Verb tense tells you when the action happens. There are three main verb tenses: present, past, and future. Each main tense is divided into simple, progressive, perfect, and perfect progressive tenses.
|Progressive||am/is/are finishing||was/were finishing||will be finishing|
|Perfect||have/has finished||had finished||will have finished|
|Perfect Progressive||have/has been finishing||had been finishing||will have been finishing|
Things to remember about simple tense:
- Present tense is the original verb form.
- Past tense has a few patterns.
- Future tense needs will (shall) + verb.
- I run a marathon twice a year. (present)
- I ran a marathon last year. (past)
- I will run a marathon next year. (future)
- I eat lunch in my office. (present)
- I ate lunch an hour ago. (past)
- I will eat lunch in one hour.
- I see a movie once a week. (present)
- I saw a movie yesterday. (past)
- I will see a movie tomorrow. (future)
- I know it. (present)
- I knew it the day before yesterday. (past)
- I will know it by tomorrow. (future)
- I learn English. (present)
- I learned English the last two years. (past)
- I will learn English next year. (future)
- I cook my supper every night. (present)
- I cooked our dinner already. (past)
- I will cook breakfast tomorrow. (future)
Fill in the blanks with appropriate verb forms.
1) I ____ a song at the concert yesterday.
2) He _____ a letter to his girlfriend tomorrow.
3) I ____ to the library to borrow some books this weekend.
Progressive & Perfect Tense Verbs
The progressive tense involves action that is, was, or will be in progress at a certain time. In the progressive tense, verbs are formed with a "be" verb + ing.
- I am running a marathon right now. (present progressive)
- I was running a marathon at this time last year. (past progressive)
- I will be running a marathon next Sunday. (future progressive)
- I am eating lunch now.
- I was eating lunch when you saw me.
- I will be eating lunch in the meeting.
- I am learning English at my desk.
- I was learning English the last two years.
- I will be learning English then.
- I am cooking my supper now.
- I was cooking our dinner when you called me.
- I will be cooking breakfast by the time you come home.
The present perfect tense describes an action that started in the past and continues to the present time. Use has/have + the past participle form of the verb.
The past perfect tense describes an action that started and ended in the past. Use had + the past participle form of the verb.
The future perfect tense describes future actions that will occur before some other action. Use will have + the past participle form of the verb.
- I have run several marathons this year. (present perfect)
- I had run many marathons in the past. (past perfect)
- I will have run a marathon by the time I turn 30. (future perfect)
- I have learned a lot about English grammar this semester.
- I had learned the basics of English grammar in elementary school.
- I will have learned a lot about English grammar when I finish college.
- I have known her since I was young.
- I had known her until she passed away.
- I will have known her for 20 years next month.
- I have cooked supper every night this week.
- I had cooked supper every night until the stove broke.
- I will have cooked supper every night by the time this diet ends.
Using the following sentence and create three more sentences using the present, past, and future progressive tenses.
I sing a song on the big stage.
Fill in the blanks with the correct form of the verb given.
1) He ____________ (exercise) hard since last year.
2) I ____________ (study) math as my major since high school.
Perfect Progressive Tense
The perfect progressive tense describes actions that repeated over a period of time in the past, are continuing in the present, and/or will continue in the future.
The present perfect progressive tense tells you about a continuous action that was initiated in the past and finished at some point in the past; however, the action has some relation to the present time. Use [have/has + been + ing].
- It has been raining, and the street is still wet.
- I have been running, and I am still tired.
- She has been practicing the piano, and she is much better now.
The past perfect progressive tense illustrates a continuous action in the past that was completed before another past action. Use [had + been + ing].
- It had been raining, and the street was still wet.
- I had been running, and I was still tired.
- She had been practicing the piano, and she had gotten much better.
The future perfect progressive tense indicates a continuous action that will be completed in the future. Use [will + have + been + ing].
- By tonight, it will have been raining several hours, and the street will be very wet.
- By next summer, I will have been running for almost a year, and I will be fit and healthy.
- By the time of the concert, she will have been practicing the piano for several months, and she will be much better.
Choose the incorrect sentence from the following.
1) I have been sleeping all day today.
2) They will have been walking for almost an hour by the time they arrive at their destination.
3) She have been eating a lot recently.
Learning Conversational English
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