Monday, November 29, 2010

Tenses - The 12 Basic Tenses


1. The Past Simple Tense
When your wish to say that something happened, took place, or was finished at some time in the past, you should use the Past Simple Tense.
I spoke       We spoke
You spoke  You spoke

He/She/It spoke They spoke
  • I travelled to Europe last year
  • I read an interesting book yesterday.
  • We spent last summer at the seaside.
  • We met at the cinema two days ago.
  • He fell off his horse last Monday.
When you wish to say that something happened that it was a person’s habit to do something again and again in the past, you should use either the Past Simple Tense or the words used to (do something).
When I was a boy I studied hard. OR When I was a boy I used to study hard. OR

When I was a boy it was my habit to study hard.
Years ago men believed that the earth is flat. OR Years ago men used to believe that the earth was flat. OR Years ago it was the habit of men to believe that the earth was flat.


2.  The Present Simple Tense
When you wish to say that the person does a thing always, sometimes, often, everyday, every week, usually etc, you should use the Present Simple Tense.
I go                        We go
You go                   You go
He/She/It goes        They go
  • I go to school every morning. (It is my habit to go to school every morning.)
  • I eat my dinner every night at eight o’clock. (It is my habit to eat my dinner at eight o’clock every night.)
  • Men wear light suits in summer.
  • My father works in an office.
  • I always wake up early in the morning.
  • Lazy boys usually fail in their examinations.

3. The Future Simple Tense
When you wish to say that something is going to happen, take place, or finish at some time in the future, you should use the Simple Future Tense.

I shall go                          We shall go
You will go                       You will go
He/She/It will go               They will go
  • He will return next week.
  • We shall finish our work in half an hour.
  • Our examination will begin next month.
  • I shall give you what I owe you in a day or two.
  • Will you go with me to the cinema tomorrow?
4. The Past Continuous Tense
The Past Continuous Tense is used when we wish to speak of an action which is unfinished at some time in the past.
I was speaking We were speaking

You were speaking You were speaking

He/She/It was speaking They were speaking

  • I was writing a letter when he entered the room.
  • The boys were making a noise as I was coming up the steps.
  • She was reading a book when the boy behind her kicked her.
  • While we were travelling to school yesterday, I saw an accident.
  • He jumped off the train while it was moving.
5. The Present Continuous Tense
When you wish to say that something is happening now or at this moment, you should use the Present Continuous Tense.

I am writing We are writing
You are writing You are writing
He/She/It is writing They are writing
  • It is raining (now).
  • (It is raining at this moment.)
  • The sun is shining (now).
  • The sun is setting (now).
  • My father is writing a letter (now).
6. The Future Continuous Tense
Just as the Present Continuous Tense is used as a definite immediate future, so the Future Continuous is used as a definite but not-so- immediate future.

I shall be seeing We shall be seeing
You will be seeing You will be seeing
He/She/It will be seeing They will be seeing
  • I shall be seeing you next week to discuss further.
  • My mother will be seeing the doctor next Friday.
  • The girls will be playing basket ball next Sunday.
  • We shall be starting our third semester in September.
  • He will be coming home for good by the end of this year.
7. The Past Perfect Tense
I had seen We had seen
You had seen You had seen
He/She/It had seen They had seen
Look at this sentence:-

After he had broken the window he ran away.
In this sentence there are two actions in the Past:-
(a) The action of breaking
(b) The action of running away
The action of breaking took place before the action of running away, and we therefore show this by putting the action that took place first in the Past Perfect Tense

8. The Present Perfect Tense
I have seen We have seen
You have seen You have seen
He/She/It has seen They have seen
Look at the following sentences:-

I have turned on the light
This means that I turned on the light some time ago and that it is still on. One result, therefore, of my past action is that the light is on at the present moment. Another result is that you may read a book, if you wish or do anything else, since the room is no longer in darkness.
I have opened the window.
This means that I opened the window at some time in the past and that it is still open. As a result of my past action, the window is open now. Also, fresh air can now come into the room through the open window.

9. The Future Perfect Tense
I shall have written We shall have written
You will have written You will have written
He/She/It will have written They will have written
Look at this sentence:-

I shall have read this book by six o’clock tonight.
This means that I have not yet read this book, but at six o’clock tonight, that is, at a time in the future, the reading of the book will be past.

10. The Past Perfect Continuous Tense
I had been working We had been working
You had been working You had been working
He/She/It had been working They had been working
The past perfect continuous tense is quite like the past perfect tense except it expresses longer actions in the past before another action in the past.
Look at the following examples:-
  • The nurse was very exhausted as she had been working a 20-hour shift.
  •  It was past her bedtime. She had been waiting to get home since 10 o’clock.
  • My muscles ached after yesterday’s jog. I had not been running for a while now.
11. The Present Perfect Continuous Tense
I have been sitting We have been sitting
You have been sitting You have been sitting
He/She/It has been sitting They have been sitting
When you are using the Present Perfect Continuous Tense in speaking or informal writing you may contract the subject and the first auxiliary verb:-
For example: I’ve, We’ve, You’ve, He’s, She’s, It’s, They’ve or Tony’s.

  • I’ve been sitting and reading for nearly 5 hours now.
  • They’ve been working since dawn.
There are 2 uses for the present perfect continuous tense and are usually used in connection to the present and now or an action that started in the past and is still continuing now.
a. An action which has just recently stopped
  • I am sleepy (now) because I have been waking up early these few days.
  • The dog needs some water as it has been running.
  • I am feeling tired. I have been working very hard lately.
b. An action continue till now
  • I have been waiting for him since this morning. ( I am still waiting)
  • She has been studying for her exam since 6 am (She is still studying now)
  • Peter has been crying for his mother since last night (he is still crying now)
(Note here that we always use “for” and “since” in the present perfect continuous tense when we use it for (b) the action to continue till now)

12. The Future Perfect Continuous Tense

I will have been playing We will have been playing
You will have been playing You will have been playing
He/She/It will have been playing They will have been playing
When you are using the Future Perfect Continuous Tense in speaking or informal writing you may contract the subject and the first auxiliary verb:-

For example: I’ll, We’ll, You’ll, He’ll, She’ll, It’ll, They’ll
We usually use the future perfect continuous tense for long action before some time in the future. And this tense is used to:
  • Determine how long the action will be in progress in the future
  • Show the length of time the action will be in the future
  • State the results of the action in the future
  • Indicate a continuous action at a stated point and continue into the future
  • Identify 2 future actions, one after another
Some examples of the future perfect continuous tense are:
  • We will have been staying in this house for 3 years by end of December.
  • By next year, my daughter will have been studying 4 years in the University.
  • In two minutes, we will have been waiting one hour for the bus.
  • Michael will have been working for 5 years next May.
  • The bus driver will have been transporting my children for 2 years end of this month.
  • The children will be tired as they will have been traveling for over 10 hours.
  • My husband will have been working in China 8 years this February.

1 comments:

Anonymous said...

thanks..

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