The 12 English tenses can be confusing.
The best way to understand English tenses is to go out and speak with natives. You will pick up on the nuances and uses without realizing it. However if you need a little extra help, here is a timeline you can use when you are writing or studying. Enjoy!
Present simple: a general ongoing, regular or scheduled activity.
e.g. I run everyday
Present continuous: an action occurring now.
e.g. I am running
Present perfect: an action started in the past that has been completed in the present.
e.g. I have finished my homework!
Present perfect continuous: an action from the past continuing in the present.
e.g. I have been training hard for today’s competition.
Past simple: something that happened in the past.
e.g. I ran home.
Past continuous: an action that happened at a specific moment in the past.
e.g. I was running home when it happened.
Past perfect: an action that happened before another event in the past.
e.g. I had run home before it happened.
Past perfect continuous: : an action that happened before a certain time in the past.
e.g. I had been going to school for a year when it was closed.
Future simple: an action to be completed at some point the future.
e.g. I will go to the restaurant.
Future continuous: an action occurring at a specific point in the future.
e.g. I will be running the next London’s marathon.
Future perfect: an action finishing in the future, before or at the time of another action.
e.g. I will have completed my training in time for the marathon
Future perfect continuous: an action at a certain point in the future, expressing duration.
e.g. I will have been training this sport for 10 years next month.