To be or not to be GCSE home learning

EdPlace's Year 1 Home Learning English Language Lesson: Tenses

Looking for short lessons to keep your child engaged and learning? Our experienced team of teachers have created English, maths and science lessons for the home, so your child can learn no matter where they are. And, as all activities are self-marked, you really can encourage your child to be an independent learner.  

Get them started on the lesson below and then jump into our teacher-created activities to practice what they've learnt. We've recommended five to ensure they feel secure in their knowledge - 5-a-day helps keeps the learning loss at bay (or so we think!).

Are they keen to start practising straight away? Head to the bottom of the page to find the activities. 

Now...onto the lesson!


KS1 Requirements for English
Year 1 students should learn how to use: the present and past tenses correctly and consistently including the progressive form


What are the Tenses?

How many of you are sitting there thinking, “I am sure I should know what these are…”?  In Year 2 your child is introduced to the idea of writing when actions have taken place. They are introduced to the idea that some actions may have already taken place, and some might be yet to happen. They are taught how they can communicate this in both their speech and in their writing so that the reader understands at what point in time something has happened.

As adults, we talk and write in the correct tense without thinking about it, but for children this is developmental. From a young age, many children mix up their tenses when talking and it is with age and maturity that they gain a better understanding of using the correct tense when they talk. However, tense is often a concept that confuses many children and it is common for children of young primary age to swap tenses halfway through their writing. 

We’re confident that by the end of this article your child will be able to:

1) Understand what is meant by past, present and future tense

2) Explain when each tense should be used and give examples

3) Apply this skill by consistently writing sentences using the correct tense


Step 1: It's all about timing!

Before we get started it's important that both you and your child understand what is meant by the past and present tense. The tense is all about when something has taken place. It is all about timing! The tense of a sentence determines when it is happening. For instance, most stories that read to our children take place in the past tense. We are telling them a story about something that has already taken place. If something is happening right now, we call this the present tense. If an action is about to happen it is the future tense. 

Generally, the past tense is used when it comes to writing fiction stories or recounts. The present tense is used more when it comes to writing non-fiction texts such as; instructions or recipes. 

Look at the sentence below. The same sentence has been written in all three tenses to show you the difference between them.


Past tense- There once was a girl who lived in a forest.

Present tense- The girl was living in the forest.

Future tense- The girl is going to live in the forest.

The first thing you could do to help your child grasp this concept is to make sure they can recognise which tense a sentence is written in. 

Let’s have a go at doing this ourselves!


Look at the sentences below and identify if they are written in the past, present or future tense.

1) The boy jumped high in the air.

2) James is running very fast.

3) I walk to the shops every day.

4) He will be cycling to the bus stop.

5) I read the story to the children.


1) Past

2) Present

3) Present

4) Future

5) Past

How did you do? Hopefully, you've been able to distinguish between the different tenses. As your child moves into KS2 they will learn to distinguish between the different tenses in more detail, learning about simple tenses and progressive tenses, but let’s not worry about that right now! For now, your child just needs to be able which tense is being used.

It can be a good idea to try reading your child their favourite story using each tense. The more familiar they become with hearing each one the more confident they will become at using the correct tense in their writing.


Step 2: How do we write the correct tense?

Now we've talked through examples of each tense and hopefully, you've been able to tell the difference between each one. It is now time to have a go at writing in the correct tense for ourselves.

Let's look at what actually changes in a sentence when we change tenses.

I ran up the hill.

I am running up the hill.

I will run up the hill.

What's happening is that the verb (doing word) is changing depending on when the action is taking place. In the example above the verb is ‘run’. As your child becomes more confident with writing they will begin to use a variety of verbs that describe different actions.  Discuss with your child what a verb is. Explain that a word that describes what 'someone is doing' is a verb. You could build up a word bank of different action words. For example; jump, skip, run, sing, dance.  When it comes to writing in the correct tense, we change the tense of the verb. They do through by learning to add or change the suffix at the end of a verb. 

Suffix: A group of letters added to the end of a word. They can change the meaning of the root word. Common suffixes include; s, ed, ing, ly and tion.

There are different spelling rules that come with adding each suffix. The most common suffix that will be used is ‘ed’. This changes the verb to the past tense. They will learn to add the suffix ‘ing’ when changing verbs to the present tense.  Now to go on we need to explore a few spelling rules. Changing the tense of a verb is an important spelling skill for both you and your child to understand. Now, in some cases, if a verb is ‘regular’ (ends in two consonants) the suffix ‘ed’ or ‘ing’ can just be added onto the end of the verb without having to do anything.

A good exercise to do with your child is to change the verbs into past and present tense.  Why not try turning the regular verbs below into both the past and present tense forms

1) walk

2) help

3) play

4) show

5) watch

Answers - Past tense

1) walked

2) helped

3) played

4) showed

5) watched

Answers - Present tense

1) walking

2) helping

3) playing

4) showing

5) watching


Step 3: More spelling rules... but don't panic!

Right so hopefully you feel confident in knowing which suffix can be added to the verb to change the tense of a sentence. To progress, we need to just go over a few more spelling rules. 

When adding ‘ed’ or ‘ing’ to a verb ending in ‘e’, your child needs to remove the ‘e’ first. 


dance - dancing - danced 

joke - joking - joked 

close - closing - closed 

The second rule is that when adding -ed or -ing to a verb that has one syllable and ends in a single consonant after a vowel, your child will need to double the consonant before adding the ‘ed’ or ‘ing’.

shop - shopping - shopped

hug - hugging - hugged 

pat - patting – patted

The only letter where this doesn’t happen is the letter ‘x’, as this is never doubled. For example, mix - mixed – mixing.


Step 4: Have a Go Yourself!

Hopefully, we have grasped the concept of past, present and future tense. The spelling rules sound complicated but children pick these up quickly.


Can you write the verbs below in the past tense. Think about which suffix needs to be added. Remember your spelling rules.

1) brush

2) skip

3) wash

4) bake

5) jump


1) brushed

2) skipped

3) washed

4) baked

5) jumped


Now let’s have a go at identifying which tense has been used in the sentences below.

1) Ralph fell off his bike and hurt his leg.

2) Zoe opened her birthday presents.

3) The mouse is scuttling through the wood.

4) Mum and dad will clean tomorrow.

5) The children are finishing their game.


1) Ralph fell off his bike and hurt his leg. - Past

2) Zoe opened her birthday presents. - Past

3) The mouse is scuttling through the wood. Present

4) Mum and dad will clean tomorrow. - Future

5) The children are finishing their game. – Present


Step 5: Activities

We hope your child is feeling more confident about how to approach unseen poetry! If so, now is the perfect time for you to put their skills to the test. Here are some activities which will help to consolidate their learning. We recommend doing them in this order so that their learning builds progressively.

All activities are created by teachers and automatically marked. Plus, with an EdPlace subscription, we can automatically progress your child at a level that's right for them. Sending you progress reports along the way so you can track and measure progress, together - brilliant! 


Activity 1 - Understand the Present and Past Tense 1

Activity 2 - Understand the Present and Past Tense 2

Activity 3 -Understand the Present and Past Tense 3

Activity 4 - Practise Your Tenses: Changing from Past to Present

Activity 5 - The Past Tense: Using Irregular Verbs


Possible Answers

Love is like the wild rose-briar, the poet uses a simile possible suggesting that love is sometimes painful (thorns and unpredictable ‘wild’ Additionally – roses are annual flowers (suggesting love blooms at certain life stages.

Friendship like the holly-tree— Perennial tree – suggesting friendship lasts longer than love. 

The holly is dark when the rose-briar blooms This could suggest when a new love ‘blooms’ friendship is neglected but still alive and constant.  

But which will bloom most constantly? A rhetorical question ends the stanza allowing the reader to reflect on the ideas linked back to the question.


Keep going! Looking for more activities, different subjects or year groups?

Click the button below to view the EdPlace English, maths, science and 11+ activity library

All English, maths and science from Year 1 - GCSE