Tenses – Download English Grammar Study Notes FREE PDF

English Study Notes Free PDF

TENSES

Tense: The concept of tense in English is a method that we use to refer to time – past, present and future.

Tense is sometimes shown by changing the form of a verb, and sometimes by adding a helping verb. For example, be can become am, is, and are in present tense, and was and were in past tense. In English, the future is shown by adding will before the verb. For example, be becomes will be.

Tense

Signal words Use Form Example affirmative Examples negative Examples interrogative
Simple Present Everyday

Sometimes

Always

Often

Usually

Seldom

Never

First …. then

Something that happens

Repeatedly how often

Follow another

things  in general with the

Follow verbs (to love, to )

Hate, to think etc.

Infinitive

he/she/it + -s

I work.

He works.

I go.

He goes .

I don’t work.

He doesn’t work.

I don’t go.

He doesn’t go.

Do I work?

Does he work?

Do I go?

Does he go?

Present Progressive now

at the moment

Look !

Listen!

Something is happening at the same time of speaking or around it

Future meaning : when you have already decided and arranged  to do it (a fix plan, date)

To be (am /are/ is) + Infinitive + ing . I’m working.

He’s working .

I’m going .

He’s going.

I’m not working.

He isn’t working.

I’ m not going.

He isn’t going.

Am I working?

Is he working?

Am I going?

Is he going?

Tense Signal words Use Form Example affirmative Examples negative Examples interrogative
Simple Past Last…

… ago in 1990

Action took place in the past, mostly connected with an expression of time (no connection to the present) Regular :

Infinitive + – ed

Irregular:

2. Spalte

I worked.

He worked. I went.

I didn’t work.

He didn’t work.

I didn’t go.

Did I work?

Did he work ?

Did I go?

  Yesterday He went. He didn’t go. Did he go?
Past Progressive While An action happened in the middle of another action.

Someone was doing something at a certain time (in the past) – you don’t know whether it was finished or not

Was / were + infinitive + – ing I was working.

He was working.

I was working.

He was going.

I wasn’t working.

He wasn’t working.

I wasn’t going.

He wasn’t going.

Was I working?

Was he working?

Was I going ?

Was he going?

Tense Signal words Use Form Example affirmative Examples negative Examples interrogative
Simple Present Perfect Just yet

Never

ever

Already so far,

up to now,

For

recently

You say that, has happened or is finished in the past and it has a connection to the present

Action started in the past and continues up to the present.

Have / has + past participle*

(infinitive + -ed) or (3rd column of table of irregular verbs)

I have worked.

He has worked.

I have gone.

He has gone.

I haven’t worked.

He hasn’t worked.

I haven’t gone.

He hasn’t gone.

Have I worked?

Has he worked?

Have I gone?

Has he gone?

Present Perfect

Progressive

All day

The whole day

How long

Since

For

Action began in the past and has just stopped

How long the action has been happening

Emphasis: length of time of an action

Have / has + been + infinitive + -ing. I have been working.

He has been working.

I have been going.

He has been working.

I haven’t been working.

He hasn’t been working.

I haven’t been going.

He hasn’t been going.

Have I been working?

Has he been working?

Have I been going?

Has he been going?

Tense Signal words Use Form Example affirmative Examples negative Examples interrogative
Simple past perfect Already

just

never

Mostly when two actions in a story are related to each other: the action which has already happened is put into past perfect, the other action into simple past

The past of the present perfect

Had + past participle*

*(infinitive + -ed) or (3rd column of table of irregular verb)

I had worked.

He had worked.

I had gone.

He had gone.

I hadn’t worked.

He hadn’t worked.

I hadn’t gone.

He hadn’t gone.

Had I worked?

Had he worked?

Had I gone?

Had he gone?

Past Perfect Progressive How

long

since

for

How long something had been happening before something else happened Had + been + Infinitive + ing I had been working.

He had been working.

I had been going.

He had been going.

I hadn’t been working.

H hadn’t been working.

I hadn’t been going.

He hadn’t been going.

Had I been working ?

Had he been working?

Had I been going?

Had he been going?

Tense Signal words Use Form Example affirmative Examples negative Examples interrogative
Will – future Predictions about the future (you think that sth will happen)

You decided to do sth. spontaneously at the time of speaking, you haven’t made a main clause in type

I of the if clauses

Will + infinitive I’ll work.

He’ll work.

I’ll go.

He’ll go.

I won’t work.

He won’t work.

I won’t go.

He won’t go.

Will I work ?

Will he work?

Will I go?

Will he go?

Going to – future When you have already decided to do. In the future

What you think what will happen

Be (am / are / is) +  going to +  Infinitive I’m going to work.

He’s going to work.

I’m going to go.

He’s going to go.

I’m not going to work.

He’s not going to work.

I’m not going to go.

He’s not going to go.

Am I going to work?

Is he going to work?

Am I going to go?

Am I going to go?

Is he going to go?

Tense Signal words Use Form Example affirmative Examples negative Examples interrogative
Future progressive An action will be in progress at a certain time in the future. This action has begun before the certain time.

Something happens because it normally happens.

Will  + be + infinitive +  ing. I’ll be working.

He’ll be working.

I’ll be going.

He’ll be going.

I won’t be working.

He won’t be working.

I won’t be going.

He won’t be going.

Will I be working?

Will he be working?

Will I be going?

Will be going?

Future perfect simple Sth, will already have happened before a certain time in the future Will + have + past participle*

*(infinitive + -ed) or (3rd column of table of irregular verbs)

I’ll have worked.

He’ll have worked.

I’ll have gone.

He’ll have gone.

I won’t have worked.

He won’t have worked.

I won’t have gone.

He won’t have gone.

Will I have worked?

Will he have worked?

Will I have gone?

Will he have gone?

Tense Signal words Use Form Example affirmative Examples negative Examples interrogative
Future prefect progressive Sth. will already have happened before a certain time in the future

Emphasis: length of time of an action

Will + have + been + infinitive + ing I’ll have been working.

He’ll have been working.

I’ll have been going.

He’ll have been going

I won’t have been working.

He won’t have been working.

I won’t have been going.

He won’t have been going.

Will I have been working?

Will he have been working?

Will I have been working?

Will he have been working?

Condition Simple Sth. that might happen

Main clause in type II of the If clause.

Would + infinitive I would work.

He would work.

I would go.

He would go.

I wouldn’t work.

He wouldn’t work.

I wouldn’t go.

He wouldn’t go.

Would I work?

Would he work?

Would I work?

Would he work?

Conditional progressive Sth. that might happen

Emphasis : length of time of an action

Would  + be +  infinitive + ing. I would be working.

He would be working.

I would be going.

He would be going .

I wouldn’t be working.

He wouldn’t be working.

I wouldn’t be going.

He wouldn’t be going

Would I be working?

Would he be working?

Would I be going?

Would he be going?

Tense Signal words Use Form Example affirmative Examples negative Examples interrogative
Conditional Perfect Sth that might have happened in the past

(it’s too late now)

Main clause in type III of the if clauses.

Would +  have +  past participle*

*(infinitive + -ed ) or  (3rd column of table of irregular verbs)

I would have worked.

He would have worked.

I would have gone.

He would have gone.

I wouldn’t have worked.

He wouldn’t have worked.

I wouldn’t have gone.

He wouldn’t have gone

Would I have worked?

Would he have worked?

Would I have gone?

Would he have gone?

Conditional Perfect Progressive Sth. that might have happened in the past

(It’s too late now.)

Emphasis : length of time of an action

Would +  have + been + infinitive + ing I would have been working.

He would have been going.

I would have been going.

He would have been going.

I wouldn’t have been working.

He wouldn’t have been going.

I wouldn’t have been going.

He wouldn’t have been going.

Would I have been working?

Would he have been working?

Would I have been going?

Would he have been going?

W sometimes use continuous instead of progressive. Some words can be found in more tenses. we did not list signal words in the future. Always remember what action is described.

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