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ChartActive Verb Tenses Past Simple Present Future A plan for future action. will cook e.g.

He will cook tomorrow. An action that will be happening over time, in the future, when something else happens. will be cooking e.g. He will be cooking when you come. An action that will end before another action or time in the future. will have cooked e.g. He will have cooked dinner by the time you come. An action occurring over time, in the future, before another action or time in the future. will have been cooking

An action that ended at a point An action that exists , is in the past. usual, or is repeated. cooked cook / cooks e.g. He cooks dinner every Friday.

(time clue)* Progressive be + main verb +ing

e.g. He cooked yesterday.

An action was happening (past An action that is happening progressive) when another now. action happened (simple past). was / were cooking am / is / are cooking

(time clue)* Perfect have + main verb

e.g. He was cooking when the e.g. He is cooking now. phone rang. An action that ended before another action or time in the past. had cooked An action that happened at an unspecified time in the past. has / have cooked e.g. He has cooked many meals. An action occurring over time that started in the past and continues into the present. has / have been cooking

(time clue)* Perfect Progressive have + be + main verb + ing

e.g. He had cooked the dinner when the phone rang. An action that happened over time, in the past, before another time or action in the past. had been cooking

(time clue)*

e.g. He had been cooking for a e.g. He has been cooking for e.g. He will have been long time before he took over an hour. cooking all day by the time lessons. she gets home.

ChartCommon Time Clues and Verb Tense Past Simple Simple Past yesterday last year/ month/ etc. before for five weeks/days/etc. one year/ month ago Progressive Past Progressive while when Present Simple Present every morning / day / etc. always usually frequently sometimes never occasionally seldom Present Progressive now right now this week/minute/etc. Present Perfect until now since ever never many times/ weeks/years/etc. for three hours/ minutes/etc/ Present Perfect Progressive for the past year/ month/ etc. for the last 2 months/ weeks/etc. up to now for 6 weeks/hours/etc. since Future Simple Future tomorrow tonight next week/month/etc. soon in the future

Future progressive when after as soon as before Future Perfect by the time you go (somewhere) by the time you do (something) already


Past Perfect before already by the time until then/last week/etc. after

Perfect Progressive Past Perfect progressive before for one week/hour/etc. since

Future Perfect Progressive by the time for ten days/weeks/etc. by

COMMON AUXILIARY VERBS: In the following examples, the auxiliary verbs are bolded and the main verbs are underlined.

TO BE: is, am, are, was, were, been

o o o o o

The commission is using stocks to purchase development rights. The agencies are restricting logging and road building in the forests. Brill was lagging in the polls behind Richards. The agencies were completing the inventories. Moskowitz has been offered a similar project.

TO DO: do, did, does

o o o

Volunteers do spend their weekends mapping the nation's forests. Clinton did agree to ban logging on 40 million acres. Time does run out for these wildlands.

TO HAVE: has, had, have Brent has planned this party down to the last detail. The governor had exhausted all of the options. SHALL, WILL, MAY, CAN, SHOULD, COULD, WOULD,
o o o o o o o o

This portion will not be eligible for protection under the 1964 Wilderness Act. The Clinton Administration may try to make the most of public support for preserving open space. Only Congress can formally protect lands under the Wilderness Act. They should limit its real estate holdings. Preservation could become one of Clinton's most significant accomplishments. The legislation would provide guaranteed funding.


1. Twelve (12) verbs, when used as auxiliary verbs, combine with the base form only (base form = infinitive minus to; for example: to go = infinitive; go = base form). will shall can would should could may might must do does did

OK: I will go. You can go. He should go. We may go. They do go. Not OK: I will going. You can gone. He should goes. We may went. They do going.

2. Seven (7) verbs, when used as auxiliary verbs, combine with present participles (base form plus ing: for example, going ) OR past participles (I have walked. I have gone.) am is are was were be been

OK: I am going. He is going. He is gone. You are going. You are gone. She was going. She was gone. We were going. We were gone. They will be going. They will be gone. It has been going. It has been gone. Not OK: I am go. I am went. He is goes. He was wenting. She will be goning.

3. Four (4) verbs, when used as auxiliary verbs, combine with past participles only. have has had being

OK: I have gone. He has gone. I had gone. I was being robbed. I have chased. He has chased. I had chased. I was being chased. Not OK: I have go. I have going. He has go. He has going. I had go . I had going. I was being rob. I was being robbing. I have chase. I have chasing. He has chase. He has chasing. I had chase. I had chasing. I was being chase. I was being chasing. 4. Of the 23 auxiliaries, nine (9) are auxiliary verbs ONLY. will shall can would should could may might must

OK: I will go. I shall go. I can go. I would go. I should go. I could go. I may go. I might go. I must go. Not OK: I will here. I shall there. I can this. I would that. I should him. I could her. I may them. I might it. I must us.

5. Of the 23 auxiliaries, fourteen (14) are auxiliary verbs OR principal verbs. do be OK: Auxiliary does being did been am have Principal is has are had was were