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SIMPLE TENSES

1. Present Simple Tense


 We use the Present Simple when something is generally true:
 The sun rises in the east.
 People need food.
 It snows in winter.
 The sky isn't green.
 Plants die without water.
 Two and two make four.
 The next use is for habits or things that we do regularly.
 Do you smoke?
 I play tennis every Tuesday.
 We often go to the cinema.
 She gets up at seven o'clock every day.
 At the weekend, we usually go to the market.
 How often do you study English?
 I don't travel very often.
 We use the simple present to talk about what happens in books, plays, or films:
 The hero dies at the end of the film.
 A young woman travels through Europe, where she meets different people, and
finally falls in love.
 In this book, an army invades Britain.
 The main character is very pretty and works in a bookshop.
 Strangely, we can use this tense to talk about the future. When you are discussing a timetable or a
fixed plan, you can use this tense.
 School begins at nine tomorrow.
 Our train leaves at eleven.
 What time does the film start?
 The plane doesn't arrive at seven, it arrives at seven thirty.
 When does the class finish?
 We also use it to talk about the future after words like ' 'when', 'until', 'after', 'before' and 'as soon
as' in a future sentence:
 I will call you when I have time. (Not: 'will have')
 I won't go out until it stops raining.
 She'll come as soon as her babysitter arrives.
 I'm going to make dinner after I watch the news.
 I'll give you the book before you go.
2. Past Simple Tense
 Finished events in the past with no connection to the present:
 Leonardo painted the Mona Lisa.
 The Vikings invaded Britain.
 With a finished time word (yesterday, last week, at 2 o'clock, in 2003):
 I went to the cinema yesterday.
 We visited Japan in 2007.
 For stories / lists of events:
 He went to a café, sat down and lit a cigarette.
 Yesterday I went to the library, met a friend for lunch, and played tennis.

3. Future Simple Tense


 Prediction based on opinion
 I think the mayor will win the next election.
 A future fact
 The sun will rise at 7am.
 Promises / requests / refusal / willingness
 I'll help you with your homework.
 Will you give me a hand?
 I will give up smoking!

 Be going to and will


o Be going to is used for plans made before the moment of speaking.
 The bill is due now; I’m going to pay it.
o Will is used for a decision at the moment of speaking.
 A: “Let’s go to the party later.”
B: “I will bring the car.”

CONTINUOUS TENSES
1. Present Continuous Tense
 We use it for things that are happening at the moment of speaking.
 I'm working at the moment.
 Please call back as we are eating dinner now.
 Julie is sleeping.
 You are studying the present continuous.
 We can also use this tense for temporary situations, when we feel something won't
continue for a long time.
 She's staying with her friend for a week.
 I'm living in London for a few months.
 John's working in a bar until he finds a job in his field.
 I'm reading a really great book.
 We can use the present continuous for habits but they have to be temporary or new
habits (for normal habits that continue for a long time, we use the present simple).
 He's eating a lot these days.
 She's swimming every morning (she didn't use to do this).
 You're smoking too much.
 They're working late every night.
 Another present continuous use is for annoying habits, when we want to show that
something happens too often and we don't like it. In this case we usually use an adverb like
'always', 'forever' or 'constantly'.
 You're always losing your keys!
 She's constantly missing the train.
 He's always sleeping in.
 The next use is for definite future arrangements (with a future time word). In this case we
have already made a plan and we are pretty sure that the event will happen in the future.
 I'm meeting my father tomorrow.
 We're going to the beach at the weekend.
 I'm leaving at three.
 They're coming to the party at the weekend.
 Finally we use this tense to talk about a situation which is slowly changing.
 I'm getting better at playing the piano.
 The weather is improving.

2. Past Continuous Tense


 A continuous action in the past which is interrupted by another action or a time:
 I was taking a bath when the telephone rang.
 At three o'clock, I was working.
 Background information, to give atmosphere to a story.
 It was a beautiful day. The birds were singing, the sun was shining and in the cafes
people were laughing and chatting.
 For two actions which happened at the same time in the past.
 I was watching TV and he was reading.

3. Future Continuous Tense


 A continuous action in the future which is interrupted by a time or by another action.
 I'll be waiting when you arrive.
 At eight o’clock, I'll be eating dinner.
 To make a guess about the present.
 My mother will be working now (= I think she is working now, but I'm not completely
certain).
PERFECT TENSES
1. Present Perfect Tense
 Life experience
(we don't say when the experience happened, just sometime in the past)
 I have been to Tokyo.
 She has lived in Germany.
 They have visited Paris three times.
 We have never seen that film.
 Have you ever read 'War and Peace'?
 A finished action with a result in the present (focus on result)
 I've lost my keys (so I can't get into my house).
 She's hurt her leg (so she can't play tennis today).
 They've missed the bus (so they will be late).
 I've cooked dinner (so you should come and eat).
 With an unfinished time word (this month, this week, today, in the last year)
 I haven't seen her this month.
 She's drunk three cups of coffee today.
 This week they've been shopping four times.

2. Past Perfect Tense


 A completed action before something else in the past.
 When we arrived, the film had started. (= first the film started, then later we arrived)
 To explain or give a reason for something in the past.
 I'd eaten dinner so I wasn't hungry.
 It had snowed in the night, so the bus didn't arrive.

3. Future Perfect Tense


 With a future time word, (and often with 'by') to talk about an action that will finish before
a certain time in the future, but we don't know exactly when.
 By 10 o'clock I will have finished my homework. (=I will finish my homework some time
before 10, but we don't know exactly when)
 By the time I'm sixty, I will have retired. (= I will retire sometime before I'm sixty. We
don't know exactly when, but definitely before my sixtieth birthday)

PERFECT CONTIUOUS TENSES


1. Present Perfect Continuous Tense
 To say for how long unfinished actions which started in the past and continue to
the present. We often use this with for and since.
 She's been working here since 2004.
 We've been waiting for the bus for hours.
 I've been living in London for two years.
 Actions which have just stopped (though the whole action can be unfinished) and
have a result, which we can often see, hear, or feel, in the present (focus on action).
 I'm so tired, I've been studying.
 I've been running, so I'm really hot.
 It's been raining, the pavement is wet.
 I've been reading your book, it's very good.

2. Past Perfect Continuous Tense


 Something that started in the past and continued up to another action or event
(tells us 'how long')
 She had been working at that company for a year when she met James. (This tells us
how long something had continued before another event in the past.
 Cause of something in the past
 The pavement was wet, it had been raining. (It was raining before the time I'm
describing in the past.)

3. Past Perfect Continuous Tense


 With a time word, to talk about an action which starts before a time in the future
and continues up to that time.
 In April 2009, I will have been teaching here for two years. (=I started in April 2007
and still teach here now, probably I will continue after April 2009 but we are not sure).