Past, present and future tenses
Past tense can often be recognised because the verb is written as if it happened in the past – for example, ran (rather than runs, is running, or will run). Other key past-tense words to look out for include was, were and had – for example:
He was quiet in his room
They were quiet in their room
He had been quiet in his room
PAST = PAST TENSE OF VERB or WAS/HAD
Present tense can often be recognised from the way the verb is written, for example, sees rather than saw or will see. Look out also for key present-tense words such as am, is, has and have.
PRESENT = PRESENT TENSE OF VERB or AM/IS/HAS/HAVE
When future tense is used, you will often find the words will or shall in the sentence. May (e.g., He may join the army next year) is also an indication of future tense where the writer or speaker is perhaps not certain that something will happen, but feels it could well do.
FUTURE = WILL/SHALL/MAY