Saturday, 14 November 2015


A complete chart:

SimpleSimple PastSimple PresentSimple Future
last year/ month/ etc.
for five weeks/days/etc.
one year/ month ago
every morning / day / etc.
next week/month/etc.
in the future
ProgressivePast ProgressivePresent ProgressiveFuture progressive
right now
this week/minute/etc.
as soon as
PerfectPast PerfectPresent PerfectFuture Perfect
by the time
until then/last week/etc.
until now
many times/ weeks/years/etc.
for three hours/ minutes/etc/
by the time you go (somewhere)
by the time you do (something)
Perfect ProgressivePast Perfect progressivePresent Perfect ProgressiveFuture Perfect Progressive
for one week/hour/etc.
for the past year/ month/ etc.
for the last 2 months/ weeks/etc.
up to now
for 6 weeks/hours/etc.
by the time
for ten days/weeks/etc.

A brief summary of all of the verb tenses:


Simple present
(a fact or habit; with time clauses when time is future);
He studies grammar every day.
We will eat after he gets here.
Key words: always, usually, often, sometimes, seldom, rarely, never, every day, on Sundays, etc.
also stative (non-progressive) verbs: know, understand, believe, feel, think,** remember, forget, want,
need, prefer, mean, love, like, hate, have,** hear, feel,** see,** smell,** taste,** seem, look,** cost, owe, be**
**These verbs also have other meanings which can be progressive

Present continuous
(an activity in progress at the present time--probably started in the past and will continue)
I can't talk on the phone. I am eating lunch.
Key words: now, right now, this quarter, etc.

Note: the Present progressive and simple present can also be used for a future meaning with scheduled events.
I am meeting her in the library tomorrow at 10 am.
The plane leaves at 6 p.m.


Simple past
(at one time in the past, this happened; activity completed in the past)
I ate dinner yesterday.
Key words: yesterday, last week, last month, this morning (when meaning is past), etc.

Past continuous
(an activity in progress at a particular time in the past)
I was eating when you called.
Key words: while

Present perfect
(something that started in the past and has relevance to or continues to the present;
activity in past, but no time is mentioned; emphasis on repetition of activity in the past)
I have eaten Indian food two times.
I have had this rucksack for five years.
I have been here since 8 a.m.
Key words: already, yet, just, ever, never, ___ times, since + a particular time, for + a duration of time

Present perfect continuous
(duration of an activity that was in progress before now)
I have been eating since four o'clock.)
I have been eating a lot of vegetables lately.
Key words: for, since, lately

Past perfect
(an activity which was completed before another activity in the past)
I had already eaten when they arrived.
Key words: already, before. by the time

Past perfect continuous
(an activity in progress before another activity in the past)
I had been eating for two hours before my friend arrived.
Key words: for, since


Simple future (will)
(activity that will happen in the future)
will: used for prediction & willingness
I will study after I finish eating.
The phone is ringing. I’ll answer it.
Key words: tomorrow, next week, next month, etc.

Future (be going to)
(activity that will happen in the future)
be going to: used for prediction and prior plan
I am going to study from six to nine.
Key words: tomorrow, next week, next month, etc.

Future continuous
(activity which will be in progress at a particular time in the future)
She will be studying when we arrive.
I’ll be staying with my cousin for several weeks.
Key words: for, for ages, for a long time...

Future perfect
(an activity which will be finished before another time or activity in the future)
I will have finished studying by the time you arrive.)
Key words: when, by the time, by then, by this time next...,

Future perfect continuous
(activity in progress in the future before another activity in the future)
I will have been studying for two hours by the time my parents come.)

Key words: for, by the time

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