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VERB TENSES

CHART
Affirmative/Negative/
tense Question
Use Signal Words

Simple A: He speaks. action in the present taking place always, every , never,
Present N: He does not speak. once, never or several times normally, often, seldom,
Q: Does he speak? sometimes, usually
facts
if sentences type I (If I talk, )
actions taking place one after
another

action set by a timetable or


schedule

Present A: He is speaking. action taking place in the moment at the moment, just, just now,
Progressive N: He is not speaking. of speaking Listen!, Look!, now, right now
Q: Is he speaking?
action taking place only for a limited
period of time

action arranged for the future

Simple Past A: He spoke. action in the past taking place once, yesterday, 2 minutes ago, in
N: He did not speak. never or several times 1990, the other day, last Friday
Q: Did he speak? if sentence type II (If I
actions taking place one after
talked, )
another

action taking place in the middle of


another action

Past A: He was speaking. action going on at a certain time in when, while, as long as
Progressive N: He was not the past
speaking.
actions taking place at the same
Q: Was he speaking?
time

action in the past that is interrupted


by another action

Present A: He has spoken. putting emphasis on the result already, ever, just, never, not
Perfect N: He has not spoken. yet, so far, till now, up to now
action that is still going on
Simple Q: Has he spoken?
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
Present A: He has been putting emphasis on the course or all day, for 4 years, since 1993,
Perfect speaking. duration (not the result) how long?, the whole week
Progressive N: He has not been
action that recently stopped or is
speaking.
still going on
Q: Has he been
speaking? finished action that influenced the
present

Past Perfect A: He had spoken. action taking place before a certain already, just, never, not yet,
Simple N: He had not spoken. time in the past once, until that day
Q: Had he spoken? if sentence type III (If I had
sometimes interchangeable with
talked, )
past perfect progressive

putting emphasis only on the fact


(not the duration)

Past Perfect A: He had been action taking place before a certain for, since, the whole day, all day
Progressive speaking. time in the past
N: He had not been
sometimes interchangeable with
speaking.
past perfect simple
Q: Had he been
speaking? putting emphasis on the duration or
course of an action

Future A: He will speak. action in the future that cannot be in a year, next , tomorrow
Simple N: He will not speak. influenced If-Satz Typ I (If you ask her, she
Q: Will he speak? will help you.)
spontaneous decision
assumption: I think, probably,
assumption with regard to the perhaps
future

Future A: He is going to speak. decision made for the future in one year, next week,
Simple N: He is not going to tomorrow
conclusion with regard to the future
speak.
(going to)
Q: Is he going to
speak?

Future A: He will be speaking. action that is going on at a certain in one year, next week,
Progressive N: He will not be time in the future tomorrow
speaking.
action that is sure to happen in the
Q: Will he be speaking?
near future

Future A: He will have spoken. action that will be finished at a by Monday, in a week
Perfect N: He will not have certain time in the future
spoken.
Q: Will he have
spoken?

Future A: He will have been action taking place before a certain for , the last couple of hours,
Perfect speaking. time in the future all day long
Progressive N: He will not have
putting emphasis on the course of
been speaking.
an action
Q: Will he have been
speaking?
Conditional A: He would speak. action that might take place if sentences type II
Simple N: He would not speak. (If I were you, I would go
Q: Would he speak? home.)

Conditional A: He would be action that might take place


Progressive speaking.
putting emphasis on the course /
N: He would not be
duration of the action
speaking.
Q: Would he be
speaking?

Conditional A: He would have action that might have taken place if sentences type III
Perfect spoken. in the past (If I had seen that, I would
N: He would not have have helped.)
spoken.
Q: Would he have
spoken?

Conditional A: He would have been action that might have taken place
Perfect speaking. in the past
Progressive N: He would not have
puts emphasis on the course /
been speaking.
duration of the action
Q: Would he have been
speaking?