2. WHAT ARE TENSES?
• Verbs that refer to time
• Indicate the time and state of an action or event
• Tenses indicate three different times:
1. Past (what has happened)
2. Present (what is happening)
3. Future (what will happen/expected to happen)
3. Furtherdivided into:
Simple - verb itself:
walk (ed) talk (ed), laugh (ed), rise (rose)
Continuous (also known as ‘Progressive’):
Participle: “-ing” or “-ed”
have / has/had + ed
have/has/had been + ing
5. Simple Tense
1. express habit/repeated action. E.g. I like to read.
2. Present time. E.g. My sister lives in the UK.
3. Talk of general truths. E.g. The sun rises form the East.
4. Exclamatory sentences which refer to actions occurring
in the present. E.g. Here comes the bus!
5. Refer to expected future action. E.g. The train leaves at
6. 6. To introduce quotation. E.g. Catherine writes/
7. Live broadcast of events/ commentaries “… Now
we see the South African delegation, led by XYZ ”
8. Newspaper headlines. E.g. Peace talks fail; Mass
9. Conditional sentences. E.g. If I meet her, I’ll tell her.
10. Instructions. E.g. First you weigh the ingredients.
7. 11. Time clauses:
a) idea of routine. E.g. He spends money as soon as
he earns it.
b) main verb in future form. E.g. We will go out when
it stops raining.
8. Present Continuous:
Form: be + …-ing.
1) 1. For an action happening now, i.e. at the moment
of speaking. E.g. The children are playing in the
garden; I am working.
9. 2) Temporary actions / situations, not necessarily in
progress exactly at the moment of speaking. E.g.
He is staying with his aunt for a month; He is
teaching French and learning German.
3) To talk about situations which are changing or
developing around the present. E.g. Your children
are growing up very quickly; Computers are
becoming an important part of our lives.
10. 4) For an action arranged to take place in the near
future, i.e. planned actions (+ future adverbial
reference) E.g. My uncle is arriving tomorrow; I am
meeting my friend on Sunday.
5) To refer to a frequently repeated habit/action,
which may or may not an annoying habit. E.g. She
is always complaining; Tom is always losing his
keys; He is always working; She is always
11. Present Perfect:
Form: be have/has + -ed/ -ed, -d, -t, -en, -n.
Uses: Always connect past with the present.
Two basic uses:
Foractions that begin in the past and continue to
Used with time references: before (now), ever, never..
before, up till now, so far, since, for
E.g. I have received 20 cards so far; I’ve lived in
Lahore since 1990; I’ve lived here for 20 years.
12. Foractions that happened at an unspecified time in
1. With no time reference at all.
E.g. Have you passed your driving test? ( depending on
context, this could mean ‘very recently’ or ‘at any
time up to now’.)
2. With reference to recent time: just, recent, already,
E.g. I’ve just eaten; The plane has just landed.
13. 3. Repeated/ habitual actions.
E.g. I’ve often met her; I’ve watched him on TV several
Also used to:
talk about something that was begun in the past and
continues to the present. E.g. How long have you
Indicate activities just completed. E.g. It has just
struckten; The plane has just landed;
14. When the result of a past action is connected to the
present. E.g. Someone has broken the window; The taxi
has arrived; We have cleaned the flat; I have cut my
Often used with words which denote indefinite time: ever,
never, yet, before. E.g. I have never seen a ghost; She
has been there before; Have you read ‘Gulliver’s Travels’?
Used with today, this morning, this afternoon, etc, when
these periods of time are not finished at the time of
16. Present Perfect Continuous:
Form: have/has been + -ing
1. Use this tense in place of the simple present
perfect when we want to emphasize that
something has been in progress throughout a
period of time.
E.g. I’ve worked all day/ I’ve been working all day.
(depending on context, it can mean I’m still working or
I’ve just stopped)
17. 2. Some verbs like learn, lie, live, rain, sit, sleep,
stand, wait, work, naturally suggest continuity and
are often used with since or for.
Can be used with simple present perfect tense:
I’ve waited here for two hours.
I’ve worked here since 1980.
But most often perfect continuous is used:
I’ve been waiting here for two hours.
I’ve been working here since 1980.
18. Also used to:
Connect present and the past. To talk about
something that was begun in the past and continues
to the present. E.g. She has been waiting for an
To talk about repeated actions or situations in a
period up to the present (or recent past). E.g. I have
been taking driving lessons for six months; How long
have you been living here?
20. Past Simple
Form: verbs in past tense: ed, -d, -t, -en,
Same for all persons. E.g. I bent, They bent, She
bent, He bent, It bent, We bent
1) To talk of actions and situations in the past. E.g. I
played football yesterday; The baby cried all night;
We did not go out last night; She left school last
21. 2) Time can be indefinite: E.g. She left school; I went
to the market; They played the piano.
3) To refer to past habits. E.g. He studied many hours
everyday; She always carried an umbrella.
4) To describe events and actions while telling a
story. E.g. Suddenly a woman came round the
corner, walked up to him, and asked, “Are you Mr.
22. Past Continuous:
Form: was/ were + -ing
1) To talk about something that was in progress at a
past time, something which had started about not
finished at that time. The time of the action may or
may not be indicated. E.g. I was watching TV at
eight o clock last night; I was writing a letter; It was
23. 2) Past simple and past continuous often
used together in a sentence:
Past Continuous Past Simple
I was driving along When suddenly a child
ran across the road.
When Kate was
The telephone rang.
We were walking in
When it started to rain.
The past continuous describes a longer action/
situation in progress at a past time whereas the past
simple describes a new, shorter action which
happens during the longer action, or interrupted it.
24. If one thing happened after another, simple
past can be used:
1) E.g. When the telephone rang, Kate answered
2) To refer to persistent habits in the past. Used
with: always, continually, etc. E.g. He was
25. 3) To describe background scene when telling a
E.g. I was standing outside the bus station. It
was getting late and I was feeling tired. I was
waiting for a man called Mr. Marlowe.
26. Past Perfect:
Form: had + - ed, -d, -t, -en, -n
1) Referring to something in the earlier past when
talking about the past. E.g. We arrived at the cinema
at 8.00 o clock, but the movie had started at 7.30.
2) When I spoke to the woman, I realized I had met her
27. 3) It describes an action completed before a certain
moment in the past. E.g. I had last seen him five
4) Simple past and past perfect can be used together in
a sentence in which two actions are mentioned. E.g.
When I reached (simple past) the station, the train
had started (past perfect).
5) I had written (past perfect) the letter before he
arrived (simple past).
28. 6) The past perfect is the past form of the
Present Perfect: It has just struckten.
Past Perfect: It had just struckten.
29. Past Perfect Continuous:
Form: had been + -ing
1) Referring to something in the earlier past when talking
about the past. E.g.
He had been driving for an hour when the car broke
down. (Past continuous is used to refer to the earlier past
I had been walking for an hour when it suddenly started
30. 2) To refer to an action that began before a certain
point in the past and continued up to that time. E.g.
At that time, he had been writing a novel for two
31. 3. The past perfect continuous is the past form of the
present perfect continuous.
Present perfect continuous: She has been waiting for
Past perfect continuous: She had been waiting for