I always thought there were three tenses: past, present, and future.

As usual, when it comes to grammar, I was wrong. There are simple, progressive, perfect, and perfect progressive. Yeah, a lot…and kind of an acrobatic feat to wrap your brain around.

Today: The Simple Tense.

The simple tenses describe something that happens/happened/will happen at one time (past & future) but in the present occurs regularly…I know, kind of confusing, but it breaks down like this:

Simple Present: “It rains in Seattle.”  The sentence is describing something that happens on a regular basis in Seattle (and has happened in Seattle and—barring some kind of apocalypse—will continue to happen in Seattle).

Simple Past: “It rained yesterday.”  The rain began and ended. It’s a one time event (because yesterday is a one time event).

Simple Future: “It will rain tomorrow.” Again, like the Simple Past, it’s something that will happen once (tomorrow).