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Tenses

The past tense is used when you talk and write about an event that happened yesterday. What about an event that youre talking about now but has not happened yet? Or an event that has begun in the past and hasnt finished yet? Confusing? Just go through these slides and youll be time travelling between past, present and future in no time!

The present perfect tense


For events begun in the past and continuing up to the present. (Still happening)
E.g. Ms Chan has lived in Singapore all her life. This building has been standing since 1950.

The present perfect tense


For actions occurring at unspecified times (with or without adverbials like just, already, ever)
E.g. I have already washed the dishes.

Have you been to London before?

The present perfect tense


To express habitual or continued action
E.g. She has had long hair all her life. Tom has never been to Canada.

The present perfect continuous tense

To express an action that began in the past, continued into the present, and may continue into the future or has only just finished.
E.g. Karen has been reading for two hours, and she hasnt finished yet! I have been exercising every day in the past week. She has been looking for a kitten to adopt since the beginning of this year.

The past perfect tense


To describe a sequence of events in the past (a past event completed before another event that happened in the past).
E.g. He went home because he had forgotten to bring his umbrella.

When I arrived home, he had already called.

The past perfect tense


In reported speech
E.g. He said that he had already had chicken rice for lunch yesterday. Matthew said that he had gone to watch the movie.

The past perfect continuous tense

To mark an action going on in the past when a second one took place
E.g. I had been watching the show for an hour when the television broke down. Sally had been having an ordinary day till she witnessed an accident on her way home.

Remember these?
Simple past tense is used after wish as well as to indicate a past habit
E.g. I wish I was a plumber

I had a lisp

I was lazy

Remember these?
The present continuous tense is used for activities planned for the future.
E.g. We are going to the zoo tomorrow.

Remember these?
The past continuous tense is used for activities that took place over a period of time.
E.g. They were singing for an hour.

She was cooking dinner.