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English Verb Tense Review
Simple Present Tense
Otherwise known as the

Timeless Present
Simple Present Tense is used:
• When you are referring to habitual actions-actions that you always or never do
• When you are referring to unchanging
truths
• When you are making general statements of
fact
Examples
• (habit) He always comes late to class.
• (unchanging truth) The sun rises in the east.
• (general statement of fact) They are
friendly.

simple present tense
Indicators
Always

Whenever

Everyday

Usually

Often

Frequently

Sometimes

Rarely

Occasionally

never

simple present tense
Form
I study

I wait

You study

You wait

S/he/it studies

s/he/it waits

We study

we wait

They study

they wait
simple present tense
Diagram--time on a line

simple present tense
Simple Past Tense
The Simple Past Tense is Used:
• When an activity or situation began and
ended at a particular time in the past--in
other words, when an activity or situation is
completed in the past
• To refer to past habits
Examples
• (Completed action in the past) He was late
to class yesterday.
• (Completed action in the past) We arrived
three weeks ago.
• (Past habit) She always wrote a letter to her
mother on Sunday night.

Simple Past Tense
Indicators
Last night, week, year, month, Saturday,
semester, etc.
Yesterday
ago

Simple Past Tense
Form
I studied

I waited

You studied

You waited

S/he/it studied

S/he/it waited

We studied

We waited

They studied

They waited
Simple Past Tense
Diagram--time on a line

Simple Past Tense
The Present Perfect
A tense very commonly used in
English to refer to the past!
The Present Perfect is Used:
• When an activity happened at an
unspecified time in the past (before the
present)
• When an activity has been repeated several
times before now
• When an activity was very recently
completed before now
• When an activity is not completed in the
past
Examples
• (unspecified time before now) They have
already seen that movie.
• (repeated activity before now) We have
visited New York City many times.
• (an action has recently been completed
before now) I have just eaten.
• (action not completed in the past) I have
studied Spanish for many years.
Present Perfect Tense
Indicators
Before

Ever

Never

So far

Already

Yet

Just

Recently

For

since

Present Perfect Tense
Form 1
have or has + past participle
I have studied . . .

I have seen . . .

You have studied . . . You have seen . . .
S/he/it has studied . . S/he/it has seen . . .
We have studied . . .

We have seen . . .

They have studied . . . They have seen . . .
Present Perfect Tense
Form 2
I've walked . . .

I've grown . . .

You've walked . . .

You've grown . . .

S/he/it's walked . . .

S/he/it's grown . . .

We've walked . . .

We've grown . . .

They've walked . . .

They've grown . . .

Present Perfect Tense
Diagram 1--time on a line

Present Perfect Tense
Diagram 2--time on a line

Present Perfect Tense
The Present Progressive Tense
Sometimes called the
Present Continuous Tense
The Present Progressive Tense is
Used:
• When an activity is in progress now at the
moment of speaking
• When an activity began before now and
continues into the future without stopping.
• When an activity is temporary.
• When an activity is developing and
changing.
Examples
• I’m explaining something to the class right
now.
• He’s taking 16 credits this semester.
• She is understanding English more and
more because she moved into the dorm.

Present Progressive Tense
Indicators
Right now, at this
moment

Still

This year, week,
month, etc.

As we speak

Present Progressive Tense
Form
I am studying

I'm studying

You are studying

You're studying

S/he/it is studying

S/he/it's studying

We are studying

We're studying

They are studying

They're studying

Present Progressive Tense
Diagram--time on a line

Present Progressive Tense
Future Tense
The Future Tense is Used:
• To indicate that an activity or event will
take place at a time in the future
Examples
•
•
•
•

When I’m retired, I’m going to travel.
Next week, we will work on punctuation.
He is going to get his car fixed tomorrow.
Our plane departs at noon next Friday.

Future
Indicators
Tomorrow

Next Saturday, week, month, year, etc.

Future
Form 1
I will stay

I'll stay

You will stay

You'll stay

S/he/it will stay

S/he/it'll stay

We will stay

We'll stay

They will stay

They'll stay
Future
Form 2
I am going to stay

I'm going to stay

You are going to stay You're going to stay
S/he/it is going to stay S/he/it's going to stay
We are going to stay We're going to stay
They are going to
stay

They're going to stay
Future
Form 3
Sometimes the simple present tense or the
present progressive tense are used to express a
future meaning. Usually these tenses are used
when scheduled events are being discussed.
I arrive
I am arriving
You arrive

You are arriving

S/he/it arrives

S/he/it is arriving

We arrive

We are arriving

They arrive

They are arriving
Future Tense
Diagram--Time on a Line

Future
Other English Verb Tenses
These tenses are combinations of the
tenses we have just reviewed
Past Perfect
• This tense is not used a lot. It can often be
used interchangeably with the simple past
because these tenses do not differ much in
meaning. The past perfect tense refers to
activities that happened before a specific
time in the past.
• Example, He had visited her many times
before she died.
• Form: had + past participle
Past Progressive
• This tense is used to refer to activities
continuously in progress around a time in
the past.
• Example: They were eating when the taxi
arrived.
• Form: was or were + verbing
Past Perfect Progressive
• This tense is used when an activity was
continuously in progress before a specific
time in the past.
• Example: I had been thinking about her
before she called.
• Form: had + been + verbing
Present Perfect Progressive
• This tense is used to describe actions that
have been continuously in progress before
now. These actions are not completed.
• Example: I have been waiting here for the
last two hours.
• Form: have or has + been + verbing
Future Perfect
• The future perfect expresses the idea that an
activity will occur before some future time.
• Example: She will have finished dinner
before the game starts.
• Form: will + have + past participle
Future Progressive Tense
• This tense is used to refer to activities that
will be continuously in progress around
some future time.
• Example: We will be flying over New York
at noon tomorrow.
• Form: will + be + verbing
Future Perfect Progressive
• This tense is used to refer to activities that
will be continuously in progress before a
future time.
• Example: He will have been working for 3
hours before you arrive.
• Form: will + have + been + verbing
Overview of the English Verb Tense/Aspect System
Simple

Perfect
(HAVE +
verb+en)

Present

*

Past

*

Future

*

*

Progressive
(BE +
verb+ing)

*

Perfect
Progressive (HAVE
+ BEEN +
verb+ing)
Acknowledgments
• The charts in this presentation were adapted
from the work of Betty Schrampfer Azar.
She is the author of Understanding and
Using English Grammar and many other
useful ESL texts.
The End

September 2003

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English Tenses

  • 2. Simple Present Tense Otherwise known as the Timeless Present
  • 3. Simple Present Tense is used: • When you are referring to habitual actions-actions that you always or never do • When you are referring to unchanging truths • When you are making general statements of fact
  • 4. Examples • (habit) He always comes late to class. • (unchanging truth) The sun rises in the east. • (general statement of fact) They are friendly. simple present tense
  • 6. Form I study I wait You study You wait S/he/it studies s/he/it waits We study we wait They study they wait simple present tense
  • 7. Diagram--time on a line simple present tense
  • 9. The Simple Past Tense is Used: • When an activity or situation began and ended at a particular time in the past--in other words, when an activity or situation is completed in the past • To refer to past habits
  • 10. Examples • (Completed action in the past) He was late to class yesterday. • (Completed action in the past) We arrived three weeks ago. • (Past habit) She always wrote a letter to her mother on Sunday night. Simple Past Tense
  • 11. Indicators Last night, week, year, month, Saturday, semester, etc. Yesterday ago Simple Past Tense
  • 12. Form I studied I waited You studied You waited S/he/it studied S/he/it waited We studied We waited They studied They waited Simple Past Tense
  • 13. Diagram--time on a line Simple Past Tense
  • 14. The Present Perfect A tense very commonly used in English to refer to the past!
  • 15. The Present Perfect is Used: • When an activity happened at an unspecified time in the past (before the present) • When an activity has been repeated several times before now • When an activity was very recently completed before now • When an activity is not completed in the past
  • 16. Examples • (unspecified time before now) They have already seen that movie. • (repeated activity before now) We have visited New York City many times. • (an action has recently been completed before now) I have just eaten. • (action not completed in the past) I have studied Spanish for many years. Present Perfect Tense
  • 18. Form 1 have or has + past participle I have studied . . . I have seen . . . You have studied . . . You have seen . . . S/he/it has studied . . S/he/it has seen . . . We have studied . . . We have seen . . . They have studied . . . They have seen . . . Present Perfect Tense
  • 19. Form 2 I've walked . . . I've grown . . . You've walked . . . You've grown . . . S/he/it's walked . . . S/he/it's grown . . . We've walked . . . We've grown . . . They've walked . . . They've grown . . . Present Perfect Tense
  • 20. Diagram 1--time on a line Present Perfect Tense
  • 21. Diagram 2--time on a line Present Perfect Tense
  • 22. The Present Progressive Tense Sometimes called the Present Continuous Tense
  • 23. The Present Progressive Tense is Used: • When an activity is in progress now at the moment of speaking • When an activity began before now and continues into the future without stopping. • When an activity is temporary. • When an activity is developing and changing.
  • 24. Examples • I’m explaining something to the class right now. • He’s taking 16 credits this semester. • She is understanding English more and more because she moved into the dorm. Present Progressive Tense
  • 25. Indicators Right now, at this moment Still This year, week, month, etc. As we speak Present Progressive Tense
  • 26. Form I am studying I'm studying You are studying You're studying S/he/it is studying S/he/it's studying We are studying We're studying They are studying They're studying Present Progressive Tense
  • 27. Diagram--time on a line Present Progressive Tense
  • 29. The Future Tense is Used: • To indicate that an activity or event will take place at a time in the future
  • 30. Examples • • • • When I’m retired, I’m going to travel. Next week, we will work on punctuation. He is going to get his car fixed tomorrow. Our plane departs at noon next Friday. Future
  • 31. Indicators Tomorrow Next Saturday, week, month, year, etc. Future
  • 32. Form 1 I will stay I'll stay You will stay You'll stay S/he/it will stay S/he/it'll stay We will stay We'll stay They will stay They'll stay Future
  • 33. Form 2 I am going to stay I'm going to stay You are going to stay You're going to stay S/he/it is going to stay S/he/it's going to stay We are going to stay We're going to stay They are going to stay They're going to stay Future
  • 34. Form 3 Sometimes the simple present tense or the present progressive tense are used to express a future meaning. Usually these tenses are used when scheduled events are being discussed. I arrive I am arriving You arrive You are arriving S/he/it arrives S/he/it is arriving We arrive We are arriving They arrive They are arriving Future Tense
  • 35. Diagram--Time on a Line Future
  • 36. Other English Verb Tenses These tenses are combinations of the tenses we have just reviewed
  • 37. Past Perfect • This tense is not used a lot. It can often be used interchangeably with the simple past because these tenses do not differ much in meaning. The past perfect tense refers to activities that happened before a specific time in the past. • Example, He had visited her many times before she died. • Form: had + past participle
  • 38. Past Progressive • This tense is used to refer to activities continuously in progress around a time in the past. • Example: They were eating when the taxi arrived. • Form: was or were + verbing
  • 39. Past Perfect Progressive • This tense is used when an activity was continuously in progress before a specific time in the past. • Example: I had been thinking about her before she called. • Form: had + been + verbing
  • 40. Present Perfect Progressive • This tense is used to describe actions that have been continuously in progress before now. These actions are not completed. • Example: I have been waiting here for the last two hours. • Form: have or has + been + verbing
  • 41. Future Perfect • The future perfect expresses the idea that an activity will occur before some future time. • Example: She will have finished dinner before the game starts. • Form: will + have + past participle
  • 42. Future Progressive Tense • This tense is used to refer to activities that will be continuously in progress around some future time. • Example: We will be flying over New York at noon tomorrow. • Form: will + be + verbing
  • 43. Future Perfect Progressive • This tense is used to refer to activities that will be continuously in progress before a future time. • Example: He will have been working for 3 hours before you arrive. • Form: will + have + been + verbing
  • 44. Overview of the English Verb Tense/Aspect System Simple Perfect (HAVE + verb+en) Present * Past * Future * * Progressive (BE + verb+ing) * Perfect Progressive (HAVE + BEEN + verb+ing)
  • 45. Acknowledgments • The charts in this presentation were adapted from the work of Betty Schrampfer Azar. She is the author of Understanding and Using English Grammar and many other useful ESL texts.