English Verb Tense Summary
Simple Continuous Perfect Perfect (Progressive) Continuous (Progressive) Use: for facts, habits or future Use: actions in progress at moment Use: for actions just finished or Use: a continuous action within a Present events with time stamp of speaking, ongoing or continuous started in the past but timeframe in the present, i.e. the continuing to be true in the action continues to be true now. Form: present participle of Form: present of to be + V+ing present verb I’m eating Form: Present of to have + past Form: present of to have + been + I eat He’s drinking participle of verb verb+ing He eats etc. We’re having fun I walk They’re walking I have just eaten I have been eating since 12 o’clock He walks etc. I have lived here for 3 years I have been walking for the last half I have walked to work before hour Use: an action that started and Use: for an interrupted action in Use: for an action completed Use: a continuous action interrupted Past finished in the past, at a the past, usually with a second verb before another action in the by something else in the past specified time, or where the in the past simple or while, when, past. speaker knows all of the as.. Form: past participle to have+ been information Form: had + Past participle + verb+ing Form: past of to be+ V+ing verb Form: Past participle of verb I had been eating when the phone I was eating when the phone rang I had eaten before going out rang I ate (irregular) I was walking down the road when I had walked for hours and I had been walking for 1 hour when I walked (regular) the dog attacked me needed a rest the dog attacked me Use: an action that will happen Use: use for an interrupted action Use: relating further actions Use: an action that will be in Future in the future, pre-planned in the future or something that will that will be completed in the progress at a future time occur within a specific timeframe future before another action in Form: will +root of verb the future Or, ‘going to’ +root of verb, Form: will + be + V +ing Form: will + have + been + V+ing (generally for pre-planned Form: will + have+ past activity) I will be eating at lunchtime participle verb I will have already been walking for I will be walking to work at that some time by the time you come to I will eat time I will have eaten by the time meet me. I am going to walk to work you get here I will have already walked for one hour before I arrive Past Simple
We use the past simple tense to talk about something that started and finished in the past. It may be used for an action that happened once in the past or repeatedly, or for something that was true for some time in the past, provided it is now finished. We often use Meaning and Use phrases with ago for things that happened a long time ago.
I met my wife in 1983 (happened once in the past) When I was a boy I walked a mile to school every day. (happened repeatedly in the past) Example They always enjoyed visiting their friends. (happened repeatedly in the past) I met my wife a long time ago. (uses ago)
With most verbs the past tense is formed by adding -ed:
Base of Veb + ed
e.g. call >> called; like >> liked; want >> wanted; work >> worked Form But there are a lot of irregular past tenses in English.
We use did to make questions with the past tense: When did you meet your wife? Where did you go for your holidays? Did she play tennis when she was younger? Did you live abroad?
We use didn’t (did not) to make negatives with the past tense: They didn’t go to Spain this year. We didn’t get home until very late last night. I didn’t see you yesterday. Irregular Past tense verbs
Infinitive Irregular past Infinitive Irregular past be was/were let let begin began lie lay break broke lose lost bring brought make made buy bought mean meant build built meet met choose chose pay paid come came put put cost cost run ran cut cut say said do did sell sold draw drew send sent drive drove set set eat ate sit sat feel felt speak spoke find found spend spent get got stand stood give gave take took go went teach taught have had tell told hear heard think thought hold held understand understood keep kept wear wore know knew win Won leave left write wrote Lead led Present Perfect
This tense is used to make a connection between the past and the present. It is a present tense even though it refers to occurrences in the past, as it stresses continuation, or possible continuation into the present. It can be used for something we have done many Meaning and Use times in the past and continue to do, with “since” to show when something that we still do started in the past, with the adverbs “ever” or “never”, to stress the importance of something at the time of speaking, with time adverbials of recent past (just, only just, recently, so far, until now, yet).
I have lived in Brazil for six months (the action started at specified time in the past and continues to the present). She has lived in Liverpool all her life (non-specific on the length of time but the subject (she) is still living in Liverpool now). I’ve played the guitar ever since I was a teenager (with ever since. Subject still plays the guitar) I have worked here since I left school (with since, a period of time up to and including the present) Have you ever met George? (with ever) Yes, but I’ve never met his wife. (with negative form of ever, ”never”) Examples Where have you been? I’ve just been out to the supermarket (with just) Scientists have recently discovered a new breed of monkey (with recently) We have just got back from our holidays (with just)
Have you finished your homework yet? (with yet) No, so far I’ve only done my history (with only)
The Present Perfect is constructed with the auxiliary verb ‘have’ and the past participle of the main verb, i.e.:
I/we/you/they have + Past Participle (e.g. walked) He/she/it has
Form Regular past participles are formed by adding ‘ed’ to the base of the verb (e.g. walk, walked). However, many verbs have irregular past participles (e.g. gone, been, seen). As they form no pattern, they simply have to be learnt.
Questions are formed by placing the auxiliary before the subject; e.g.: Have you lived here long?
Negative statements add ‘not’ after the auxiliary, e.g.: No. I haven’t lived here long Present Perfect Continuous
Meaning and Used to describe a continuous action within a timeframe in the present, i.e. the action started in the past but continues to be true now. It is similar to the present perfect and sometimes can be used in the same context but Use the main emphasis in the present perfect continuous is on expressing how long the current activity has been happening, typically for shorter periods of time to express how long that particular action has been taking place.
Examples Timeline • I have been walking for half an hour, • Have you been walking for long? • No. I have not been walking for very long
FORMForm Past Perfect
The past perfect is used to connect two actions in the past where one action occurs before the other. The first action applies the past Meaning and Use perfect.
I had eaten a big breakfast before I went to school Example There are 2 actions in this sentence both occurring in the past – the first, I ate a big breakfast, the second, I went to school. Both actions occurred in the past (see timeline)
The form of the Past Perfect is made up as follows:
Subject + Auxiliary had (past participle of “have”)+ past participle of the main verb
Contracted forms of I had etc. are used in speech: I’d, you’d, he’d/she’d, it’d, we’d, you’d, they’d. Form Negative: Subject [I/you/he/she/it/we/you/they] + Auxiliary had (past participle of to have) + not + past participle of main verb Contracted forms I/you/he /she/it/we/you/they hadn’t walked or I’d, you’d, he’d,she’d, it’d, we’d, they’d not walked (2 choices for the negative form) Question form: Had + subject + main verb (past participle) ? Had he walked? Or with question word What/where/why/when/who/how + had + subject + verb (past participle) ?
Past participle: basic form is to add ‘ed’ to the base form of the verb, e.g. walk – walked, clean – cleaned Irregular verbs – eat /ate, go/gone, be/ been, have/had, buy/bought, break/broken, run/run, think/thought, say/said, make/made, see/seen etc…have no rules for irregular so have to be learned.
The Wish/hope Chart - Subjunctive Hypothetical
Form Time Function Examples
Wish + past simple Present/Future Used to express that we want a I wish I spoke Italian. (I don’t speak Italian) situation in the present or future, I wish I had a big car. (I don’t have a big car) that is unlikely to change, to be I wish I was on a beach. (I’m in the office) different I wish it was the weekend. (It’s only Wednesday)
Wish + past continuous Present/Future Used to express that we want to be I wish I was lying on a beach now. (I’m sitting in the office) doing a different action in the I wish it wasn’t raining. (It is raining) present or future but cannot Wish + past perfect Past Used to express a regret or that we I wish I hadn’t eaten so much. (I ate a lot) want a situation that we are unable I wish they’d come on holiday with us. (They didn’t come on to change in the past to have been holiday) different I wish I had studied harder at school. (I was lazy at school) Wish + would+ infinitive Present/future Used to express annoyance, I wish you would stop smoking. You are smoking at the verb preference or dissatisfaction with a moment and it is annoying me. present action, where we are I wish it would stop raining. I’m impatient because it is unlikely to be able to change the raining and I want to go outside. I wish she’d be quiet. I am annoyed because she is speaking. outcome of the action I wish you weren’t leaving tomorrow. (You are leaving tomorrow Hope Present/Future Used instead of wish when you want I hope it’s sunny tomorrow. something to happen in the future, “I wish it was sunny tomorrow” is not correct. without impatience or annoyance, I hope she passes her exam next week. generally something that you “I wish she were passing her exam next week” is not correct. I hope the plane doesn’t crash tomorrow. cannot influence but could happen. “I wish the plane wouldn’t crash tomorrow” is not correct. Wish + infinitive or Present/future Used to mean “want” in formal I wish to leave now. (+ infinitive) situations I wish to speak to your supervisor please. (+ infinitive) Wish + object +infinitive I do not wish my name to appear on the list. (+ object + infinitive) I/We wish you …+ fixed Present/future Used with fixed expressions I wish you a happy birthday. expression We wish you good luck in your new job.