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Tense Review

Review of English Tenses

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This tense review section provides a quick review of the basic tenses used in English. This section introduces various tenses and their uses. If you do not understand everything in the explanations, do not worry, as each tense has a link to a detailed explanation page, as well as a quiz page to check your understanding to complete this tense review.

Present

Present Simple

The present simple is used to express regular routines and habits.

Examples:

He doesn't drive to work. He takes the bus.
When do you get up?
They work at the hospital.

For more information on the present simple, here is a detailed overview of the present simple.
Here is a quiz on the present simple.

Present Continuous

the present continuous is used to express an action which is happening at the present moment.

Examples:

They are watching TV at the moment.
What are you doing?
She isn't working now.

For more information on the present continuous, here is a detailed overview of the present continuous.
Here is a quiz on the present continuous.

Present Perfect

The present perfect is used to express something which has happened up to the present moment.

Examples:

They haven't seen the film yet.
He's lived in London since 1978.
Have you finished your work yet?

For more information on the present perfect, here is a detailed overview of the present perfect.
Here is a quiz on the present perfect.

Present Perfect Continuous

The present perfect continuous is used to express the duration of an activity that begins in the past and continues up to the present moment.

Examples:

We've been working for three hours.
How long have you been driving?
They haven't been living here long.

For more information on the present perfect continuous, here is a detailed overview of the present perfect continuous.
Here is a quiz on the present perfect continuous.

Past

Past Simple

the past simple is used to express a finished past action which occurs at a specific moment in the past.

Examples:

She sold her house last month.
They didn't want to visit Rome when they were in Italy.
Where did you go on holiday last summer?

For more information on the past simple, here is a detailed overview of the past simple.
Here is a quiz on the past simple.

Past Continuous

the past continuous is used to express something that is happening at a precise moment in the past. The past continuous is often used to express an interrupted action.

Examples:

I was cooking dinner when you telephoned.
What was he doing when you arrived?
They weren't doing anything special when you interrupted them.

For more information on the past continuous, here is a detailed overview of the past continuous.
Here is a worksheet with follow-up on the past continuous.

Past Perfect

The past perfect is used to talk about an action that is finished before another action in the past. This form is especially useful for giving reasons for a decision that was made in the past.

Examples:

They had researched the market carefully before they decided to open a new branch.
Mr. Smith had already begun the meeting when I arrived.

Here is a guide to resources focusing on the past perfect and the past perfect continuous.

Past Perfect Continuous

The past perfect continuous is used to express the duration of an activity up to another point in time in the past. It is also used to stress that a certain activity had been going on before something important happened.

Examples:

We had been waiting for two hours when they finally arrived.
They'd been working on the report when he telephoned.

Here is a guide to resources focusing on the past perfect and the past perfect continuous.

Future

Future with 'Will'

the future with 'will' is used to make a future prediction or express a decision about the future made at the moment.

Examples:

It will be sunny tomorrow.
I think the government will help the poor.
I'm hungry. I'll buy something to eat.

For more information on the future with 'will', here is a detailed overview of the future with 'will'.
Here is a quiz on the future with 'will' or 'going to'.

Future with 'Going to'

The future with 'going to' is used to speak about future intentions or plans made before the present moment.

Examples:

We are going to study Russian next semester.
Where are you going to stay in New York?
She isn't going to take a vacation this year.

For more information on the future with 'going to', here is a detailed overview of the future with 'going to' and 'will'.
Here is a quiz on the future with 'will' or 'going to'.

Future Continuous

The future continuous is used to discuss an activity that will be in progress at a specific point in time in the future.

Examples:

I'll be working on the report at four this afternoon.
When you arrive in New York, I'll be attending the meeting in Paris.

For more information on the future continuous, here is a detailed overview of the future continuous.

Future Perfect

The future perfect is used to talk about what will have been done up to a specific point in the future.

Examples:

She'll have finished by the time you arrive.
Our company'll have sold a million copies by the end of next month.

For more information on the future perfect, here is a detailed overview of the future perfect.

For an overview of conjugation in detail of these tenses, use the tense tables for reference. Teachers can use theses guides on how to teach tenses for further activities and lesson plans in class

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