the past and it still holds relevance or continues in the present. Well, that’s the meaning of a present perfect tense. Let’s explore with the help of examples:

  • have livedhere since 1997.
  • She has studied management from the University of Melbourne.
  • I have had this bag for four years.

You will often find the following words in such sentences: yet, recently, already, just, never, since + a particular time, ever __ times, for + a duration of time, etc. Sometimes, the present perfect verbs are indicative of the future and describe an infinitive.

Example: I hope to have begun preparing for CAT by July.

CAT Grammar: Present Perfect Progressive

As the name suggests, this kind of verb tense refers to an activity that began in the past, continues in the present and is likely continue into the future. Well, you may find it similar to the present perfect tense. Let’s see the difference with the help of few examples:

  • I have been cooking since five o’ clock.
  • His family has been searchingfor a good house to live in.
  • She has been eating a lot of fruits lately.

Well, now you know that it’s a combination of perfect and progressive tense in the present form of verb. You will often find words like for, lately, since, etc. in such kind of sentences. Further, the perfect progressive type of verb tenses rarely feature in sentence correction questions of MBA entrance exams, yet you need to know about these to learn the between perfect and perfect progressive forms.

CAT Grammar: Simple Past

Similar to simple present tense, the simple past tense refers to the simple form of verb to denote something that occurred in the past. This kind of action has already been finished in the past itself. You will come across words like last week, yesterday, this morning (the one that is gone), last month, etc. in such sentences. Examples:

  • Jack studied management from the University of Victoria.
  • The sorceress impressedthe kids with her tricks.
  • John played the violin yesterday.

CAT Grammar: Past Continuous/Progressive

As the name says, this kind of verb tense refers to an activity that was in progress at a particular time in the past. In other words, it makes use of ‘was/were’ along with a present participle form of verb. You will find words like when, while, etc. in such sentences. Examples:

  • Selena was eating when you called.
  • You were studying at college when Rina was a toddler.
  • Alice was waiting for her new dress while Mike was eating pizza.

CAT Grammar: Past Perfect 

As you would expect, the past perfect tense refers to an event that happened before another event of the past. Accordingly, the form of verb used is ‘had’ along with a past participle. The indicator words found in such sentences are: before, already, by the time, etc. Examples:

  • She had already left when they arrived.
  • Wehad been to see him several times before he visited us.
  • Zoya had just finished baking the cake when the guests arrived.

CAT Grammar: Past Perfect Progressive

Combination of past perfect and progressive, this kind of tense refers to the activity that was in progress before another event/activity of the past. Putting it other words, it began, continued and concluded in the past itself. Usually, such sentences are accompanied by words like for, since, etc. Let’s understand with the help of a few examples:

  • He had been looking ather for some time when she turned and smiled.
  • Riya was tired as she had been working hard for a week.
  • Sia had been actively participating in dance competitions before the foot injury.

CAT Grammar: Simple Future

As you would know, this kind of tense simply tells about events that will happen or are likely to happen in the future. Accordingly, the indicator words used in future verb tenses are: tomorrow, next month, next week, etc. Examples:

  • He will go to Singapore next week.
  • They will continue their journey after an hour.
  • Hazel will study management at FMS.
  • I am going to study from five to eight.

CAT Grammar: Future Continuous/Progressive

As you would guess, future continuous tense refers to an activity that will be in progress at a particular time in future. This kind of verb tense is generally used in the form of ‘shall be/will be’ along with the present participle. Examples:

  • The teacher will be arriving any time now.
  • I’ll be staying with my friends for several weeks.
  • Emma will be travellingby bus.

CAT Grammar: Future Perfect 

As the name states, this kind of verb tense refers to an action/event that will be completed by a specific time or before another activity in future. Accordingly, it uses verbs like ‘will have’ along with a past participle. You will usually find words like by the time, when, etc. in such sentences. Let’s discuss with the help of examples:

  • Susan will have finished studying by the time Mark arrives.
  • Most of the students will have found a job by the time they complete graduation.
  • They will have arrivedin Canada by next week.

CAT Grammar: Future Perfect Progressive

As the name says itself, this type of tense is the combination of future perfect and progressive/continuous verb tense. So, this tense describes the action/activity that will be in progress in future before some other activity. Here, the ‘will have been’ form of verb is used along with a present participle. The indicator words used in such sentences are: by the time, for, etc. Examples:

  • By the end of this week, I will have been staying in this house for five years.
  • She will have been studying for three hours by the time her parents come.
  • He will have been driving for four hours by the time he reaches Aunt Lisa’s house.

Now, you know about various kinds of verb tenses and related rules for formation of each type. This will greatly help you spot the verb tense error in Sentence correction questions. Given below is a stepwise approach to handle the related questions:

  1. Firstly, check the sentence for grammatical errors and its type.
  2. Identify the subject and object of the sentence. Now, check if the verb form used is correct for the subject and object of the sentence.
  3. Decide upon the correct form of verb to be used. Finally, evaluate the original form and your answer against the given answer options.

Well, now you are all set to tackle sentence correction questions. Invest a good amount of time in practicing from previous year CAT papers and mock tests.

CAT Grammar Basics – Parts of Speech

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