I'm new to this community. Why verb tenses names are so-called? For example why do we some people say "Present simple" instead of where others say "Simple present", and so on.

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    I think your premise is incorrect, as per @Bahaa's answer. But I'm not closevoting because someone may have something useful to say about the arguments for and against each different word order that does occur in such contexts. Commented Feb 25, 2016 at 20:55
  • Thank you! Do you recommend editing my question? Commented Feb 25, 2016 at 20:57
  • I've made a change using "strikethrough" so my first comment still makes sense. But if you don't like the way I've done it, please feel free to "revert" to the original or edit it yourself. Commented Feb 25, 2016 at 21:02
  • It's ok. I didn't know that "Simple Present" is legal before! Thank you! Commented Feb 25, 2016 at 21:05
  • related: A subject close to my heart
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Feb 25, 2016 at 21:48

2 Answers 2


English verbs have 5 controlling factors:

Voice: active or passive

Tense: past (preterite) or present

Aspect1: recently completed (perfect) or not

Aspect2: uncompleted (progressive) or not

Mood: actual or hypothetical(the modal auxiliaries)

Each of these features is binary (not counting the different modals), so there are 32 different ways to state a verb (not counting the infinitive).

'Simple' means that the 2 Aspect options are 'off'. The ordering of the options is not important (- we don't yet know how the brain does it).

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    Thank you! I'm not a native English speaker, can you make it more clear, please? Commented Feb 25, 2016 at 21:12
  • @MahmudMuhammadNaguib Aml's answer is among the clearest and simplest I've seen on this topic. If some parts are still unclear to you, you need to tell Aml which parts you'd like more information on. Otherwise you're asking him to guess what you mean.
    – Lawrence
    Commented Feb 26, 2016 at 0:33

When we describe tenses in English, we usually put past, present and future before simple and perfect which will precede continuous (progressive), for example:

Present Perfect Continuous (Not Perfect Continuous Present or Continuous Perfect Present)
Past Perfect Continuous (Not Perfect Continuous Past or Continuous Perfect Past)

However, if you replace Perfect with Simple in the above examples, we don't usually use Simple as it is not absolutely required, for example:

Present Continuous
Past Continuous
Present Perfect
Past Perfect

As Aml explained, Simple just indicates there is no aspect of Perfect and Continuous, in other words, Present Simple means Present without Perfect and Continuous.

Present Simple and Simple Present have the same meaning and whichever you use is not likely to cause confusion.

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