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Tense

Signal words

Use something happens repeatedly how often something happens one action follows another things in general after the following verbs (to love, to hate, to think, etc.) future meaning: timetables, programmes something is happening at the same time of speaking or around it future meaning: when you have already decided and arranged to do it (a fixed plan, date)

Form

Examples affirmative I work. He works. I go.

Exa neg

I do He

every day sometimes always Simple Present or Present Simple often usually seldom never first ... then

I do

infinitive he/she/it + -s He goes. He

I'm working. He's working. I'm going. to be (am/are/is) +infinitive + -ing He's going.

I'm He

now Present at the Progressive moment or Present Look! Continuous Listen!

I'm

He

Simple Past or Past Simple

last ... ... ago in 1990 yesterday

action took place I worked. in the past, He worked. mostly connected regular: with an I went. infinitive + -edirregular: expression of 2nd column of table of irregular verbs time (no He went. connection to the present) an action happened in the middle of another action someone was doing sth. at a certain time (in the past) - you do not know whether it was finished or not was/were +infinitive + -ing He was going. I was working. He wasworking. I was going.

I di He

I di He

Iw He

Past Progressive or while Past Continuous

Iw

He

just yet never Simple Present Perfect or Present Perfect ever already so far, up to now, since for recently all day Present Perfect Progressive or Present Perfect Continuous the whole day how long since for action began in the past and has just stopped how long the action has been happening emphasis: length of time of an action mostly when two actions in a story are related to each other: the action which had had + past participle* already happened is put *(infinitive + -ed) or (3rd column of into Past Perfect, table of irregular verbs) the other action into Simple Past the past of the Present Perfect Past Perfect how long Progressive or since Past Perfect for Continuous will future have/has +been + infinitive+ -ing you say that sth. has happened or is finished in the past and it has a have/has + past participle* connection to the present *(infinitive + -ed) or (3rd column of table of irregular verbs) action started in the past and continues up to the present

I have worked. He has worked. I have gone.

I ha He

I ha

He has gone.

He

I have beenworking. He has beenworking. I have beengoing.

I ha bee

He bee

I ha

He has beengoing.

He

I had worked. He had worked. I had gone.

Ih He

Simple Past Perfect or Past Perfect (Simple)

already just never

Ih

He had gone.

He

I had beenworking. how long something had been happening had + been +infinitive + ing before something else happened predictions about will + infinitive the future (you think that sth. will happen) you decide to do He had beenworking. I had beengoing. He had beengoing. I'll work. He'll work. I'll go. He'll go.

Ih

He bee

Ih He

Iw He

Iw He

sth. spontaneously at the time of speaking, you haven't made a when you have already decided to do sth. in the future what you think what will happen An action will be in progress at a certain time in the future. This action has begun before the will + be +infinitive + ing certain time. Something happens because it normally happens. I'm going towork. be (am/are/is)+ going to +infinitive He's going towork. I'm going to go. He's going togo. I'll be working. He'll beworking. I'll be going.

I'm

going to future

He' to

I'm

He'

Iw He

Future Progressive or Future Continuous

Iw

He'll be going.

He

Simple Future Perfect or Future Perfect Simple Future Perfect Progressive or Future Perfect Continuous

I'll haveworked. sth. will already will + have +past participle* have happened before a certain *(infinitive + -ed) or (3rd column of time in the future table of irregular verbs) He'll haveworked. I'll have gone. He'll have gone. I'll have beenworking. He'll have beenworking. I'll have beengoing.

Iw He

Iw He

sth. will already have happened before a certain time in the future emphasis: length of time of an action sth. that might happen

Iw bee

will + have +been + infinitive+ ing

He bee

Iw hav

He'll have beengoing He . hav I would work. He would work. I would go. He would go.

Iw wo He

Conditional Simple

main clause in type II of the Conditional sentences

would +infinitive

Iw

He go.

Conditional Progressive or Conditional Continuous

sth. that might happen emphasis: length of time of an action sth. that might have happened in the past (It's too late now.) main clause in type III of the if clauses would + be +infinitive + ing

I would beworking. He would beworking. I would begoing. He would begoing. I would haveworked. would + have +past participle* *(infinitive + -ed) or (3rd column of table of irregular verbs) He would haveworked. I would havegone. He would havegone. I would have been working. He would have beengoing. I would have been going. He would have been going.

Iw

He bew

Iw He

Iw hav

Conditional Perfect

He hav

Iw

He hav

Conditional Perfect Progressive or Conditional Perfect Continuous

sth. that might have happened in the past (It's too late now.) emphasis: length of time of an action

Iw bee

would + have +been + infinitive+ ing

He bee

Iw bee

He bee

The Present Tenses


Present Simple Present Simple Used to say what someone usually I always study English on Tuesday.

does

Present Progressive/Continuous Present Progressive Used to say what someone is doing now I am studying English now

Present Perfect Simple Present Perfect Simple Used to show unfinished time I have studied English twice this week.

Present Perfect Progressive/Continuous Present Perfect Progressive Used to say how long someone has been doing something.

I have been studying English for 2 years. I have been studying English since 1997.

The Past Tenses


Simple Past
Simple Past Used to show a completed action

I studied English last Saturday.

Past Progressive/Continuous Past Progressive Often used to say when something was being done or what was happening when something else happened

I was studying English last Monday when my friend rang. I was studying English at 5pm last Monday.

Past Perfect Simple Past Perfect Simple The past of have

I had done my English homework by 6.30

done. Used to say when something was done by.

pm last Saturday.

I had done my English homework by the time I ate dinner last Saturday.

Past Perfect Progressive/Continuous Past Perfect Progressive The past of have been. Used to show how long something was done for by a certain time.

I'd been doing my English homework for 30 minutes when my friend rang last Saturday. I'd been doing my English homework for 30 minutes by 1 pm last Saturday.

The Future Tenses


The future can be indicated in several different ways in English. It is often created with the use of auxiliaries: "She will be a student.", "She is going to drive a new car." English can even create the future by using the simple present (used for timetables,programs etc.), "The train arrives at 10pm" or the present progressive (used for future plans), "He is collecting his mother from the station tonight." Simple Future (uses will or shall or going to + base form)

Simple Future (Some uncertainty)

Decide to do something at the time of speaking

I think I'll do my English homework tonight.

Simple Future (Certain)

Have already decided or arranged to do something

I am going to study English next Saturday.

Future Progressive/Continous (uses will be, shall be or going to be +-ing form) Future Progressive (Some uncertainty) The English lesson shouldbegin at 7.30 and end at 9.15, so the personshould be studying at 7.30 (but the lesson might start late). I will be starting my English lesson at 7.30 pm.

Future Progressive (Certain)

The English lesson begins at 7.30 and ends at 9.15, so he'scertain to be

I am going to be studying English when my friends arrive at 9.00 pm.

studying when his friend arrives at 8.00 Future Perfect Simple (uses will have or shall have + past participle) Future Perfect Simple Used to say something will already be complete by a time. I will have already done my English homework by the time I eat dinner on Saturday.

Future Perfect Progressive/Continuous (uses will have been or shall have been + -ing form) Future Perfect Progressive Used to say how long something will have been happening in the future by a certain time. I will have been studying English for 30 minutes when my friends arrive.

Present Continuous

First time here? You may want to see the list of basic facts about tenses. Quick example:
He is sleeping. I am visiting grandpa in the afternoon. You are always coming late for the meetings!

The Present Continuous is mainly used to express the idea that something is happening at the moment of speaking. Another use of the tense is to talk about what we are planning to do. There are also other uses, listed below.

USE
1. 2. Present actions Temporary actions

3. 4. 5.

Longer actions in progress Future (personal) arrangements and plans Irritation over something or somebody in the present

USE 1: Present Actions


Use the Present Continuous tense to talk about actions happening at the moment of speaking. Examples: He is eating a dinner. Mary is talking with her friend. They are swimming.

To understand this use better, watch this interactive animation:

[ Johny: I'm having a shower now ]

Explanation
In this cartoon, you can see a man in the shower who says: "I'm taking a shower now". Why is this in Present Continuous? Because the Johny is taking shower at this precise moment.

USE 2: Temporary Actions


This tense is also used for activities continuing for only a limited period of time. Examples: I'm riding a bike to get to work because my car is broken. (It will soon be repaired) They are not talking with each other after the last argument. (They will soon make up)

USE 3: Longer Actions in Progress


We also use the Present Continuous when we are in a middle of doing something time-consuming (i.e. something that takes time to complete). An example of such an activity is writing a book, saving money or studying for an exam. Examples:

They are working hard to earn money. I am training to become a professional footballer. Mike is studying hard to become a doctor. Elizabeth is currently writing a children's book titled I am the World.

To understand this use better, watch this interactive animation:

[ Alex: I'm writing an adventure book ]

Explanation
In this cartoon, you can a man who says: "I'm writing an adventure book". Why is this in Present Continuous? Click on the buttons located on the Timeline to see the other scenes. You will find out that Alex (the writer) was writing a book a month ago, two months ago and three months ago. Clearly, it's a longer action in progress.

USE 4: Future (Personal) Arrangements and Plans


Sometimes we use the Present Continuous to show that something will be done in the near future. Examples: I'm meeting Katie in the evening. He's flying to Rome in September. We're not going anywhere tomorrow.

USE 5: Irritation or Anger


And the last use of this tense is to express irritation or anger over somebody or something in the present. Examples: She's always complaining about everything! Johny is always asking me stupid questions! They are always coming late to meetings!

FORM
To form a sentence in the Present Continuous, you have to: know the proper conjugation of the auxiliary verb "to be".

Person

Singular

Plural

First

I am

We are

Second

You are

You are

Third

He/she/it is

They are

add the "ing" suffix to the verb (to form the present participle of the verb) Examples: o try + ing = trying o go + ing = going

Contracted forms (more)


I + am = I'm is + not = isn't are + not = aren't he + is = he's she + is = she's it + is= it's

Declarative Sentences

Subject e.g. I/a dogetc. Examples

Auxiliary verb

Verb + ing

is / are Use

e.g.work/go/mak e

He is getting married this month

Use 2)

They are swimming in the sea

Use 1)

I'm having my first driving lesson this week Use 2)

I'm studying to become lawyer one day

Use 1)

I'm drinking hot coffee now

Use 1)

She is always asking me stupid questions.


Questions

Use 3)

Auxiliary verb is / are Examples

Subject

Verb + ing

e.g. I/a dogetc. Use

+ e.g.work/go/mak
e

Is she eating my cake now?

Use 1)

Are they having the party on Friday or Saturday?

Use 2)

Are you meeting David today?

Use 2)

Is Mary having breakfast now?


Negative Sentences

Use 1)

Subject e.g. I/a dogetc. Examples

Auxiliary verb + not is not / are not Use

Verb + ing e.g.work/go/make

He is not joking

Use 1)

We aren't waiting for my uncle

Use 1)

He is not going to school tomorrow

Use 2)

Present Simple

First time here? You may want to see the list of basic facts about tenses. Quick example:
I live in New York. We play football every day. The meeting starts at 3 p.m.

The Present Simple is the most basic and common tense in the English language. It is also an interesting tense because it can express both the present and the future.

USE
1. 2. 3. 4. Facts and generalization Habits and routines Permanent situations State verbs (e.g. be, have, think, know)

5. 6.

Fixed / official arrangement that we can't change Narrations (e.g. telling a story or a joke)

Note
Apart from the above uses, this tense is also used in: o o o Zero Conditional - If it rains, I go play football. First Conditional - We won't get our pocket money, if we don't pass this exam. In sentences after "when", "before", "till", "after", "as soon as" ("Before you leave, please take the keys").

USE 1: Facts and Generalizations


The first and most important use of the Present Simple is to talk about things we believe are (or are not) true. It's also used to generalize about somebody or something. Examples: It is a big house. He talks a lot. Berlin is the capital city of Germany. Buenos Aires is a large city. The Elephant doesn't fly. Dogs don't smoke cigarettes. A dog is not large than an elephant London is the capital city of France. (Remember: the sentence doesn't have to be true)

To understand this use better, watch this interactive animation:

[ Scientist: The Earth goes around the Sun (Use 1) ]

Explanation
In this cartoon, you can see a scientist who says: "The Earth goes around the Sun". Why is this in Present Simple? Because the scientist expresses a fact, something that he believes is true (in this case, he is right: the Earth really goes around the Sun).

USE 2: Habits and Routines


We also use this tense to indicate that an activity is a habit or a routine. Examples:

We leave for work at 7.30 every morning. Susan often meets with her friends after school. They usually play football on Sunday. Mark rarely visits his sick grandmother.

The Present Simple tense is often used with the frequency adverbs: Adverbs of frequency
Adverbs of frequency say how often an activity happens. We can use one word or a phrase. Examples:

always never frequently/often usually seldom/rarely nowadays every week/year sometimes/occasionally from time to time

Here are a few examples of how to use them in sentences:

I always go to church on Sundays. I never eat anything after 10 p.m.

Read more... To understand this use better, watch this interactive animation:

[ John: I play basketball every Friday ]

Explanation
In this cartoon, you can see a boy who says: "I play basketball every Friday" (click on the now button to see this). Why is this in Present Simple? Because the boy talks about a habit, something that he does regularly.

USE 3: Pernament Situations


Use the Present Simple to talk about situations in life that last a relatively long time. Examples: I live in Boston

He works as a fireman. Margaret drives a Porshe. Jerry doesn't teach maths at highschool.

USE 4: State Verbs


You should use the Present Simple with state verbs. Examples: I like swimming. We know this man. Margaret drives a Porshe. Jerry doesn't teach maths at highschool.

Speaker 1: Ronaldinho, do you like football? (Use 4) Ronaldinho: Yes, I do.

USE 5: Fixed / Official arrangements


Use the Present Simple to talk about events that we can't change (for example, an official meeting or a train departure). Examples: The meeting starts at 4 pm. The train leaves at the noon. When does the plane take off? Jerry doesn't teach maths at highschool.

USE 6: Narrations
The Present Simple is also used in narrations (e.g. to tell a story or a joke). Examples: A man goes to visit a friend and is amazed to find him playing chess with his dog. He watches the game in astonishment for a while [...]

(read more)

Good to know...

Some of the verbs used in the simple form can also appear in the continuous form. This is typically when they have an active meaning or exphasize change. Examples: o o I'm thinking of moving to San Francisco I'm loving your new hairdo!

(read more)

FORM
Forming a sentence in the Present Simple is easy. To form a declarative sentence, all you need is the subject of the sentence (e.g. I, you, he, a dog) and the verb (e.g. be, talk, swim). Questions and negative sentences are only a little more difficult, because they require an auxiliary verb.

Declarative Sentences

Subject e.g. I/a dog etc.

Verb e.g. work/go/make

Sharks have sharp teeth (Use 1)

Examples

Use

A dog is an animal

(Use 1)

I learn English twice a week

(Use 2)

I have two eggs

(Use 4)

The course starts in April

(Use 5)

I come from Basil

(Use 3)

Questions

Auxiliary Verb do or does


Compare these examples:

Subject e.g. I/a dog etc.

Verb e.g. work/go/make

Questions require the auxiliary verb to do or, in the third person singular, does.

A: Does she like going to the mountains? B: Yes, she does. A: Does John have a dog? B: No, he doesn't.

Keep in mind that when you ask a question, the verb does not conjugate: Does she have a dog?

For the verb to be, we do not use an auxiliary: Is he tall?

Negative Sentences

Subject

Auxiliary verb+not do not (don't) / does not(doesn't)

Verb

+ e.g. I/a dogetc. Contracted forms (more)


do + not = don't does + not = doesn't

e.g.work/go/mak e

Examples They don't live in New York anymore I don't like winter They don't live in New York anymore He doesn't go to the cinema at all

Use (Use 3) (Use 4) (Use 3) (Use 2)

Present Perfect

First time here? You may want to see the list of basic facts about tenses. Quick example:
I have read this book. The man has gone away. John has worked as a teacher for over 25 years.

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.

USE
1. 2. 3.
Actions which happened at an indefinite (unknown) time before now Actions in the past which have an effect on the present moment Actions which began in the past and continue in the present

USE 1: Indefinite (unknown) time before now


Use the Present Perfect to talk about actions that happened at some point in the past. It does not matter when exactly they happened. Examples:

I have already had a breakfast. He has been to England.

You should not use this tense with time expressions like "yesterday", "a week ago", "last year", etc. Examples:

USE 2: Effect on the present moment


We also use this tense to when an activity has an effect on the present moment. Examples: He has finished his work. (so he can now rest) I have already eaten the dinner. (so I'm not hungry) He has had a car accident. (that's why he is in the hospital)

To understand this use better, watch this interactive animation:

[ Marcus: I have been struck by a bolt of lightning! ]

Explanation
In this cartoon, you can see a mother asking her son: "Markus, what's happened". Marcus replies: "I have been struck by a bolt of lightning". Why is this in Present Perfect? Click on the button labled as "event 1". You can see that Marcus was struck lightning bolt. Now click on the other button. The use of Present Continuous is correct here because the action has an effect on the present moment (it explains why he looks this way).

USE 3: Continuation in the present


We often use the Present Perfect when we want to emphasize that an event continues in the present. Examples: Mary has worked as a teacher for over 25 years. Patrick has achieved a lot in his life.

To understand this use better, click on the buttons and read the message:

"For" and "Since"...


"Since" and "for" are very common time expressions used with the Present Perfect. We use "for" with a period of time, for example: o I have lived here for 20 years.

When talking about a starting point, we use "since", for example: o I have lived here since 1960.

More about time expressions.

FORM
To form a sentence in the Present Perfect, what you need is:

1. The proper conjugation of the auxiliary verb "to have". 2. The Past Participle of your verb.
1. Auxiliary Verb "to have" We conjugate the auxiliary verb "to have" the same way we would conjugate the normal verb "to have".

Person

Singular

Plural

First

I have

We have

Second

You have

You have

Third

He/she/it has

They have

As you can see, the third person singular is irregular. More examples: She has never seen my brother. Neither of my brothers has ever driven a truck.

2. The Past Participle The past participle of a verb is a verb form that appears with the perfect tenses. The past participle can be either regular or irregular. The regular verbs are formed by adding -ed to the verb:

Verb

Past Participle

talk

talked

explain

explained

use

used

deliver

delivered

include

included

achieve

achieved

The formation of the irregular verbs does not follow one rule. Therefore, they should be memorized.

Verb

Past Participle

Learn more

be

been

be

become

become

become

Verb

Past Participle

Learn more

see

seen

see

go

gone

go

eat

eaten

eat

grow

grown

grow

Declarative Sentences

Subject e.g. I/a dogetc.

Auxiliary verb has/have

Past participle e.g. slept/taken/goneetc.

Examples

Use

We have already had breakfast

(Use 1)

I have bought new shades

(Use 2)

I have already been to Paris

(Use 1)

John has been a plumber for 2 years

(Use 3)

Someone has just taken my bag!

(Use

1,2)

Jane has never been so angry

(Use 3)

He has been our most serious partner for so long that I can assure you he's a very decent man
Questions

(Use 3)

Auxiliary verb has/have Examples

Subject e.g. I/a dogetc.

+
Use

Past participle e.g. slept/taken/goneetc.

Have you ever seen this program?

(Use 1)

Where has she lived for the past 21 years?

(Use 3)

Have you found the telephone number?

(Use 1,2)

Have you ever been to France?

(Use 1)

Has anyone taken my bag?


Trivia

(Use 1,2)

In sentences with adverbials such as ever, already or yet, American-English speakers may use thePast Simple rather than the Present Perfect. So, an American would say: o Did you go to the post office yet? (Past Simple)

rather than:

Have you gone to the post office yet? (Present Perfect)

Negative Sentences

Subject e.g. I/a dogetc. Examples

Auxiliary verb + not

Past participle

has not/have not

e.g. slept/taken/goneetc.

Use

He hasn't taken any drug for two years

(Use 3)

I haven't met my perfect partner yet

(Use 3)

They haven't contacted you, have they?

(Use 1)

Present Perfect Continuous


First time here? You may want to see the list of basic facts about tenses. Quick example:
I have been working as a teacher for 30 years. What have you been doing?

The Present Perfect Continuous (Progressive) has a long and scary name. But don't worry! Read on to learn how to use it.

USE
1. 2. Actions that started in the past and continue in the present Actions that have recently stopped

USE 1: Continuation in the Present


We use the Present Perfect Continuous to show that something started in the past and continues in the present. Examples: He has been painting the house for 5 hours. (He's still painting it) I have been working as a fireman since 1973. (I still work as a fireman)

USE 2: Past actions recently stopped


Use this tense also to talk about actions that began in the past and have recently stopped. Examples: I have been waiting for you for half an hour! (I'm not waiting anymore because you have come)

Look at her eyes! I'm sure she has been crying. (She stopped crying when she saw them)

To understand this use better, watch this interactive animation:

[ Mother: What have you been doing? ]

Explanation
In this cartoon, you can see a mother asking her son: "What have you been doing?". The boy replies: "Nothing, mum". Why is this in Present Perfect Continuous? Click on the button labled "event 1". You can see that the boy is playing a computer game. Now click on the button labeled "event 2". In this scene, someone knocks at the door. It's his mother. In the next scene, she asks him "what have you been doing?". The use of Present Perfect Continuous is correct here because in this last scene Marcus no longer is playing a computer game (he stopped the moment he heard someone knocking at the door). This is exactly use 2 described above.

For and Since...


"Since" and "for" are very common time expressions used with the Present Perfect Continuous. We use "for" with a period of time, for example: o I have been living here for 20 years.

When talking about a starting point, we use "since", for example: o I have been living here since 1960.

More about time expressions.

FORM
To form a sentence in the Present Perfect Continuous, what you need is:

1. The proper conjugation of the auxiliary verb "to have". 2. The auxiliary verb "to be" in the Past Participle form: "been". 3. The Present Participle of your verb (verb + ing)
1. Auxiliary Verb "to have" We conjugate the auxiliary verb "to have" the same way we would conjugate the normal verb "to have".

Person

Singular

Plural

First

I have

We have

Second

You have

You have

Third

He/she/it has

They have

As you can see, the third person singular is irregular. More examples: She has never seen my brother. Neither of my brothers has ever driven a truck.

2. Auxiliary verb "to be" The past participle of the verb "to be" is "been". This is also an auxiliary verb, and you must never forget about it! I have been working as a teacher for 10 years.>

3. The Present Participle The present participle is of a verb is a verb form that appears with the present tenses. The present participle is formed by adding -ing to the verb. talk + ing = talking be + ing = being

There are exceptions.

Positive Sentences

Subject e.g. I/a

+ Auxiliary + Auxiliary +
verb verb has/have been

Verb + ing e.g.swimming/talkingetc.

dog etc. Examples Use

Have you been running?

(Use 2)

Has Tom been walking the dog?

(Use 2)

How long have you been learning English?

(Use 1)

Q: What have you been doing there? A: I've been eating


Questions

(Use 1 or Use 2)

Auxiliary verb has/have Examples

Subject

e.g. I/a dog etc.

Auxiliary verb been

Verb + ing

+
e.g.swimming/talkingetc. Use

Is she eating my cake now?

(Use 1)

Are they having the party on Friday or Saturday?

(Use 2)

Are you meeting David today?

(Use 2)

Is Mary having breakfast now?


Negative Sentences

(Use 1)

Subject

+ Auxiliary + Auxiliary +
verb verb

Verb + ing

e.g. I/a dog etc. Examples

has not/have not

been

e.g.swimming/talkingetc.

Use

He is not joking

(Use 1)

We aren't waiting for my uncle

(Use 1)

He is not going to school tomorrow

(Use 2)

Past Continuous

First time here? You may want to see the list of basic facts about tenses. Quick example:
What were you doing then? I was eating the dinner when someone knocked at the door. When he was sleeping, I was working hard I was wondering if you could help me.

We usually use The Past Continuous (Progressive) to talk about longer actions in progress in the past. The actions can be interruped by something ("He was reading when she arrived") or can be happening at the same some ("She was learning English when he was watching TV"). There are also two other uses.

USE
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Actions in progress (in the past) Interrupted actions in progress (in the past) Actions in progress at the same time (in the past). Irritation over something or somebody (in the past) Timid / polite question

USE 1: Actions in progress


We use the Past Continuous to express the idea that an action was in progress in the past. Examples: I was watching TV yesterday in the evening. She was not crying.

USE 2: Interrupted actions in progress


The Past Continuous is often used when one actions in progress is interruped by another action in the past. We usually use "when" to link these two actions. Sentences usually have this form: [ Sentence in Past Continuous ] + WHEN + [Sentence in Past Simple ] WHEN + [ Sentence in Past Continuous ] + [Sentence in Past Simple ] or:

[ Sentence in Past Simple ] + WHEN + [ Sentence in Past Continuous ] Examples: I was talking with James when the telephone rang. The plane crashed when Angelica was playing tennis.

To understand this use better, watch this interactive animation:

[ Peter: When I was jogging, someone stopped me and asked what time it was ]

Explanation
In this cartoon, you can see a man who says: "When I was jogging someone stopped me and asked what time it was.". Why is this in Past Continuous? Click on the button labled "event 1". You can see that the man is jogging. This is a continuous action. Suddenly, another man stops him and asks what time it is. This is "event 2". Notice that the action of jogging is interrupted by event 2. This is why the use of Past Continuous is correct here.

USE 3: Actions in progress at the same time


We also use this tense to show that two actions are taking place at the same. Examples: I was watching TV and Barbara was reading a book. The family was eating the dinner and talking.

USE 4: Timid / polite questions


If we want to ask a polite question, we can use the Past Continuous. Examples: I was wondering if you could open the window. I was thinking you might help me with this problem.

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.

USE 5: Irritation

Remember that you can also express irritation over somebody or something in the past. Examples: She was always coming late for dinner!

FORM
To form a sentence in the Past Continuous, what you need is:

1. The proper conjugation of the auxiliary verb "to be" in the past form 2. The Present Participle of your verb (verb + ing)
1. Auxiliary verb "to be" The past form of the auxiliary verb "to be" is: 1. For the first and third person singular: "was" 2. For all others: "were" Examples: She was always coming late for dinner! You were always coming late for dinner!

2. The Present Participle The present participle is of a verb is a verb form that appears with the present tenses. The present participle is formed by adding -ing to the verb. talk + ing = talking be + ing = being

There are exceptions.

Positive Sentences

Subject e.g. I/a dogetc.

Auxiliary verb

Verb + ing

was / were

e.g. swimming/talkingetc.

A rhinoceros was swatting flies with his tail when suddenly a fly bit him (Use 2)

Examples

Use

Have you been running?

(Use 2)

Has Tom been walking the dog?

(Use 2)

How long have you been learning English?

(Use 1)

Q: What have you been doing there? A: I've been eating


Questions

(Use 1 or Use 2)

Auxiliary verb was / were Examples

Subject

Verb + ing

e.g. I/a dogetc.

+
e.g. swimming/talkingetc. Use

Have you ever seen this program?

(Use 1)

Where has she lived for the past 21 years?

(Use 3)

Have you found the telephone number?

(Use 1,2)

Have you ever been to France?

(Use 1)

Has anyone taken my bag?


Negative Sentences

(Use 1,2)

Subject e.g. I/a dogetc.

Auxiliary verb

Verb + ing

+ was not /were + e.g. swimming/talkingetc. not

Examples

Use

He hasn't taken any drug for two years

(Use 3)

I haven't met my perfect partner yet

(Use 3)

They haven't contacted you, have they? ]

(Use 1)

Past Perfect

First time here? You may want to see the list of basic facts about tenses. Quick example:
I had written the letter before you came home. If she had studied hard, she would have passed the English language exam. I wish I had been brave enough. Mary looked as if she had not slept for 48 hours.

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.

USE
1. A completed action before another action in the past Third conditional sentences Reported speech Dissatisfaction with the past

2.
3. 4.

USE 1: 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. Examples: I had finished my homework before I went playing football. John had never been to London before we went there last year.

Good to know
People (especially native speakers) do not use the Past Perfect in such sentences very often. For example, they will say: o After I washed my car, I went to fill up.

Rather than: o After I had washed my car, I went to fill up.

This is because "after" or "before" tell the listener which action happened first. Still, keep in mind that it is better to use the Past Perfect, especially in written English or when writing exams. To understand this use better, watch this interactive animation:

[ Father: My son Julius had never seen a camel before we went together to the zoo in summer 1990. ]

Explanation
In this cartoon, you can see a man who says: "My son, Julius, had never seen a camel, before we went together to the Zoo in summer 1990 ". Why is this in Past Perfect? Click on the button labled "event 1". The father asks his son, Julius, the following question: "Have you ever seen a camel?". Julis replies that he has never seen it. In the next scene, they are in the Zoo, watching the animal. Notice that the event 1 occured before event 2. It means that the use of Past Perfect is correct here.

USE 2: Third conditional sentences


Use the Past Perfect with third conditional sentences. Examples: If we had gone by taxi, we wouldn't have been late. If Mary had studied harder, she would have passed the exam.

The Use 2 is the so-called hypothetical past: we are talking about things that never happened. o o I wish I had fixed my umberella. (but I didn't) If only I had known the answer to that question. (but I didn't)

USE 3: Reported speech


Use the Past Perfect with reposted speech. Examples: Mary said she had already seen this film. He asked if I had read Harry Potter.

USE 4: Dissatisfaction with the past


We often use the Past Perfect to show our dissatisfaction with the past. Such sentences typically start with "I wish ..." or "If only ...". Examples: I wish I had taken more food. I'm hungry now. If only I had taken more food. I'm hungry now.

The Past Perfect is also used with expressions such as: "as if/though":

o o

John looked as if he had done something terrible. She looked as though she hadn't slept all night.

FORM
To form a sentence in the Past Perfect, what you need is:

1. The proper conjugation of the auxiliary verb "to have" in the past form. 2. The Past Participle of your verb.
1. Auxiliary verb "to have" The past form of the auxiliary verb "to have" is "had": Mary had finished her homework before Mike came home.

2. The Past Participle The past participle of a verb is a verb form that appears with the perfect tenses. The past participle can be either regular or irregular. The regular verbs are formed by adding -ed to the verb:

Verb

Past Participle

talk

talked

explain

explained

use

used

deliver

delivered

include

included

achieve

achieved

Verb

Past Participle

The formation of the irregular verbs does not follow one rule. Therefore, they should be memorized.

Verb

Past Participle

Learn more

be

been

be

become

become

become

see

seen

see

go

gone

go

eat

eaten

eat

grow

grown

grow

Positive Sentences

Subject e.g. I/a dogetc.

Auxiliary verb

Verb + ing

had

e.g.eaten/given/goneetc.

Examples

Use

Before I went to the park, I had finishedmy work.

(Use 1)

If he had made the right choice, he wouldn't be unhappy now.

(Use 2)

Mary said she had already seen this movie before. (Use 3)

I wish I had had enough courage to kiss her!


Questions

(Use 4)

Auxiliary verb had Examples

Subject

Past participle

e.g. I/a dogetc.

+
e.g.eaten/given/goneetc. Use

Had she eaten the dinner before she went to (Use 1) the cinema?
Negative Sentences

Subject e.g. I/a dogetc. Examples

Auxiliary verb

Verb + ing

had not

e.g.eaten/given/goneetc. Use

I had not seen this movie , before we went to the (Use 1) cinema yesterday to see it.

If he hadn't made the mistake, he would be happy (Use 2) now.

Mary said she had not visited for a long time.

(Use 3)

I wish I hadn't done it!

(Use 4)

Past Perfect Continuous


USE
1.

First time here? You may want to see the list of basic facts about tenses.
The Past Perfect Continuous (Past Perfect Progressive) is used to talk about actions that began in the past and lasted up until another action in the past. Duration of a past action up to a certain point in the past Third conditional sentences Reported speech*

2.
3.

Note:Use 1 contains Use 3. This means that Use 1 is also valid in the sentences marked with Use 3. The PPC is involved when the original tense is the Present Perfect Continuous or the Past Continuous. "she has been crying" - she said she had been crying "she was crying" - she said she had been crying Reported Speech

FORM

Declarative sentences: Subject Auxiliary verb I/a dog etc.

Auxiliary verb

Verb + ing

had

been

eating/swimming, etc.

[ Father: When I looked at our daughter Kathy I knew she had been crying ]

I had been running for an hour when it started raining. (Use 1) Mary said she had never been swimming so much in one day. (Use 3) Kathy put on weight because she had been eating too much sugar. (Use 1) Everything had been going well in my life until my world fell apart several months ago. (Use 1)

He said he had been training. (Use 3)

Questions:
What is inversion?

Auxiliary verb Had


Subject

Auxiliary verb

Verb + ing

I/a dog etc.

been

eating/swimming, etc.

For how many hours had Fred been painting the house when the ladder fell? (Use 1) How long had the player been playing before he scored? (Use 1)

The difference between the Present Perfect Continuous and Past Perfect Continuous

Negative sentences: Auxiliary verb + Subject not I/a dog /Mary, etc.

Auxiliary verb

Verb + ing

+
been

+
going/swimming, etc.

hadn't

He said he wasn't tired because he hadn't been working that day. (Use 3) If it hadn't been raining, we would have played football. (Use 2) Had I not been studying all night, I would have problems with this test now. (Use 2)

Past Simple

First time here? You may want to see the list of basic facts about tenses. a Quick example:
I was sleepy. He didn't learn any Italian when he was in Italy two year ago. I went to the cinema, bought popcorn and watched a movie.

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 ofter another.

USE
1. 2. 3. Events in the past that are now finished Situation in the past A series of actions in the past

USE 1: Past actions that are now finished


The first use of the Past Simple to express actions that happened at a specific time in the past. The actions can be short [1] or long [2]. Examples: John cut his finger last week. [1] I went to college 3 years ago. [2] He ate the dinner 1 hour ago. [1] I slept well last night. [2]

USE 2: Situation in the past


Another use of this tense is talk about situations in the past. Examples: I lived in New York for 10 years (I don't live there anymore).

USE 3: A series of actions in the past


The Past Simple can also be used with a few actions in the past happening one after another. Examples: He entered a room, lit a cigarette and smiled at the guests.

FORM
Forming a sentence in the Past Simple is easy. To form a declarative sentence, all you need is the subject of the sentence (e.g. I, you, he, a dog) and the past form of your verb (e.g. was, talked, swam). Questions and negative sentences are only a little more difficult, because they require an auxiliary verb.

Declarative Sentences

Subject e.g. I/a dog etc.

Verb + ED or an irregular verb form e.g. worked/went/made

I saw two colorful fishes in the lake yesterday (Use 1)

Examples

Use

He entered the room, lit a cigarette and smiled at the guests.

(Use 3)

Mary tried the soup but it was too hot to (Use 1) eat.

I lived in New York for 10 years (I don't (Use 2) live there anymore).

They saw us playing football.

(Use 1)

He married a woman who lived in the same village.

(Use 3)

I ate the cake yesterday.

(Use 1)

Time Expressions
Common time expressions (time adverbials) in the Past Simple are: o o o o yesterday the other day just now the day before yesterday

Questions

Auxiliary verb did Examples

Subject e.g. I/a dogetc. Use

Verb in the present form e.g. work/go/make

How long did he work there?

(Use 1)

Did the telephone ring?

(Use 1)

Did you see that?


Negative Sentences

(Use 1)

Subject e.g. I/a dogetc. Examples

Auxiliary verb + not

Verb in the past form

didn't Use

e.g.worked/went/made

He didn't learn any Italian when he was in Italy two year ago.

(Use 1)

I wasn't at my grandma's when you came.

(Use 1)

He didn't get any good grades when he attended school.

(Use 3)

Future Simple

First time here? You may want to see the list of basic facts about tenses. Quick example:
I will clean up my room. I promise! The telephone is ringing. I will pick it up! I think it will rain. He will stay there for hours, doing nothing.

The Future Simple is used in many situations such as when making promises or predictions.

USE
1. 2. 3. Promises Unplanned actions (spontaneous decisions) Predictions based on experience or intuition

4. Habits (obstinate insistence, usually habitual) Going to

You can also use "going to" to express future. We use it to express predictions based on observing the present situation: o It's going to rain. Look at the clouds!

READ MORE

USE 1: Promises
The first use of the Future Simple to make promises. Examples: I promise I will buy you this toy. Promise you will never leave me!

USE 2: Unplanned actions (spontaneous decisions)


Use this tense also to talk about unplanned (spontaneous) decisions. Examples: Don't worry! I will help you with this problem. I will close the window. It's starting to rain.

USE 3: Predictions based on experience or intuition


We often use the Future Simple when making a prediction based on experience or intuition. Examples: It will rain in a moment. It will get more difficult.

USE 4: Habits
The last use of this tense is interesting: we can also use the Future Simple to express habits. Examples: She will bit her lip if she is thinking or if she's nervous about something. He will always make noise when we are sleeping.

FORM
Contracted forms (more)
WILL = 'LL

She'll dance = she will dance

WILL + NOT = WON'T She won't dance = she will not dance

Declarative Sentences

Subject e.g. I/a dogetc.


Caution

Auxiliary verb

Verb

will

+ e.g.work/go/mak
e

Remember, you should never use will to say what somebody has already arranged or decided to do in the future: o o CORRECT: Mike is moving to New Jersey next month. INCORRECT: Mike will move to New Jersey next month.

READ MORE I think he will regret his choice. (Use 3) I will come back at 10 p.m. (Use 1) If you will keep your watch half an hour slow it is hardly surprising that you are late for your appointments. (Use 4) John will keep dropping his towel on the floor after a bath. (Use 4)

When I'm 60 years old, I will be completely bald. (Use 3)

I will visit my grandma at hospital. (Use 1 or Use 2) Let's buy the snacks at the supermarket they will be cheaper. (Use 3)

Questions

Auxiliary verb will


Remember
We often use "will" with:

Subject

Verb

e.g. I/a dogetc.

+ e.g.work/go/mak
e

probably, most likely

I'll probably drop in on uncle.

I think

This gift is great. I think we'll love it.

I'm sure

It's not going to be boring there. I'm sure there will be a lot of boys at your age

I wonder (if, what, when, etc.)

It's a bit late. I wonder if he'll come.

I expect

I haven't seen Matthew today. I expect he'll calltoday.

Will Will Will Will

he be surprised when he sees me? (Use 3) Mark be able to do the shopping before 10 a.m.? (Use 3) there be plenty of people in church? (Use 3) you study harder? (Use 1)

Negative Sentences

Subject e.g. I/a dogetc.


Auxiliary verb

Verb

will not

+ e.g.work/go/mak
e

I won't take any heavy equipment with me. (Use 2) I'm sorry I won't be able to help you with your English today. (Use 2) I expect that Sally will not clean up her room, unless you help her. (Use 3)

Future Continuous
Quick example:

First time here? You may want to see the list of basic facts about tenses.

Tomorrow at this time, I will be taking my English Langauge exam. Ben won't be eating the dinner now. He usually eats it around noon.! Will you be coming to the party tonight?

We mainly use the Future Continuous (aka Future Progressive) to indicate that we will be in the middle of doing something in a specified time in the future. There are also two other uses, listed below:

USE
1. 2. 3. Future actions in progress. Guesses about the present or the future. Polite questions about somebody's intentions*.

Good to know...
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: o o Will you come home? (= I want you to come home) Will you be coming home? (= I just want to know)

USE 1: Future actions in progress


The first use of the Future Continuous is to express future action in progress. Examples: In an hour, I will be sitting in front of my TV. In the evening, I will be baking a birthday cake.

USE 2: Guesses
Use this tense also to make guesses about something in the present or future. Examples: He won't be coming any time soon. He is still at the office. Beatrice will be getting married very soon.

USE 3: Questions
The last (but not least) use of the tense is to make polite questions about something or somebody. Examples: Will you be coming home before or after 10 p.m.? Will you be going to the supermarket? I have something to buy.

FORM
Contracted forms (more)
WILL = 'LL Example: She'll have been = she will have been WILL + NOT = WON'T Example: She won't have been = she will not have been Important: The Future Continuous appears in two forms: "will" form and "going to" form which can be used interchangably. Example: "She will be dancing" means "she is going to be dancing"

Declarative Sentences

Subject e.g. I/a dogetc.


Auxiliary verb

Auxiliary verb

Verb + ing

will

be

e.g.working/going/makin g

She'll be having a bath when I'm back home. (Use 1) Tomorrow at nine, I will be hosing off (=washing with a hose) my car. (Use 1) This time next week, I am going to be throwing a party. (Use 1) I'll be watching TV when my mother arrives. (Use 1) They will be getting home just about now. (Use 2)

Watch out!
Like any of the Future Tenses, Future Continuous cannot be used in sentences beginning with: while,when, before, by the time, if, etc. o By the time, you will be finishing your paiting.

Tomorrow at this time, I will be getting bored at school! (Use 1) Questions Auxiliary Subject Auxiliary verb Verb + ing verb + + + will

I/you/we etc.

be

dancing / taking

Is she going to be cooking when we knock at the door? (Use 1) Will Mark be playing football at 6 p.m.? (Use 1) Will you be using the screwdriver? (Use 3)

Negative Sentences

Subject e.g. I/a dogetc.


Auxiliary verb

Auxiliary verb

Verb + ing

will not

be

e.g.working/going/makin g

We won't be having supper tomorrow before 8 o'clock. (Use 1) I am not going to be learning English tomorrow at this time. (Use 1) John won't be sleeping now (= I think John isn't sleeping now) (Use 2)

Future Perfect

First time here? You may want to see the list of basic facts about tenses. Quick example:
By the next year, I will have graduated from university.

We use the Future Perfect tense to express an action that will be finished before some point in the future.

USE
1. Actions that will be finished before some point in the future.

Common Time Expressions


Time expressions that are commonly used with the Future Perfect: o o o Before By tomorrow/7 o'clock/next month Until/till

USE 1

The only use of this tense is to talk about future actions that will be finished before some specified point in the future.

Examples: Before they come, we will have cleaned up the house. John will have eaten the whole cake, by the time the party starts!

FORM
Contracted forms (more)
WILL = 'LL Example: She'll have finished = she will have finished WILL + NOT = WON'T Example: She won't have finished = she will not have finished Important: The Future Perfect appears in two forms: "will" form and "going to" form which can be used interchangably. Example: "She will have finished" means "she is going to have finished"

Positive Sentences

Subject e.g. I/a dogetc.

Auxiliary verb will

Auxiliary verb have

Verb + ing

+
e.g.eaten/given/goneetc.

Examples

Use

I will have retired by the end of this year. (Use 1)

I read 40 pages a day. If I keep up the pace, I will have read the book by Tuesday.
Questions

(Use 1)

Auxiliary verb will

Subject

e.g. I/a dogetc.

Auxiliary verb have

Verb + ing

+
e.g.eaten/given/goneetc.

Examples

Use

Will they have graduated from Cambridge by July 2009?

(Use 1)

Will I have retired by the end of the year?

(Use 1)

Will you have bought a new processor by (Use 1) the end of this week?
Negative Sentences

Subject e.g. I/a dogetc.

Auxiliary verb + not will not

Auxiliary verb have

Verb + ing

+
e.g.eaten/given/goneetc.

Examples

Use

They won't have graduated from from Cambridge by July 2009.

(Use 1)

My uncle won't have retired by the end (Use 1) of the year.

Future Perfect in reported speech


If you relate sentences in the Future Perfect, you should first replace "will" with "would". a) I said: "I will have arrived..." b) Jane said: "I will have recorded..." REPORTED SPEECH: a) I said I would have arrived ... b) Jane said she would have recorded ... Apart from that, there are some changes in time and place words. a) She said: "I will have returned from the US by the end of this month." b) He said: "My car will have been repaired by the next day. REPORTED SPEECH: a) She said she would have returned from the US by the of that month. b) He said (that) his car would have been repaired by the following day ( or by the day after).

Future Perfect Continuous


Quick example:

First time here? You may want to see the list of basic facts about tenses.

By the next year, I will have been working as a teacher for 30 years.

We use this tense to express actions that will be happening at a definite moment in the future.

USE
1. Actions that will be in progress at a definite moment in the future.

USE 1
The only use of this tense is to talk about future actions that will be in progress at some specified point in the future.

By tomorrow I will have been saving money for a new house for 4 years. Examples:

Before they come, we will have been cleaning the house for 5 hours. By the next year, Ben and his wife will have been living together for 50 years.

Common Time Expressions


Time expressions that are commonly used with the Future Perfect Perfect: o o o By tomorrow / 8 o'clock This year / month / week Next year / month / week

FORM
Contracted forms (more)
WILL = 'LL Example: She'll have been = she will have been WILL + NOT = WON'T Example: She won't have been = she will not have been

Positive Sentences

Subjec t e.g. I/a dogetc.

Auxiliary verb will

Auxiliary verb have

Auxiliary verb been

Verb + ing

e.g.eating/giving/goinget c.

Examples

Use

We will have been driving 6 hours by the (Use time we get home. 1)

In the summer Mike will have beentrying to find a new job for five months.

(Use 1)

Jane will be very tired when she comes home, because she will have been flying over 24 hours.

(Use 1)

My father and I will have

(Use

beenbreeding sheep for 20 years tomorrow. 1)

By the year 2020, linguists will have been (Use studying and definingthe Indo-European 1) language family for more than 200 years.
Note
If duration of an activity (e.g. "since April", "for three hours") is unknown then the Future Continuousshould be used instead of the Perfect Form. Example: o o I will be taking a bath.

Negative Sentences

Subjec t e.g. I/a dogetc.

Auxiliary verb will

Auxiliary verb have

Auxiliary verb been

Verb + ing

e.g.eating/giving/goinget c.

Examples

Use

She won't have been writing the book (Use 1) for four months by the end of October.
Negative sentences sound rather unnatural. This is probably because the answer to a question like, "Will she have been teaching for 30 years this year?", would simply be, "No, I don't think so".

Questions

Auxiliar y verb will Examples

Subject

e.g. I/a dogetc.

Auxiliary verb have

Auxiliary verb been

Verb + ing

e.g.eating/giving/goinget c.

Use

Will he have been writing the (Use 1) composition for a month by the end of

February?
Good to know...
Questions beginning with "how long" are more common. Examples: o How long will you have been learning German this year? o How long will you have been trying to get your driving license this week? I hope you'll finally make it!