You are on page 1of 19

First Certificate in English

Grammar: VERB TENSES
Explanations: Uses Exercises for further practise and consolidation

Gonzalo Velo de Ipola 2009

Present Simple 2. Bibliography Gonzalo Velo de Ipola 2009 . Grammar Reference 8. Present Perfect (Simple and Progressive) 5. Exercises 7. Present Continuous or Progressive 3. Future Time (All forms) 6. Past Time (All tenses) 4.Contents: 1.

Plot summaries and historical tables. At the moment we’re sharing the house with my brother-in-law and his wife until they can have their own. It is used to describe what happens in a film or a book. In Chapter one. A time epression is necessary. I usually take the bus to school 3.PRESENT SIMPLE 1. and geographical descriptions. A repeated temporary event The present continuous can describe a repeated temporary action. Habitual actions The present simple is used to describe habitual actons. The French Revolution begins. A time expression is necessary. Susan meets David at school 1789. or in a table of events. Habits over a period of time The present progressive can describe a temporary habit. Actions which are still in progress The presnt progressive is used to describe actions which are temporary and not yet finished. Facts which are always true. The present simple is used to describe facts in science. he’s smoking! You’re making the same mistake again! 4. The present simple is used tyo describe events in a narrative. PRESENT CONTINUOUS OR PROGRESSIVE 1. when the events are summarised. I’m listening to music now 2. 3. Whenever I see Tom. An annoying habit The present continuous is used to describe an annoying habit. 2. You’re always complaining! She’s constantly borrowing money from us! Gonzalo Velo de Ipola 2009 . The light from the Sun takes 8 mins 20 secs to reach the Earth The River Po flows into the Adriaqtic Sea. A frequency adverb is often used. A frequency adver is compulsory.

While Sally was trying to get onto the platform. to cheek if it needs more salt. Some were sleeping ond the benches. Sally went into the station and bought a ticket. Background description The past continuous is used to describe actions still in progress. Interrupted past actions We often contrast an action still in progress with a sudden event which interrupts it. because they describe activities which already extend in time. These are called STATE VERBS Be Believe Cost Depend Have Hear Know Matter Smell Suppose Taste Think Understand Some of these verbs can be used in the continuous form BUT with a change in meaning: Tim is being rather difficult at the moment. Susan managed to push her away to the front of the crowd. (Consider) PAST TIME (all tenses) Narrative 1. 2.STATE VERBS Some verbs are not normally used in the progressive. Gonzalo Velo de Ipola 2009 . (Sample) I’m thinking of buying a new car. Past before past The past perfect is used to describe a past event which took place before another past event. and others were walking up and down. 3. There were a lot of people waiting in the station. Before the train arrived. Sally had managed to puesh her away to the front of the crowd. and is used for background description. (Behave) I’m having lunch. By the time the train arrived. (Eat) I’m tasting the soup. a man grabbed her handbag. 4. Main events The past simple is used to describe finished events in the past. Note: it is not necessary to use past perfect if there’s a time expression tat states clearly the order in which the actions happened.

Gonzalo Velo de Ipola 2009 . A time expression is usually necessary. (Note: Time expressions are not necessary) Used to can also describe past states. but now I get up at eight. Past simple The past ssimple is used to describe past habits or states. The event may be connected with the present. 4. because the result of the event is present.Habits in the past 1. usually in contrast with the present. he was always getting into trouble. With the verb THINK the past continuous suggests uncertainty. Used to Used to is used to describe past habits. I used to own a horse. I haven’t found her phone number yet. A time expression may emphasise recentness. and in personal reminiscences. Jack would turn on the radio. No definite time is given for the event. light his pipe and fell asleep. When he was young. I’ve left my shopping bag behind. We can also describe events that have not happened. Would Would is used to describe a person’s typical activities in the past. I’ve just borken my watch. I was thinking of having a party next week. I used to get up at six. It can ONLY be used for repeated actions. (Habit) I lived in Australia several years. Present perfect simple The present perfect simple is used to describe events without a definite time. I always got up at six those days. Every morning was the same. Politeness and Uncertainty The past continuous with the verb WONDER has a polite meaning. (I owned a horse once) 3. I was wondering if you could help me. Past Continuous The past continuous can be used to describe repeated actions in the past. A frequency adverb is compulsory. often an annoying habit. and is mainly used in writing. The idea of time or place in the speaker’s mind makes the event recent. (State) 2. PRESENT PERFECT Recent events 1.

I’ve never worn a tie to work.I’ve broken my arm as you can see. Indefinite events 1. stay prefer the present perfect continuous. There is little difference in meaning between simple and continuous in this case. lie. Present perfect simple With verbs that describe states. this may suggest a definite time. Extended or repeated events 1. I’ve left my shopping bag on the train. Compared with past simple Events described using the past simple have definite times. Definite places If we think of a definite place for an event. This is the first time I’ve eaten Japanese food. Present perefect simple This tense can describe an habitual action over a period of time up to the present moment. or has recently finished. We’ve been walking for hours! Let’s have a rest. The verbs sit. I’ve been in Mar del Plata three times 2. How long have you been waiting? 3. 2. questions. or in How long. That’s why I’m so dirty! Gonzalo Velo de Ipola 2009 . Present perfect simple No definite time is given for the event. Present perfect continuous The present perfect progressive also describes a state which lasts up to the present moment. I’ve been living in this house for five years. the present perfect simple describes a state which lasts up to the present. I’ve lived in this house for five years.. wait. Not Completed Use of the present perfect continuous can suggest that an action is not completed. I’ve been digging the garden. 2. and I refuse to start now! CONTRASTS BETWEEN SIMPLE AND CONTINUOUS 1. I went to Merlo last year. The tense used can depend on the time expression.

In ten years time I expect I’ll be living in Buenos Aires. 5. By the time we get there. Will Will is used to make predictions. Giving the number of actions suggests completion. the film will have started. Look out! There’s a bus coming! It’s going to hit us! I can see you’re going to have a baby. UNTIL and AS SOON AS a present tense form is used. You’re going to fall! 3. In speech both will and shall are contracted to ‘ll. Future Continuous The future continuous i used to describe a situation in the future at a particular time.2. I’ve written ten pages of my homework assignment! FUTURE TIME (All forms) Prediction 1. going to is also commonly used for predictions. and especially in impersonal statements. I’ll wait fotr you until you get back Gonzalo Velo de Ipola 2009 . 4. Present cause We often make predictions because we can see the cause of the event. This means at the future time when we get there. Future Perfect The future perfect looks back form a point in the future and refers to indefinite time up to that pint. Going to If a predicted event is very near. 2. It is often preceded by I think or by opinion words like perhaps. although this refers to future time. I think it’ll rain tomorrow. This time next week we’ll be eating lunch on the plane! It is also used to predict a future state or habit at a particular time in the future. Use of shall after I and we is more common in formal speech. Perhaps she’ll be late. we can say: The film has started. A time expression is also necessary. Future time clauses 1. Completed Use of the present perfect simple can show that an action is incomplete. After time expressions WHEN.

2. such as events in a timetable. I can’t help you. Such arrangements may be written in a diary. I’ll wait here until you have finished Intention 1. Plans and Facts 1. 2. Sorry. Present progressive The present progressive is used to describe plans and arrangements which are definite. The plane for Brazil leaves at 9. Will Will is also used for decisions made at the time of speaking Oh! It’s Bob’s birthday tomorrow! I’ll buy him a present when I can. I’m going to fix the television tomorrow 2. The present perfect can be used to emphasise the completion of an event. I’m leaving tomorrow morning. or a law. Gonzalo Velo de Ipola 2009 . They may be facts. Present Simple This tense is used to describe future events which we cannot control.45. Going to Going to is used to describe a present intention.

Exercises FOR PERSONAL REFLECTION Which of the uses explained above you didn’t know? Did you find any interesting information in the explanations given? How would you organize that “new” information so that you remember it better? Gonzalo Velo de Ipola 2009 .

. Define – in your own words. b) Sarah is nervous. a) I ____________________ of moving town. Which ones refer to state verbs? TICK them • • • • • • Senses Abilities Feelings Mind states Emotions Other 3. d) Charles always complains about everything! Look back on the previous sentences think and answer: What is the difference in MEANING between the sentences? Stative Verbs 1.what is a stative or state verb: 2. c) People get their services paid via internet nowadays. Decide if the verb must take an –ing form and justify your choice briefly. Change these sentences into Present Progressive a) He paints beautifully. I’m fed up with the noises here! THINK Gonzalo Velo de Ipola 2009 . Do you find anything in common? Look at these categories. Look back to the different verbs mentioned that are stative.FROM THEORY TO PRACTISE.. Complete the sentences with the verbs given. Exercises to learn Present Simple vs Present Progressive 1.

b) George ____________________ that this is not the right thing to do. Follow the instructions carefully. TASTE d) Mary ____________________ dinner with some friends tonight. HAVE 4. HAVE e) Argentina ____________________ many different and colourful landscapes to see. Which function do they take: a) Adjectives? b) Adverbs? c) Nouns? Gonzalo Velo de Ipola 2009 . THINK c) The cookers ____________________ the wine to see if it’s got the flavour they want. Note: The verbs Must be only in present simple or continuous. Write sentences with the verbs given. a) FINISH: Future time reference b) COMB: Habit c) SEE: Future arrangement d) TEASE: Annoying habit Other uses of the -ing form: Read the poem and extract the –ing forms.

. infallibly. etc.) and justify your choices clearly. she could not bear the tight clasp of it another moment.. and yet she breathed deeply. dark eyes and an air of listening.but she did look. with smiling.” Extracted from BLISS. and it gave her back a woman. But in her bosom there was still that bright glowing place . by Katherine Mansfield Gonzalo Velo de Ipola 2009 . with big.Past Time 1.. radiant. It was almost unbearable.. habitual action in the past.. waiting for something .In the following texts identify the use of the past time (narrative. that she knew must happen . and the cold air fell on her arms. trembling lips. She hardly dared to breathe for fear of fanning it higher. deeply.that shower of little sparks coming from it. She hardly dared to look into the cold mirror . But all the same Bertha threw off her coat.. TEXT 1 TEXT 2 TEXT 3 “It was dusky in the dining-room and quite chilly. divine to happen .

include some phrasal verbs or vocabulary developed in class Gonzalo Velo de Ipola 2009 . b) Mary (not wear) __________________ her glasses at that time. Write sentences to illustrate the different uses of the past progressive tense: 3. Put the verbs into a suitable tense: a) The police (pay) __________________ no attention to Clare’s complaint because she (phone) __________________ them so many times before. she (fall) __________________ asleep. Invent a story that provides an explanation for the following picture: 200 words maximum Remember:  Give your story a good tittle (don’t underline the tittle)  Write your story using the PAST time  If possible. 4. e) Sorry. I (think) __________________ about something else. and while she (finish) __________________ her homework. c) Nick (lie) __________________ down on the grass for a while. g) The police (get) __________________ to Mark’s house as fast as they could. I (not listen) __________________ to you.2. but the burglars (disappear) __________________. f) Helen (feel) __________________ very tired. so she (not notice) __________________ what kind of car the man (drive)__________________. d) Tony (admit) __________________ that he (hit) __________________ the other car. next to some tourists who (feed) __________________the ducks. but said he (not damage) __________________ it.

The first Winter Youth Olympics will be held in Innsbruck. What have you been doing today/ yesterday? Have you eaten Italian food before/ already? I’ve been living here in/ since the end of last year. I’ve written to David last week/ recently. How many people you (invite) ____________________ for the party? Those two cats (sit) ____________________ on that branch for the last hour. Do these forms agree with what has been exposed in the theory? January • • January 1 . Put each verb into the present perfect simple or the present perfect continuous: a) b) c) d) e) f) g) h) i) Someone (eat) ____________________ the cakes! What you (buy) ____________________ your sister for her birthday? My throat is really sore. Graham and Sally (try) ____________________ to find a house for ages. Austria.Present Perfect 1. I’ve been trying to get in touch with Amanda for ages/ for the last time. Answer these questions: a) What is the difference between past simple and present perfect simple? b) What is the difference between present perfect simple and present perfect continuous? 2.Poland will adopt the Euro. It’s ages ago/since i last went to a football match. Future Time 1. 3. Gonzalo Velo de Ipola 2009 . Brenda (learn) ____________________ Russian. Actually I had dinner with Sue last night/ lately. Choose the most suitable time expression: a) b) c) d) e) f) g) h) I haven’t seen Jerry for/ since a long time. but they can’t find one they can afford. January 13–22 . Read to some predictions and highlight the future forms used. It (rains) ____________________ all day! Why can’t it stop! I (do) ____________________ everything you asked. I (sing) ____________________ all evening. but she finds it difficult.

e: decisions taken at the moment of speaking) c) We use present progressive to refer to future arrangements.• January 31 . d) We use will to express a near future based on a preent evidence. 2. Write sentences using the adverbials indicated. rather than one unified command under the Combined Forces Command. The Beatles debut album.019 km. will fall out of copyright.090 mi). Please Please Me. April • April 17 .639. NASA studied Eros with the NEAR Shoemaker probe launched on 1996-02-17. All sentences must have a future time reference: a) Tomorrow b) By the year 2012 c) Next week d) By that time e) In the next ten years Gonzalo Velo de Ipola 2009 . the second-largest Near Earth Object on record (size 13×13×33 km) will pass Earth at 0.1790 astronomical units (26. True or false? Correct the false statements: a) We can use present simple to denote future time reference. Indiana. March • March 22 .Unless the European Council votes to extend current copyright law. Two distinct military commands (South Korea and the United States) will operate in Korea during wartime. February • February 5 . f) Future perfect is used to describe an action that will be finished before another action. e) The sentence “ I will be visiting my parents next month” is incorrect. 16.Super Bowl XLVI will be played at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. 3. b) We use “be going to” to indicate on-the-spot decisions (i.778.433 Eros.The United States will cede wartime control of the military of the Republic of Korea after 50 years and dissolve the Combined Forces Command. also future.

4. Fill in with the grammatical structure that corresponds to each future form: WILL Will+infinitive BE GOING TO Future forms PRESENT SIMPLE PRESENT PROGRESSIVE FUTURE PERFECT FUTURE CONTINUOUS 5. Write as many sentences as you wish using these verbs: GIVE HAPPEN BE CONTRIBUTE Remember:  All sentences must have future time reference  Try to use ALL forms studied (see chart on the previous exercise)  Use clear time references to back up your choices (adverbs. adverbials. etc) Gonzalo Velo de Ipola 2009 .

were became began blew broke brought built burst bought burst caught chose came cut dealt did drank drove ate fell fed felt fought found flew forbade forgot forgave froze got gave went grew had heard hid held hurt kept knew laid led Past Participle been become begun blown broken brought built burst bought burst caught chosen come cut dealt done drunk driven eaten fallen fed felt fought found flown forbidden forgotten forgiven frozen gotten given gone grown had heard hidden held hurt kept known laid led Gonzalo Velo de Ipola 2009 .Grammar Reference: List of Irregular Verbs in English Present be become begin blow break bring build burst buy burst catch choose come cut deal do drink drive eat fall feed feel fight find fly forbid forget forgive freeze get give go grow have hear hide hold hurt keep know lay lead Past was.

leave let lie lose make meet pay quit read ride run say see seek sell send shake shine sing sit sleep speak spend spring stand steal swim swing take teach tear tell think throw wake wear win write left let lay lost made met paid quit read rode ran said saw sought sold sent shook shone sang sat slept spoke spent sprang stood stole swam swung took taught tore told thought threw woke (waked) wore won wrote left let lain lost made met paid quit read ridden run said seen sought sold sent shaken shone sung sat slept spoken spent sprung stood stolen swum swung taken taught torn told thought thrown understood woken (waked) worn won written understand understood Gonzalo Velo de Ipola 2009 .

edu Contact: gonza432_2@hotmail.Bibliography Consulted: FIRST CERTIFICATE LANGUAGE PRACTISE by Michael Vince.com Gardendigest.english.Heinemann.com Gonzalo Velo de Ipola 2009 .com Classicreader.purdue.com Owl. 1996 Webpages Consulted: Wikipedia.