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Review of English tenses


This is a review of the English tenses. The table is provided to help recall the form and use of the different English tenses studied in previous lessons.

English tenses

Simple Present
Affirmative She drinks.
Negative She does not drink.
Interrogative Does she drink?
Form I, you we they play | he, she, it plays
Uses
  • action in the present taking place once, never or several times
  • facts
  • actions taking place one after another
  • action set by a timetable or schedule
Present Progressive
Affirmative He is reading.
Negative He is not reading.
Interrogative Is he reading?
Form To be (in the simple present) + verb + ing
Uses
  • action taking place at the moment of speaking
  • action arranged for the future
Simple Past
Affirmative I cried.
Negative I did not cry
Interrogative Did I cry?
Form Regular verbs: Verb + ed | Irregular verbs: forms differ and should be learned by heart. This is a list of irregular verbs
Uses
  • action in the past taking place once, never or several times
  • actions taking place one after another
Past Progressive
Affirmative He was driving.
Negative He was not driving.
Interrogative Was he driving?
Form to be (in the simple past) + verb + ing
Uses
  • action going on at a certain time in the past
  • actions taking place at the same time
  • action in the past that is interrupted by another action
Present Perfect Simple
Affirmative They have slept.
Negative They have not slept.
Interrogative Have they slept?
Form Have / has + past participle (past participle of regular verbs: verb + ed | Past participle of irregular verbs: forms differ and should be learned by heart. This is a list of irregular verbs)
Uses
  • emphasis is on the result (not the duration)
  • action that started in the past & is still going on
  • action that stopped recently
  • finished action that has an influence on the present
Present Perfect Progressive
Affirmative He has been thinking.
Negative He has not been thinking.
Interrogative Has he been thinking?
Form have or has + been + verb + ing
Uses
  • putting emphasis on the course or duration (not the result)
  • action that recently stopped or is still going on
  • finished action that influenced the present
Past Perfect Simple
Affirmative She had won.
Negative She had not won.
Interrogative Had she won?
Form had + past participle (past participle of regular verbs: verb + ed | Past participle of irregular verbs: forms differ and should be learned by heart. This is a list of irregular verbs)
Uses
  • action taking place before a certain time in the past
  • sometimes interchangeable with past perfect progressive
  • putting emphasis only on the fact (not the duration)
Past Perfect Progressive
Affirmative He had been waiting.
Negative He had not been waiting.
Interrogative Had he been waiting?
Form had + been + verb + ing
Uses
  • action taking place before a certain time in the past
  • sometimes interchangeable with past perfect simple
  • putting emphasis on the duration or course of an action
Future Simple
Affirmative I will open the door.
Negative I will not open the door.
Interrogative Will you open the door?
Form will + verb
Uses
  • We use the simple future for instant decisions.
  • We use the simple future when we predict a future situation
  • We use the simple future in conditional sentences type one. (More on conditional sentences here)
Future Plan
(going to)
Affirmative He is going to clean the car.
Negative He is not going to clean the car.
Interrogative Is he going to clean the car?
Form to be (in the simple present) + going + to + verb
Uses
  • to express the future when we intend to do something or have decided to do something but did not arrange it. It is just an intention.
  • predictions in the future
Future Plan
(Present Progressive)
Affirmative He is traveling to Egypt next week.
Negative He is not traveling to Egypt next week.
Interrogative Is he traveling to Egypt next week?
Form to be (in the simple present) + verb + ing
Uses
  • when we say what we have planned and arranged to do at a specific time in the future. These are fixed plans with definite time and/or place.
Future  Progressive
Affirmative She will be listening to music.
Negative She will not be listening to music.
Interrogative Will she be listening to music?
Form will + be + verb + ing
Uses
  • action that is going on at a certain time in the future
  • action that is sure to happen in the near future
Future Perfect
Affirmative He will have spoken.
Negative He will not have spoken.
Interrogative Will he have spoken?
Form will + have + past participle (past participle of regular verbs: verb + ed | Past participle of irregular verbs: forms differ and should be learned by heart. This is a list of irregular verbs)
Uses
  • action that will be finished at a certain time in the future
Future Perfect Progressive
Affirmative You will have been studying.
Negative You will not have been studying.
Interrogative Will you have been studying?
Form will + have + been + verb + ing
Uses
  • action taking place before a certain time in the future
  • putting emphasis on the course of an action
Conditional Simple
Affirmative We would relax.
Negative We would not relax.
Interrogative Would we relax ?
Form would + verb
Uses
  • action that might take place
Conditional Progressive
Affirmative He would be writing.
Negative He would not be writing.
Interrogative Would he be writing?
Form would + be + verb + ing
Uses
  • action that might take place
  • putting emphasis on the course / duration of the action
Conditional Perfect
Affirmative He would have written.
Negative He would not have written.
Interrogative Would he have written?
Form would + have + past participle (past participle of regular verbs: verb + ed | Past participle of irregular verbs: forms differ and should be learned by heart This is a list of irregular verbs)
Uses
  • action that might have taken place in the past
Conditional Perfect Progressive
Affirmative She would have been sleeping.
Negative She would not have sleeping speaking.
Interrogative Would she have been sleeping?
Form would + have + been + verb + ing
Uses
  • action that might have taken place in the past
  • puts emphasis on the course / duration of the action

Examples of English tenses
Exercises on tenses.