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The Present Tenses

Present Simple
used to say what someone usually does 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 (for example, the take-off time for a plane). We usually also use a future word.
Only a few verbs are used in this way, for example: be, open, close, begin, start, end, finish, arrive, come, leave, return

The train leaves Detroit at 9pm tonight. John starts work next week.

Signal Words

I always study English on Tuesday.

always, every , never, normally, often, seldom, sometimes, usually if sentences type I (If I go, )

Present Progressive/Continuous
action taking place in the moment of speaking action taking place only for a limited period of time action arranged for the future

Signal Words

I am studying English now

at the moment, just, just now, Listen!, Look!, now, right now

Present Perfect Simple Present Perfect Continuous


used to show unfinished time putting emphasis on the result action that is still going on action that stopped recently used to say how long someone has been doing something

putting emphasis on the course or duration (not the result)


action that is still going on finished action that influences the present

finished action that has an influence on the present


action that has taken place once, never or several times before the moment of speaking

I have studied English twice this week.

I have been studying English for 2 years.

Signal Words
already, ever, just, never, not yet, so far, till now, up to now, since/for , how long?

Signal Words
all day, for 4 years, since 1993, the whole week , how long?

The Past Tenses

Simple Past
used to show a completed action action in the past taking place once, never or several times actions taking place one after another action taking place in the middle of another action

I studied English last Saturday.

Signal Words
yesterday, 2 minutes ago, in 1990, the other day, last Friday if sentence type II (If I talked, )

Past Progressive/Continuous
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

I was studying English last Monday when my friend rang.

Signal Words
when, while, as long as

Past Perfect Simple


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


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

I had done my English homework by 6.30 pm last Saturday.

I'd been doing my English homework for 30 minutes when my friend rang last Saturday.

Signal Words already, by the time until then/last week/etc. after /before for one week/hour/etc. since

The Future Tenses


Simple Future: will or shall
No plan There is no plan or decision to do something before we speak. We make
the decision at the time of speaking: Hold on. I'll get a pen. We will see what we can do to help you.

We often use will with the verb think: I think I'll go to the gym tomorrow. I don't think I'll buy that car.

Prediction We are saying what we think will happen. There is no firm plan:
People won't go to Jupiter before the 22nd century. Who do you think will get the job?

The verb be is an exception with will. Even when we have a very firm plan, we can use will with be: I will be in London tomorrow.

Signal Words
in a year, next , tomorrow If-conditional Type I (If you ask her, she will help you.) assumption: I think, probably, perhaps

Be going to + base form


Intention We have the intention to do something before we speak. We have already made
a decision before speaking. We're not going to see my mother tomorrow. When are you going to go on holiday? In these examples, we had an intention or plan before speaking. The decision was made before we spoke.

Prediction We often use going to to make a prediction about the future. Our prediction is
based on evidence. Here are some examples: The sky is very black. It is going to rain. I crashed the company car. My boss isn't going to be very happy!

Present Continuous
Plan We use the present continuousto talk about the future only when a plan exists before
we speak. Were going to the theatre on Friday. They cant play tennis with you tomorrow. They 're working.

Sometimes there is no real difference between an intention (going to) and a plan (present
continuous). In this case, it doen't matter which we use. We're going to paint the bedroom tomorrow. We're painting the bedroom tomorrow.

Future Progressive
will/shall be +-ing form
I will be starting my English lesson at 7.30 pm

going to be +-ing form


I am going to be studying English when my friends arrive at 9.00 pm.

Signal Words
in one year, next week, tomorrow

Future Perfect Simple

Future Perfect Progressive


I will have been studying English for 30 minutes when my friends arrive.

I will have already done my English homework by the time I eat dinner on Saturday.

Signal Words
by Monif sentences type III (If I had seen that, I would have helped.) day, in a week

Signal Words
for , the last couple of hours, all day long

The Conditional Tenses


Conditional Simple Conditional Progressive
action that might take place putting emphasis on the duration of the action It would be awful if you lost your passport. Signal Words Usually I would be working at this time. if sentences type II (If I were you, I would go home.) action that might take place

Conditional Perfect Simple

Conditional Perfect Progressive

action that might have taken place in the past action that might have taken place in the past (emphasis on the duration of the action)

If we had taken your advice, we would have saved a lot of time. Maria would have been singing if there had been more people in the church.

Signal Words
if sentences type III (If I had seen that, I would have helped.)

2nd Bachillerato

English Department