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Run-On Sentences

Run-on sentences occur when writers try to combine more than one idea into a single sentence. They cause confusion because readers are not sure when one idea ends and the next one begins. Read our entry and test your knowledge with our quiz!

Verb Tenses

Verb tenses tell the reader when an act, state, or condition takes place.

 1. The simple present tense is used to describe something that is currently happening or that happens regularly.

Example: John likes all fruits, but he particularly likes bananas.

2. The simple past tense is used to describe something that has already happened.

Example: I ate pasta yesterday for dinner.

3. The simple future tense is used to describe something that will happen, but that has not happened yet.

Example: The dog will run away if you let him off his leash.

4. The continuous tense is used to describe something that is happening continuously or was/will be happening for a period of time. The continuous tense is formed with the verb “to be” and an “-ing” verb. 

Example of Present Continuous: I am walking towards the museum right now.

Example of Past Continuous: The doorbell was ringing for ten minutes before I heard it.

Example of Future Continuous: The baby will be sleeping by the time we get home.

It is also used to describe states of being that occur before, after, or during particular events:

Example: I was feeling sorry for myself, so I went shopping and picked out these beautiful hats.

For other uses of the “-ing” verb form, see our page on gerunds and participles.

5. The perfect tense is used to call attention to something that has already happened in reference to another event. The perfect tense is formed with the verb “to have” and another verb.

Example of Present Perfect: Molly has studied French before. 

The present perfect describes actions that took place at some point or points in the past. 

Example of Past Perfect: I had walked four miles by the time I realized my shoelace was untied.

The past perfect describes actions that took place before another action. In this example, we know that the action of walking four miles took place before the realization that the shoelace was untied. 

Example of Future Perfect: Noah will have graduated from medical school by the time he is twenty-eight.

The future perfect lets us know that one event will have occurred (such as graduating from medical school) will occur by the time another event (a 28th birthday) passes. 

Some verbs are irregular because they take unusual forms in different tenses. See our entry on Irregular Verbs for more information.