What are the tenses of English & Chinese?

There are 16 tenses in Chinese…

The concept of tense has 2 components: time and aspect, since time is conceived of differently is different languages, let’s confine ourselves to English, where time can be divided into past, present, future in the past (e.g., when you reflect on a comment about time a future event that you made on a past occasion). Aspect refers to the manner in which an action takes place. The distinction of aspect made in English are indefinite, continuous / progressive, perfect, and perfect continuous / progressive.

These 4 times and 4 aspects a matrix which generates a total of 16 different verb forms:

1. I write a letter.

2. I wrote a letter.

3. I will write a letter.

4. (I said) I would write a letter.

5. I am writing a letter.

6. I was writing a letter.

7. I will be writing a letter.

8. (I said) I would be writing a letter.

9. I have written a letter.

10. (I thought) I had written a letter.

11. I will have written a letter.

12. (I said) I would have written a letter.

13. I have been writing a letter.

14. (I though) I had been writing a letter.

15. I will have been writing a letter.

16. (I said) I would have been writing a letter.

There are 12 tenses in English…


a.現在時態(present tense)

He turns pale.

b.過去時態(past tense)

He went to town yesterday.

c.未來時態(future tense)

No good man will soon be rich.


a.現在完成時態(present perfect tense)

I have finished this lesson.

b.過去完成時態(past perfect tense)

I had finished my work before you came.

c.未來完成時態(future perfect tense)

He will have left home before you arrive.


a.現在進行時態(present progressive tense)

He is writing a letter now.

b.過去進行時態(past progressive tense)

While he was reading, a bullet flew in through the window.

c.未來進行時態(future progressive tense)

Tomorrow at this moment, we shall be working in the factory.


a.現在完成進行時態(present perfect progressive tense)

I have been waiting for a long time.

b.過去完成進行時態(past perfect progressive tense)

An hour ago when UI opened the window, I saw that it had been snowing.

c.未來完成進行時態(future perfect progressive tense)

By the end of this year, I shall have been studying in this school for four years.