The proper use of tenses in English grammar has long been considered essential for clear communication. However, recent claims have surfaced, suggesting that one can ignore tenses altogether without hindering comprehension. In this blog post, we will delve into the origins of this idea, examine its validity, and present scientific evidence that demystifies the myth surrounding tenses in English.

Why You Don’t Need to Worry About Tenses in English

Do you know how many tenses there are in English?

The answer is 12.

Perhaps, when I mention this, you might think, « I’m not entirely confident in my ability to use half of them when professional public speaking. » Alternatively, you might be familiar with them in theory but rarely apply them in practical usage.

One of the primary concerns shared by the people I work with is this: they learned English at school, where they were introduced to various tenses, but now they either have forgotten them or feel uncertain about using them accurately. Can you relate to this situation?

Many of you reading this are French, and you probably recall studying countless tenses and conjugations both in English and French during your school days. While in French, eloquence and a rich language are highly valued, in English, particularly in the business context, precision and conciseness take precedence. Unlike in French, most English-speaking individuals (often referred to as Anglo-Saxons, although I dislike that term 😅) only dedicated a minimal amount of time in school to studying intercultural communication.

Your usage of only three tenses doesn’t matter; what’s important is delivering your message clearly!

Today, I will present scientific evidence to convince you to stop worrying about tenses!

(Before we get to that…are you looking to improve your fluency in English for work? Why not get my mini-training on fluency – 10 videos with tips to help you speak confidently and fluently.)

I want to share with you a research study conducted by Uthman Alzuhairy, which reveals the frequency of each verb tense used in academic writing. It’s essential to understand that academic writing is significantly more formal than any kind of spoken language, meaning that more complex tenses (such as the present perfect) are even less common in spoken communication.

Source: The Frequency of The Twelve Verb Tenses in Academic Papers Written by Native Speakers by Uthman Alzuhairy

Biber and Reppen conducted additional research, which demonstrates that in conversational settings, the simple aspect (comprising present simple, past simple, and simple future) is consistently the most commonly used verb form.




In conclusion, scientific evidence overwhelmingly supports the notion that tenses are indeed vital in English. While prioritizing fluency and communication is commendable, neglecting tenses entirely can lead to misunderstandings. Learners are encouraged to strike a balance between effective communication and grammatical accuracy to express themselves clearly and confidently while public speaking in English. Understanding the significance of tenses empowers individuals to navigate diverse language situations with ease, leading to enhanced business communication skills overall.

As you continue to improve your English language and public speaking skills, remember to concentrate on using the present simple, past simple, and future simple tenses correctly. These fundamental tenses are commonly used in both academic and everyday contexts, enabling you to convey your thoughts accurately and succinctly. Embracing the importance of tenses will undoubtedly enhance your language journey and ensure public speaking confidence.