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SUMMARY OF

TENSES

future
present

past

We use tenses of verbs to refer to


actions or situations in the present, in
the past and in the future

future

There are different sorts of tenses:


simple tenses

past

present

continuous tenses
perfect tenses
perfect continuous tenses

future
present

present tenses
present simple

past

present continuous
present perfect
present perfect continuous

present
simple

FORM

present
continuous

present
perfect

present perfect
continuous

The present simple is formed with the infinitive of the


main verb. The negative and interrogative are formed
with the present tense of the verb to do + infinitive.
Examples
I start ( he starts) work at 8.30 a.m.
When do I start work?
I dont start work until 9.00 a..m. / He doesnt start work
until 9.00 a..m.

present
simple

USE

present
continuous

present
perfect

1. for habitual and repeated actions


Example
I play blues harp and dobro guitar

present perfect
continuous

present
simple

USE

present
continuous

present
perfect

present perfect
continuous

1. for habitual and repeated actions


2. with adverbs (or expressions) of frequency
( often usually sometimes -seldom rarely always
occasionally never twice a week - on Tuesdays
most of the time ....)
Example
He often arrives late

present
simple

USE

present
continuous

present
perfect

present perfect
continuous

1. for habitual and repeated actions


2. with adverbs (or expressions) of frequency
3. Certain verbs are usually only used in the simple form

verbs of the
senses

see- hear- smell notice recognize

verbs of emotions

want desire refuse forgive wish care love hate


like dislike

verbs of thinking

think feel realize understand know mean suppose


believe expect remember forget

Example
Do you see what I mean?
She likes my brother very much.
I suppose he realizes that now.

present
simple

USE

present
continuous

present
perfect

present perfect
continuous

1. for habitual and repeated actions


2. with adverbs (or expressions) of frequency
3. Certain verbs are usually only used in the simple form
4. for something that is permanently true

Example
Water boils at 100 C.

present
simple

present
continuous

on the time diagram

past

present
perfect

now

I get up at 7.30 a.m. every day.

present perfect
continuous

future

present
simple

present
continuous

present
perfect

present perfect
continuous

FORM
This tense is formed with the present tense of the verb to
be + present participle of the main verb.

Examples
Im watching television.
What are you doing?
He isnt coming.

present
simple

present
continuous

present
perfect

present perfect
continuous

USE
1. For actions happening at the moment of
speaking.

Example
Shes reading the newspaper.

present
simple

present
continuous

present
perfect

present perfect
continuous

USE
1. For actions happening at the moment of
speaking.
2. For a temporary state.
Example
The company is reorganizing its services.

present
simple

present
continuous

present
perfect

present perfect
continuous

USE
1. For actions happening at the moment of
speaking.
2. For a temporary state.
3. For a definite arrangement in the near future.
Example
Theyre signing the contract tomorrow.

present
simple

present
continuous

present
perfect

present perfect
continuous

USE
1. For actions happening at the moment of
speaking.
2. For a temporary state.
3. For a definite arrangement in the near future.
Some verbs are not usually used in a continuous
form

verbs of senses

see hear smell notice - recognize

verbs of emotion

want desire refuse forgive wish care love


hate like - dislike

verbs of thinking

think feel realize understand know mean


suppose believe expect remember - forget

verbs of possessing

own owe belong - possess

some other verbs

seem appear (seem) contain consist keep


(continue) - matter

present
simple

present
continuous

present
perfect

present perfect
continuous

on the time diagram

past

now

Im adjusting the rotating speed

future

present
simple

present
continuous

present
perfect

present perfect
continuous

FORM
This tense is formed with the present tense of the verb to
have + past participle of the main verb.

Examples
Ive finished.
Where have you been?
I havent talked to him.

present
simple

present
continuous

present
perfect

present perfect
continuous

USE
1. Actions in the recent past with just, recently,
already, at last, lately

Example
He has just immersed the temperature probe into the
molten steel.

present
simple

present
continuous

present
perfect

present perfect
continuous

USE
1. Actions in the recent past with just, recently,
already, at last, lately
2. General experience with ever never before
so far
Example
This is the highest carbon ratio Ive ever seen.

present
simple

present
continuous

present
perfect

present perfect
continuous

USE
1. Actions in the recent past with just, recently,
already, at last, lately
2. General experience with ever never before
so far
3. The indefinite past: we are interested in what
happened, not in when it happened.
Example
I have seen the report. (I know what it is about.)
He has sold the company.
They have had lunch.

present
simple

present
continuous

present
perfect

present perfect
continuous

USE
1. Actions in the recent past with just, recently,
already, at last, lately
2. General experience with ever never before
so far
3. The indefinite past: we are interested in what
happened, not in when it happened.
4. Actions starting in the past and continuing to
the present, with for or since.
Example
The operation has been suspended for two months.
The firm has had a Belgian branch since October last year.

present
simple

present
continuous

present
perfect

present perfect
continuous

on the time diagram


relationship with the
present moment

pas
t

now

I ve just arrived.

future

present
simple

present
continuous

present
perfect

present perfect
continuous

on the time diagram

pas
t

? ?

now

Have you been to France?

future

present
simple

present
continuous

present
perfect

present perfect
continuous

on the time diagram

pas
t

now

They have revised their


report.

future

present
simple

present
continuous

present
perfect

present perfect
continuous

on the time diagram

pas
t

now

We have conducted experiments on this


phenomenon for almost two years.

future

present
simple

present
continuous

present
perfect

present perfect
continuous

FORM
This tense is formed with the present perfect of the verb
to be + present participle of the main verb.

Examples
I ve been writing code for our new data-mining program.
Has she been trying to contact me?
She hasnt been writing at all.

present
simple

present
continuous

present
perfect

present perfect
continuous

USE
We use this tense for actions started in the past,
continuing to the present and probably continuing into
the future. We often use it with for or since.

Examples
I ve been trying to persuade him for ten years now.
We ve been practicing this routine since last Wednesday.

present
simple

present
continuous

present
perfect

present perfect
continuous

on the time diagram

past

now
1984

future

2004

I ve been driving driving lorries for twenty


years.....
In this sentence, the duration is emphasized, either
positively or negatively.
So I know what Im talking about!
So its high time I quit.

present
simple

present
continuous

present
perfect

present perfect
continuous

on the time diagram

past

now
1984

future

2004

I ve driven a Volkswagen for twenty


years.....
In this sentence, the duration is indicated,
but the car brand is emphasized.
Clearly I have confidence in this car.

future
present

past simple
past continuous
past perfect

past

past perfect continuous

past tenses

past simple

FORM

past
continuous

past perfect

past perfect
continuous

This tense is formed by adding -ed to the infinitive. The


negative and interrogative are formed with the past tense
of the verb to do + infinitive of the main verb

Examples
They arrived at head quarters an hour ago.
When did he finalize this deal?
I didnt finish until 12 oclock.

past simple

USE

past
continuous

past perfect

past perfect
continuous

1. For actions completed at a definite time in the


past.

Example
We signed the contract last Friday at 2 oclock.

past simple

USE

past
continuous

past perfect

past perfect
continuous

1. For actions completed at a definite time in the


past.
2. For actions which are already completed in the
past: the time is understood but not stated.
Example
Did you arrive in time?

past simple

USE

past
continuous

past perfect

past perfect
continuous

1. For actions completed at a definite time in the


past.
2. For actions which are already completed in the
past: the time is understood but not stated.
3. The unreal past tense is used after the verb to
wish and after words and phrases such as if
only; its time; suppose etc.
The simple past
tense implies that the speaker knows that the
wish or the idea is impossible. Note that the
wish refers to the present time.
Examples
If I only knew his name.
I wish I were at home now.
If I were in his shoes, I would fix his wagon without much
scruples.

past simple

past
continuous

past perfect

on the time diagram

past

15.30

now

I arrived at 15.30 sharp.

past perfect
continuous

future

past simple

FORM

past
continuous

past perfect

past perfect
continuous

This tense is formed with the past tense of the verb to be


+ present participle of the main verb.

Examples
I was watching TV at 8 oclock yesterday.
Where were you looking for my glasses this time?
I wasnt eavesdropping at all!

past simple

USE

past
continuous

past perfect

past perfect
continuous

1. To emphasize the continuity of the past action.

Examples
She was playing tennis with a friend.
He was discussing production planning for the coming
week.

past simple

USE

past
continuous

past perfect

past perfect
continuous

1. To emphasize the continuity of the past action.


2. To describe an action in progress at a certain time
in the past.

Examples
At 6 p.m. I was still sleeping.
At a quarter past nine I was having breakfast.
Prices were going up all the time.

past simple

USE

past
continuous

past perfect

past perfect
continuous

1. To emphasize the continuity of the past action.


2. To describe an action in progress at a certain time
in the past.
3. To describe an interrupted past action.
Examples
When he arrived, I was studying the quarterly reports.

past simple

USE

past
continuous

past perfect

past perfect
continuous

1. To emphasize the continuity of the past action.


2. To describe an action in progress at a certain time
in the past.
3. To describe an interrupted past action.
4. To express repeated past actions which caused
irritation, annoyance. ( with always, forever)
Examples
He was always trying to influence the personnel director.
She was forever paring her nails during meetings.

past simple

past
continuous

past perfect

on the time diagram

past

past perfect
continuous

now

I was working all day yesterday.

futur
e

past simple

past
continuous

past perfect

on the time diagram

past

past perfect
continuous

now
I was working all day yesterday.

futur
e

yesterda
y
past

now
I worked all day yesterday.

futur
e

past simple

past
continuous

past perfect

on the time diagram

past

past perfect
continuous

now

futur
e
1. I was working all day yesterday.
yesterda
y

past

now
2. I worked all day yesterday.

futur
e

While (1) emphasizes the continuity of the action, (2) only


indicates that the action took place yesterday.

past simple

past
continuous

past perfect

on the time diagram

past

now
8.30 p.m.

past perfect
continuous

futur
e

I was watching TV at 8.30 last night.

past simple

past
continuous

past perfect

on the time diagram


8.30 p.m.
past

past perfect
continuous

now

futur
e

3. I was watching TV at 8.30 last


night.
8.30 p.m.
past

futur
e
4. I watched TV at 8.30 last night.
now

Whereas 3. indicates that the action started before and continued after a
certain point in time, 4. indicates that the action happened (started) at 8.30

past simple

past
continuous

past perfect

on the time diagram

past perfect
continuous

I was browsing through your report ...

past

now

when he knocked at my office door.

futur
e

past simple

FORM

past
continuous

past perfect

past perfect
continuous

This tense is formed with the past tense of the verb to


have + past participle of the main verb.

Examples
I had never seen so many measuring tools.
What assistance had he given?
He hadnt expected this outcome.

past simple

USE

past
continuous

past perfect

past perfect
continuous

1. We use this tense to describe one past action


happening before another past action.

Example
The customer had left the shop by the time I found his
order form.

past simple

USE

past
continuous

past perfect

past perfect
continuous

1. We use this tense to describe one past action


happening before another past action.
2. We use it when necessary to indicate the
sequence of two actions.
Example
He had already cleared the screen when I got behind his
desk.

past simple

USE

past
continuous

past perfect

past perfect
continuous

1. We use this tense to describe one past action


happening before another past action.
2. We use it when necessary to indicate the
sequence of two actions.
3. We often us it when the second action is
understood, but not stated.
Example
I hadnt realized!

(until you told me.)

past simple

past
continuous

past perfect

on the time diagram


past

had
dinner

watched
TV

past perfect
continuous

now

future

1. When I had had dinner, I watched TV.

past

had
dinner

watche
d TV

now

future

2. I had dinner before I watched TV.


In (1) the sequence of actions is expressed by the past
perfect tense; whereas in (2) the sequence of actions
is indicated by the use of before

past simple

FORM

past
continuous

past perfect

past perfect
continuous

This tense is formed with the past perfect tense of the


verb to be + present participle of the main verb.

Examples
She had been working as a secretary for two years when
she was promoted.
What had she been writing all day?
He hadnt been listening to that tape for that long.

past simple

USE

past
continuous

past perfect

past perfect
continuous

1. We use this tense to describe a continuous past


action happening before another past action.
We often use it with for + time
period.
Example
We had been waiting for thirty minutes when they arrived.

past simple

USE

past
continuous

past perfect

past perfect
continuous

1. We use this tense to describe a continuous past


action happening before another past action.
We often use it with for + time
period.
2. We use this tense to emphasize the continuity or
duration of the past action.
Example
I had been waiting for my exam results for six weeks.
(before I got them.)

past simple

past
continuous

past perfect

on the time diagram

past

10 minutes

past perfect
continuous

now

future

1. I had been waiting for 10 minutes when she


arrived.

past

now

2. I waited for 10 minutes before she arrived.


Whereas in (1) the past perfect continuous indicates both the
sequence of the actions and the continuity of the first action; in
(2) the sequence of the actions is indicated by before. (1.)

future

future tenses

present

future simple
future continuous
future perfect
future perfect continuous
going to

past

present continuous
present simple

future
simple
going
to ...

future
continuous
present

future
perfect
present

continuous

simple

future perfect
continuous

USE
We use this tense to express a pure future. Actions
expressed in the simple future are bound to happen
because of the course of time. This means that the
speaker has no power over the events, that he cannot
control what will happen. For this reason this tense is also
called the uncertain future..
Examples
He will be sixteen years old next Friday.
The baby will be born next month

future
simple
going
to ...

future
continuous
present

future
perfect
present

continuous

simple

future perfect
continuous

USE
1. We often use this tense with particular verbs; such
as think know believe suppose expect hope to
express beliefs, convictions, hope, expectations,
knowledge and opinions about the future.

Examples
I think Brazil will win.
I dont suppose she will be promoted now

future
simple
going
to ...

future
continuous
present

future
perfect
present

continuous

simple

future perfect
continuous

USE
1. We often use this tense with particular verbs; such
as think know believe suppose expect hope to
express beliefs, convictions, hope, expectations,
knowledge and opinions about the future.
2. We often use it with particular adverbs such as:
probably possibly perhaps to express uncertainty
about the future.
Examples
He will probably ask the general manager.
This matter will probably not be raised before the
commissions first meeting

future
simple
going
to ...

future
continuous
present

future
perfect
present

continuous

simple

future perfect
continuous

USE
1. We often use this tense with particular verbs; such
as think know believe suppose expect hope to
express beliefs, convictions, hope, expectations,
knowledge and opinions about the future.
2. We often use it with particular adverbs such as:
probably possibly perhaps to express uncertainty
about the future.
3. The simple present is used in conditional clauses
and time clauses. The simple future is used in the
main clause (not in the if-clause).
Examples
He ll help you if you ask him.
I ll tell him the news as soon as I see him.
He ll be arrested the moment he sets foot on Schengen

future
simple
going
to ...

FORM

future
continuous
present

future
perfect
present

continuous

simple

future perfect
continuous

This tense is formed with the present tense of the verb to


be + going to + infinitive of the main verb.

Examples
I m going to watch this football match on TV tonight.
What are you going to do about this ?
She isnt going to give this party next week

future
simple
going
to ...

USE

future
continuous
present

future
perfect
present

continuous

simple

future perfect
continuous

1. We use this tense to talk about present intentions


and plans for future actions.

Examples
I m going to pass my exams next month.
I m going to spend two weeks in Spain this summer.

future
simple
going
to ...

USE

future
continuous
present

future
perfect
present

continuous

simple

future perfect
continuous

1. We use this tense to talk about present intentions


and plans for future actions.
2. We also use going to in order to express
subjective certainty on the part of the speaker.
Examples
This boat is going to sink.
Its going to rain, by the look

future
simple
going
to ...

USE

future
continuous
present

future
perfect
present

continuous

simple

future perfect
continuous

1. We use this tense to indicate definite future


arrangements, actions planned in the near
future. We nearly always use a future time expression
with it.

Examples
He s starting his new job next Monday.
I m taking the 11 oclock train to Berlin

future
simple
going
to ...

USE

future
continuous
present

future
perfect
present

continuous

simple

future perfect
continuous

1. We use this tense to indicate definite future


arrangements, actions planned in the near
future. We nearly always use a future time expression
with it.
Note: do not confuse intention ( to be + going to + verb)
and arrangement (to be + present participle).
Examples
Im going to stay in London. = intention
Im going to London next weekend = arrangement

future
simple
going
to ...

FORM

future
continuous
present

future
perfect
present

continuous

simple

future perfect
continuous

This tense is formed with the infinitive of the main verb.


The negative and interrogative are formed with the
present tense of to do + infinitive
Examples
The plane takes off at 7.30 local time.
The match begins at 14.00 hours.
You leave from Kennedy airport at noon, and arrive in
Paris at 15.00 hours GMT.

future
simple
going
to ...

USE

future
continuous
present

future
perfect
present

continuous

simple

future perfect
continuous

We use this tense to talk about planned future actions.


We usually use it to describe travel plans, time tables,
departures, arrivals.

Examples
The bus leaves at 15.30.
The reception starts at 19.00 hours.
The ferry leaves Dover at 12.30 tomorrow and we arrive
at Calais at 13.15.

future
simple
going
to ...

FORM

future
continuous
present

future
perfect
present

continuous

simple

future perfect
continuous

This tense is formed with the future simple of to be +


present participle of the main verb.

Examples
We ll be flying to Rome this time next week.
What will you be doing this time next week?
They wont be sitting in the classroom at 6 oclock
tomorrow.

future
simple
going
to ...

USE

future
continuous
present

future
perfect
present

continuous

simple

future perfect
continuous

We use this tense for actions that will be in progress


at a certain time in the future.

Examples
At 11.45 next Friday, I ll be doing my chemistry exam.
I ll be hiking through the States this time next year.

future
simple
going
to ...

future
continuous
present

future
perfect
present

continuous

simple

on the time diagram

past

now

future perfect
continuous

future

This time next week Ill be taking my driving test.

future
simple
going
to ...

USE

future
continuous
present

future
perfect
present

continuous

simple

future perfect
continuous

1. The future continuous is also used to express longterm arrangements, especially for travelling.

Examples
The band will be travelling through Scandinavia at the
end of the month. They will be giving three performances
there.

future
simple
going
to ...

USE

future
continuous
present

future
perfect
present

continuous

simple

future perfect
continuous

1. The future continuous is also used to express longterm arrangements, especially for travelling.
2. The future continuous is also used to ask very polite
questions about future activities. By using the
future continuous tense, the speaker asking the
questions shows that he does not want to influence the
other persons decision in any way at all.
Examples
Where will you be having dinner, Sir? (secretary to boss)
What will you be having, Madam? (waiter to customer)

future
simple
going
to ...

USE

future
continuous
present

future
perfect
present

continuous

simple

future perfect
continuous

1. The future continuous is also used to express longterm arrangements, especially for travelling.
2. The future continuous is also used to ask very polite
questions about future activities. By using the
future continuous tense, the speaker asking the
questions shows that he does not want to influence the
other persons decision in any way at all.
3. The future continuous is also used to make
deductions about what is happening at the moment
Examples
speaking.
He of
will
be working in his garden now. Otherwise, he would
have heard the phone.
She hasnt begun making up the beds. She will still be
doing the washing up.

future
simple
going
to ...

FORM

future
continuous
present

future
perfect
present

continuous

simple

future perfect
continuous

This tense is formed with will + have + past participle of


the main verb.

Examples
They ll have finalized their business by noon.
Will they have copied all that material by Friday morning?
They wont have organized this course by the end of this
year.

future
simple
going
to ...

USE

future
continuous
present

future
perfect
present

continuous

simple

future perfect
continuous

We use this tense to describe actions which we know


will (or will not) be completed by a certain time in the
future.
Examples
I ll have finished this book by the end of the week.

future
simple
going
to ...

future
continuous
present

future
perfect
present

continuous

simple

on the time diagram

past

Examples

now

future perfect
continuous

future
end of next week

By the end of next week, Ill have finished my exams.

future
simple
going
to ...

FORM

future
continuous
present

future
perfect
present

continuous

simple

future perfect
continuous

This tense is formed with the future perfect tense of to be


+ present participle of rthe main verb.

Examples
By the end of this year, we ll have been experimenting
with this polymer for more than three months.
How long will you have been living in that shack by the
end of this year?
I wont have been living here for more than five years by
the end of this year.

future
simple
going
to ...

USE

future
continuous
present

future
perfect
present

continuous

simple

future perfect
continuous

We use this tense to describe continuous and repeated


actions which begin before a certain time in the
future and will probably continue after that time.
Examples
By the end of this academic year, Ill have been teaching
for 30 years.

future
simple
going
to ...

future
continuous
present

future
perfect
present

continuous

simple

on the time diagram

past

now

future perfect
continuous

future

end of this academic


year

Example
By the end of this academic year, Ill have been teaching
for 30 years.