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Present Tenses

Present Simple
A: N: I: subject + verb (present form) subject + dont/doesnt + verb (present form) do/does + subject + verb (present form)

The Present Simple is the most basic tense in the English language. It is an interesting tense because it can be used to express the future. Generally, though, we use it to describe the present activities or to talk about routines or habits. It is often use with the frequency adverbs: always frequently/often usually seldom/rarely nowadays never every week/year sometimes/occasionally from time to time every now and then

John lives in New York. Dogs are better than cats. London is the capital city of France. (! The sentences have not to be true) We leave for work at 7:30 AM every morning. Jerry doesn't teach math at highschool. My grandmother turns 100 this July. The meeting starts at 4 PM. The train leaves at the noon.

Present Continuous
A: N: I: subject + is/are + verb (-ing) subject + isnt/arent + verb (-ing) is/are + subject + verb (-ing)

The Present Continuous is mainly used to express the idea that something is happening at the moment of speaking. The Present Continuous also describes activities generally in progress (not at the moment). Another use of the tense is to talk about temporary actions or future plans. He is eating a dinner. They are swimming in the pool. I'm riding a bike to get to work because my car is broken. (Temporary action) Mike is studying hard to become a doctor. (Longer action in progress) Im writing an adventure book. I'm meeting Katie in the evening. (Future arrangements and plans) Our country is getting richer. (Tendencies or trends) John is always asking stupid questions! (Irritation or anger) Are you meeting David today? He isnt joking.

Present Perfect
A: N: I: subject + has/have + verb (past participle) subject + hasnt + havent + verb (past participle) has/have + subject + verb (past participle)

The Present Perfect is used to express actions that happened at an indefinite time or that began in the past and continue in the present. This tense is also used when an activity has an effect on the present moment. Since and for are very common time expressions use with the Present Perfect. We use for with a period of time. (I have lived here for 20 years.) When talking about a starting point, we use since. (I have lived here since 1960.) I have already had a breakfast. (Indefinite time before now) You should not use this tense with the time expressions like yesterday, a week ago, last year etc. (I have seen she yesterday. / We have gone to Paris last year.) He has finished his work. (so he can now rest. effect on the present moment) Mary has worked as a teacher for over 25 years. (continuation in the present)

Present Perfect Continuous


A: N: I: subject + have/has + been + verb (continuous form) subject + havent/hasnt + been + verb (continuous form) have/has + subject + been + verb (continuous form)

The Present Perfect Continuous (Progressive) has a long and scary name. But don't worry! Read on to learn how to use it. He has been painting the house for 5 hours. I have been working as a fireman since 1973. (Hes still painting it./I still work as a fireman.) Actions that started in the past and continue in the present. I have been waiting for you for half an hour! Look at her eyes. Im sure she has been crying. (Im not waiting anymore because you have come./She stopped crying when she saw them.) Past actions recently stopped. I have been living in Boston for two months. I have been working as a waitress for the past week.

Past Tenses
Past Simple
A: N: I: subject + verb (past form) subject + didnt + verb (present form) did + subject + verb (present form)

We use the Past Simple to talk about actions that happened at a specific time in the past. The actions can be short or long. There can be a few actions happening one after another. He ate the dinner 1 hour ago. (Short past action that is now finished.) I went to college 3 years ago. (Long past action that is now finished.) I slept well last night. (Long past action that is now finished.) I lived in New York for 10 years. (I dont live there anymore. Situation in the past.) He entered a room, lit a cigarette and smiled at the guests. (A series of actions in the past.)

Past Continuous
A: N: I: subject + was/were + verb (-ing) subject + wasnt/werent + verb (-ing) was/were + subject + verb (-ing)

We usually use the Past Continuous to talk about activities that lasted for some time in the past. The actions can be interrupted by something or can be happening at the same time. I was watching TV yesterday in the evening. (Duration in the past.) She was sleeping on the coach. (Duration in the past.) The dog was barking. (Duration in the past.) We use the Past Continuous to talk about actions or situations that lasted for some time in the past, and whose duration time is unknown or unimportant. I was talking with James when the telephone rang. (Interrupted action in progress.) While Angela was playing tennis, the plane crashed. (Interrupted action in progress.) When Bob was painting windows, it started raining. (Interrupted action in progress.) The Past Continuous is often used when one action in progress is interrupted by another action in the past. The Past simple is used in such sentences. We usually use when or while to link these two sentences. I was singing when/while she was cooking. (Actions in progress at the same time.) When/while she was cooking, I was singing. (Actions in progress at the same time.) We also use this tense to talk about two or more activities happening at the same. We usually use when or while to link the two sentences.

I was wondering if you could open the window. (Polite question.) I was thinking you might help me with this problem. (Polite question.) If we want to ask a polite question, we can use the Past Continuous. Even though the sentences have a Past Continuous form, they refer to the present moment. Their meaning is similar to the "could you" sentences, but they are more polite. She was always coming late for dinner! (Irritation.) Remember that you can also express irritation over somebody or something in the past.

Past Perfect
A: N: I: subject + had + verb (past participle form) subject + hadnt + verb (past participle form) had + subject + verb (past participle form)

We use the Past Perfect tense to emphasize that an action in the past finished before another action in the past started. This tense is also used in reported speech, third conditional sentences, or to show dissatisfaction with the past. I had finished my homework before I went playing football. (A completed action before another action in the past.) John had never been to London before we went there last year. (A completed action before another action in the past.) The first use of this tense is to emphasize that one action in the past happened before another action in the past. People (especially native speakers) do not use the Past Perfect in above sentences very often. For example, they will say: After I washed my car, I went to fill up., rather than After I had washed my car, I went to fill up. If we had hone by taxi, we wouldnt have been late. (Third conditional.) If Mary had studied harder, she would have passed the exam. (Third conditional.) This use is the so-called hypothetical past: we are talking about things that never happened. Mary said she had already seen this film. (Reported speech.) He asked if I had read Harry Potter. (Reported speech.) I wish I had taken more food. Im hungry now. (Dissatisfaction with the past.)

Past Perfect Continuous


A: N: I: subject + had + been + verb (continuous form) subject + had + not + been + verb (continuous form) had + subject + been + verb (continuous form)

The Past Perfect Continuous is used to talk about actions or situations that were in progress before some other actions or situations. There are also other uses. The boys had been quarreling for half an hour when we arrived home. (Duration of a past action.) I had been dating Angelina for 3 years before we got married. (Duration of a past action.) John was in a detention because he had been misbehaving. (Showing cause.) The road was wet because it had been raining. (Showing cause.) I had to ho on a diet because I had been eating too much sugar. (Showing cause.) If it hadnt been raining, we would have gone to the park. (Third conditional.) She said she knew Charlie had been lying to her. (Reported speech.)

Future Tenses
Future Simple
A: N: I: subject + will + verb subject + will not + verb will + subject + verb

The Future Simple is used in many situations such as when making promises or predictions. You can also use going to to express future. We use it to express predictions based on observing the present situation. (Its going to rain. Look at the clouds.) I promise I will buy you this toy. (Promise.) Promise you will never leave me! (Promise.) Dont worry! I will help you with this problem. (Unplanned action.) I will close the window. Its starting to rain. (Unplanned action.) It will rain in a moment. (Prediction based on experience or intuition.) It will get more difficult. (Prediction based on experience or intuition.) She will bit her lip if she is thinking or if shes nervous about something. (Habit.) He will always make noise when we are sleeping. (Habit.) You can also use shall to express future in Future Simple. It is more formal than will, and usually appears in formal speeches, agreements or guarantees. (The guarantee shall be provided on the following conditions)

Future Continuous
A: N: I: subject + will + be + verb (-ing) subject + will not + be + verb (-ing) will + subject + be + verb (-ing)

We mainly use the Future Continuous to indicate that we will be in the middle of doing something in a specified time in the future. If you want to learn about somebody's intentions, you should always use the Future Continuous rather than the Present Simple. Using the Future Simple implies that you want to influence somebody's decision. Questions become much more objective if formed in the Future Continuous. Will you come home? (= I want you to come home.) Will you be coming home? (= I just want to know.) In an hour, I will be sitting in front of my TV. (Future actions in progress.) In the evening, I will be baking a birthday cake. (Future actions in progress.) He wont be coming any time soon. He is still at the office. (Guess.) Beatrice will be getting married very soon. (Guess.) Will you be coming home before or after 8 PM? (Polite question.) Will you be going to the supermarket? I have something to buy. (Polite question.)

Future Perfect
A: N: I: subject + will + have + past participle subject + will not + have + past participle will + subject + have + past participle

We use the Future Perfect tense to talk about actions that will be finished before some point in the future. We also use this tense to express situations that will last for a specified period of time at a definite moment in the future. The last use is to express certainty that an action was completed. Common time expressions: by by the time before by tomorrow / 7 oclock / next month until / till Before they come, we will have cleaned up the house. (Completion before a specified point in the future.) John will have eaten the whole, by the time the birthday party starts. (Completion before a specified point in the future.) By the next year, I will have known Monica for 30 years. (Duration in the future.) Patrick will have lived in Hong Kong for 20 years be 2012. (Duration in the future.) The train will have left by now. We have to look for another way to get there. (Im sure the train has left. Certainty about the near past.) The guests will have arrived at the hotel by now. (Im sure the guests have arrived at the hotel. Certainty about the near past.)

Future Perfect Continuous


A: N: I: subject + will + have + been + verb (-ing) subject + will not + have + been + verb (-ing) will + subject + have + been + verb (-ing)

We use the Future Perfect Continuous tense to express situations that will last for a specified period of time at a definite moment in the future. We also use this tense to express certainty about the cause of some future situation. Common time expressions: by tomorrow / 8 oclock this year / month / week next year / month / week Before they come, we will have been cleaning the house for 5 hours. (Duration.) By the next year, Ben and his wife will have been living together for 50 years. (Duration.) We use this tense to express situations that will last for a specified period of time at a definite moment in the future. It is important that we expect these situations to last longer. By this time, he will have been working for 12 hours, so he will be very tired. (Cause.) We will be making a rest stop in half an hour, because you will have been driving the car for 6 hours by then. (Cause.) English speakers also use this tense when they want to express certainty about the cause of some future situation.