English tenses for beginners to advanced learners of English as a foreign language.
Present simple tense:
- Repeated actions: I play golf every week.
- Permanent truths: Lions live in Africa.
- Timetables: The bus departs at 10.
Present continuous tense:
- Activities that are happening just now: I am playing golf now.
- Temporary activities happening about this time: We are staying at the hotel this week.
- Definite future arrangements: He is moving to Leeds tomorrow.
Past simple tense:
- Repeated actions in the past: We worked in Seattle last week.
- An action completed in the past: I had a shower in the morning.
- Events that follow each other: Bill came home. He took off his coat and went to the kitchen.
Past continuous tense:
- An action that started before another action in the past and continued after it: When she saw me, I was looking at the trees.
- An action that started before a point in time and continued after it: At 8 o'clock Jane was doing her homework.
- To describe situations: The sun was shining. Jack and Jill were lying on the beach.
Future simple tense:
- General intentions: He will change his job.
- Predictions or opinions: The horse will win.
- Decisions or offers made at the moment of speaking: I'll take you home. - No, thank you. We'll take a taxi.
Future continuous tense:
- Activities that will be in progress at a point of time: This time tomorrow we'll be lying on the beach.
- Routine activities that will happen in the normal course of events: Everybody will be working on a computer sooner or later.
Present perfect simple:
- Activities that started in the past and still continue: She has known me for more than two years.
- Experience that happened in the past, but the effects are important now: She has been to London.
- Activities that have a present result: The bus hasn't arrived yet.
Present perfect continuous:
- Events that began at a point of time, are continuing now and will probably continue in the future: I have been playing tennis since I was 6 years old.
- Actions that began in the past and have only just finished: I've been skiing all day. I'm so tired.
Past perfect simple:
- An event that was completed before another event: The door bell rang at last. I had been in the room since breakfast.
- Activities that were completed before a point of time: In 2005 I had lived in the same place for ten years.
Past perfect continuous:
- Activities that began before a point of time and were still continuing at that point of time: Last summer Josh had been renovating his house for two years.
- Actions that began before a point of time in the past and continued to that point: Josh sat down. He had been cutting the grass all morning.
Future perfect simple:
- Activities that will be completed before a certain time in the future: She will have written her book by the end of this year.
- Activities that will be completed at a certain time in the future: When I return home, I will have been away for a year.
Future perfect continuous:
- Activities that will continue until a point of time and will not be completed: In June we will have been travelling around the world for five months.
- Activities that will continue until a point of time and will finish at that point of time: I will leave my office at 6 o'clock. By then I will have been working on my computer all day.
- Future plans: I am going to buy a new house. Predictions: Be careful! You are going to fall.
- Timetables: The train leaves at 3.35.
- Future arrangements: I am leaving on Monday.