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The Complete List of English Verb Tenses

Present

Simple
speak / speaks

Past

spoke

Future

will speak
going to speak

Continuous
am/is/are
speaking
was/were
speaking
will be
speaking

Perfect
have/has
spoken
had
spoken
will have
spoken

Perfect Continuous
have been
speaking
had been
speaking
will have been
speaking

Present Simple
For general facts:
--This shirt costs ten dollars.
--We speak English.
For actions that happen regularly:
-- I take guitar lessons on Wednesday nights.
--Sarah sometimes eats lunch in her office.

Present Continuous
For a continuous action in progress at the moment:
-- Im currently studying biology at university.
--Bill cant talk on the phone right now hes doing his homework.
--Were watching TV at the moment.
For future plans/arrangements:
--My sister is driving me to the airport on Saturday.
--Tim and Joanna are joining us for dinner next week.

Present Perfect
With actions that happened in the past at an unspecified time:
--Ive met several celebrities.
--Hes been to Australia several times.
--Weve already taken the test.
With actions that began in the past and continue to the present:
--Ive lived in this house for five years.
--Harry has worked at the same company since 1992.
Note: Usually the verbs lived and worked. The present perfect continuous can also be
used see the next section.
With actions that have never happened:
--Ive never broken a bone.
--Shes never bought a car.

Present Perfect Continuous


With actions that began in the past and continue to the present:
--Ive been thinking a lot about the situation recently.
--Lauras been studying since 7 AM.

Past Simple
For events that started and finished in the past:

--He called me ten minutes ago.


--We went to the Bahamas last summer.

Past Continuous
For events that were in progress in the past (often when another one-time event
happened):
--Sorry I didnt pick up the phone I was taking a shower when you called.
--He was sleeping on the couch when I got home.

Past Perfect
For past events that happened BEFORE other past events:
--When I woke up, I saw that my husband had made breakfast.
--Five minutes after leaving my house, I realized Id forgotten to lock the front door.

Past Perfect Continuous


For past actions that continued up to another point in the past:
--Before I lost my job, I had been working on some important projects.
(working was a continuous action until the point I lost my job)
--They had been hoping Pat would make a full recovery after the accident, but he died.
(hoping was a continuous action until Pat died)

Future Simple
There are two ways to form the future simple tense in English.
Use the going to form of the future simple tense
For plans, arrangements, and predictions:
--Were going to move to a different city next year.
--I think the current president is going to be reelected.
Use the will form of the future simple tense
For promises, offers, predictions, and decisions made in the moment of speaking:
--Promise: Ill call you later.
--Offer: Well give you a ride home.
-Prediction:I have a feeling that this new singer will become very popular.
--Decision made in the moment: Ill have the spaghetti and a side order of salad.

Future Continuous
For actions that will be in progress at a time in the future:
--At 10:30 tomorrow morning, well be giving a presentation in English class.
--Hell be watching the football game tonight at 8.

Future Perfect
For actions that will be completed before a future time:
--Were late. By the time we get to the theater, the movie will have started already.
--We will have traveled to 12 different countries by 2015.

Future Perfect Continuous


For actions that will continue up to a future time:
--By the time she graduates, she will have been studying for 7 years.
--By 7 PM, I will have been working on this project for eight hours straight.
tense
Affirmative/Negative/Ques
Use
Signal Words

tion
Simple
Present

A: He speaks.
N: He does not speak.
Q: Does he speak?

action in the present taking


place once, never or several
times
facts

always, every , never,


normally, often, seldom,
sometimes, usually
if sentences type I (If
I talk, )

actions taking place one after


another
action set by a timetable or
schedule
Present
Progressive

A: He is speaking.
N: He is not speaking.
Q: Is he speaking?

action taking place in the


moment of speaking
action taking place only for a
limited period of time

at the moment, just, just


now, Listen!, Look!, now,
right now

action arranged for the future


Simple Past

A: He spoke.
N: He did not speak.
Q: Did he speak?

action in the past taking


place once, never or several
times
actions taking place one after
another
action taking place in the middle
of another action

yesterday, 2 minutes ago,


in 1990, the other day, last
Friday
if sentence type II (If
I talked, )

Past
Progressive

A: He was speaking.
N: He was not speaking.
Q: Was he speaking?

action going on at a certain time when, while, as long as


in the past
actions taking place at the same
time
action in the past that is
interrupted by another action

Present
Perfect
Simple

A: He has spoken.
N: He has not spoken.
Q: Has he spoken?

putting emphasis on the result


action that is still going on
action that stopped recently
finished action that has an
influence on the present
action that has taken place once,
never or several times before the
moment of speaking

already, ever, just, never,


not yet, so far, till now, up
to now

Present
Perfect
Progressive

A: He has been speaking.


N: He has not been speaking.
Q: Has he been speaking?

putting emphasis on thecourse


or duration (not the result)
action that recently stopped or is
still going on

all day, for 4 years, since


1993, how long?, the
whole week

finished action that influenced


the present
Past Perfect
Simple

A: He had spoken.
N: He had not spoken.
Q: Had he spoken?

action taking place before a


certain time in the past
sometimes interchangeable with
past perfect progressive
putting emphasis only on
the fact (not the duration)

already, just, never, not yet,


once, until that day
if sentence type III (If
I had talked, )

Past Perfect
Progressive

A: He had been speaking.


N: He had not been speaking.
Q: Had he been speaking?

action taking place before a


certain time in the past

for, since, the whole day,


all day

sometimes interchangeable with


past perfect simple
putting emphasis on theduration
or course of an action

Future I
Simple

A: He will speak.
N: He will not speak.
Q: Will he speak?

action in the future that cannot


be influenced
spontaneous decision
assumption with regard to the
future

Future I
Simple

in a year, next ,
tomorrow
If-Satz Typ I (If you ask
her, shewill help you.)
assumption: I think,
probably, perhaps

A: He is going to speak.
N: He is not going to speak.
Q: Is he going to speak?

decision made for the future

Future I
Progressive

A: He will be speaking.
N: He will not be speaking.
Q: Will he be speaking?

action that is going on at a


certain time in the future
action that is sure to happen in
the near future

in one year, next week,


tomorrow

Future II
Simple

A: He will have spoken.


N: He will not have spoken.
Q: Will he have spoken?

action that will befinished at a


certain time in the future

by Monday, in a week

Future II

A: He will have been speaking. action taking place before a

(going to)

conclusion with regard to the


future

in one year, next week,


tomorrow

for , the last couple of

Progressive

N: He will not have been


hours, all day long
certain time in the future
speaking.
Q: Will he have been speaking? putting emphasis on thecourse of
an action

Conditional I A: He would speak.


Simple
N: He would not speak.
Q: Would he speak?

action that might take place

Conditional I A: He would be speaking.


Progressive
N: He would not be speaking.
Q: Would he be speaking?

action that might take place

Conditional II A: He would have spoken.


Simple
N: He would not have spoken.
Q: Would he have spoken?

action that might have taken


place in the past

Conditional II A: He would have been


Progressive
speaking.
N: He would not have been
speaking.
Q: Would he have been
speaking?

action that might have taken


place in the past

Active Form

if sentences type II
(If I were you, Iwould
go home.)

putting emphasis on
thecourse / duration of the
action

puts emphasis on
thecourse / duration of the
action

if sentences type III


(If I had seen that, I would
have helped.)

In active sentences, the thing doing the action is the subject of the sentence and the thing
receiving the action is the object. Most sentences are active.
[Thing doing action] + [verb] + [thing receiving action]

Passive Form
In passive sentences, the thing receiving the action is the subject of the sentence and the thing
doing the action is optionally included near the end of the sentence. You can use the passive form
if you think that the thing receiving the action is more important or should be emphasized. You
can also use the passive form if you do not know who is doing the action or if you do not want to
mention who is doing the action.
[Thing receiving action] + [be] + [past participle of verb] + [by] + [thing doing action]

Active / Passive Overview


Active

Passive

Simple
Present

Once a week, Tom cleans the house.

Once a week, the house is cleaned by


Tom.

Present
Continuous

Right now, Sarah is writing the letter.

Right now, the letter is being written by


Sarah.

Simple Past

Sam repaired the car.

The car was repaired by Sam.

Past
Continuous

The salesman was helping the customer


when the thief came into the store.

The customer was being helped by the


salesman when the thief came into the
store.

Present
Perfect

Many tourists have visited that castle.

That castle has been visited by many


tourists.

Present
Perfect
Continuous

Recently, John has been doing the


work.

Recently, the work has been being


done by John.

Past Perfect

George had repaired many cars before


he received his mechanic's license.

Many cars had been repaired by George


before he received his mechanic's
license.

Past Perfect
Continuous

Chef Jones had been preparing the


restaurant's fantastic dinners for two
years before he moved to Paris.

The restaurant's fantastic dinners had


been being prepared by Chef Jones for
two years before he moved to Paris.

Simple Future

Someone will finish the work by 5:00


PM.

The work will be finished by 5:00 PM.

BE GOING TO

Sally is going to make a beautiful


dinner tonight.

A beautiful dinner is going to be


made by Sally tonight.

Future
Continuous

At 8:00 PM tonight, John will be


washing the dishes.

At 8:00 PM tonight, the dishes will be


being washed by John.

At 8:00 PM tonight, John is going to be


washing the dishes.

At 8:00 PM tonight, the dishes are


going to be being washed by John.

They will have completed the project


before the deadline.

The project will have been


completed before the deadline.

They are going to have completed the


project before the deadline.

The project is going to have been


completed before the deadline.

The famous artist will have been


painting the mural for over six months
by the time it is finished.

The mural will have been being


painted by the famous artist for over six
months by the time it is finished.

BE GOING TO

The famous artist is going to have been


painting the mural for over six months
by the time it is finished.

The mural is going to have been being


painted by the famous artist for over six
months by the time it is finished.

Used to

Jerry used to pay the bills.

The bills used to be paid by Jerry.

Would
Always

My mother would always make the


pies.

The pies would always be made by my


mother.

Future in the
Past

I knew John would finish the work by


5:00 PM.

I knew the work would be finished by


5:00 PM.

I thought Sally was going to make a

I thought a beautiful dinner was going

WILL

Simple Future

WILL

Future
Continuous
BE GOING TO

Future Perfect
WILL

Future Perfect
BE GOING TO

Future Perfect
Continuous
WILL

Future Perfect
Continuous

WOULD

Future in the

Past

beautiful dinner tonight.

to be made by Sally tonight.

WAS GOING TO

Active (Simple Forms)


Simple Present

I drive

Simple Past

I drove

Present Perfect

I have driven

Past Perfect

I had driven

will-future

I will drive

Future Perfect

I will have driven

Conditional I

I would drive

Conditional II

I would have driven

Active (Progressive/Continuous Forms)


Simple Present

I am driving

Simple Past

I was driving

Present Perfect

I have been driving

Past Perfect

I had been driving

will-future

I will be driving

Future Perfect

I will have been driving

Conditional I

I would be driving

Conditional II

I would have been driving

Passive (Simple Forms)


Simple Present

I am driven

Simple Past

I was driven

Present Perfect

I have been driven

Past Perfect

I had been driven

will-future

I will be driven

Future Perfect

I will have been driven

Conditional I

I would be driven

Conditional II

I would have been driven

Passive (Progressive/Continuous Forms)


Present

I am being driven

Past

I was being driven

Present Perfect

I have been being driven

Past Perfect

I had been being driven

Future

I will be being driven

Future Perfect

I will have been being driven

Conditional I

I would be being driven

Conditional II

I would have been being driven