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14.3 English Grammar – Tenses

durenmgmail-com November 9, 2021

In this objective, we will cover the 12 tenses in the English language and provide you with examples, the formula, and key time expressions.

Tenses are the foundation of the language. One of the challenges that you will face when teaching English is that students will challenge you to check how much you know about grammar. They want to know if you know the tenses and their formulas. You have to be able to explain them clearly and effectively.

If you are a native speaker, you have been exposed to the language since birth. If you are not a regional speaker, then this was the first information that you learned. Whether you are a regional speaker or not, knowing this.

This information is essential, and it is also part of your grammar exam and a necessity for this course.

Simple Tense 

  1. Simple Present Tense

Meaning: The simple present is used to describe habits, facts, and situations or recurring actions.


– I work in Italy.

– I walk the dog on Tuesdays.

– She goes to yoga two times a week.

Formula: subject + verb

Key Time Expressions:

every, usually, sometimes, frequently, often, never, now, always, after, when, as soon as, until

  • Simple Past Tense

Meaning: The simple past is used when we talk about a completed action or condition.


– I was in Japan last week.

– She played the guitar when she was young.

– We didn’t go to the store the other day.


Subject + verb in the past tense + complement

Key Time Expressions:

Last, ago, often, sometimes, yesterday, always.

  • Simple Future Tense

Meaning: When discussing unplanned future events and predictions without evidence, we use “will”. When speaking about organized future events and predictions with the evidence we use “going to”.



– I will travel to Europe next month.

– We will arrive in 20 minutes.

Going to:

– It ́s going to snow later.

– We ́re going to spend a week with my brother.


Subject + will + bare infinitive + complement / subject + to be + going to + bare infinitive + complement

Key Time Expressions:

Next, tomorrow, in, after

Perfect Tenses 

  1. Past Perfect Tense

Meaning: The past perfect is regarding an action happening before the story being told. It is used to make it known that an event had occurred before another in the past.


– He wasn’t overly tired because he had a good rest last night.

– John had gone out when I arrived at the house.

  • Present Perfect Tense

Meaning: When we speak in the present perfect, we are talking about prior actions that are connected to today or actions that occurred in the past, but when they happened, it is not essential. It also can relate to the recent past.


– They have not lived there for many years.

– I have worked here since 1970.

– Have you just finished eating?

– Someone has just eaten my doughnut!


Subject + have/has + past participle of verb + complement

Key Time Expressions:

Since, before, until, yet, already, ever, never, just

  • Future Perfect Tense

Meaning: The future perfect refers to an achieved action in the future.


– You will have reached your destination by then.

– Will you have finished your task on time?

– I will have left by the time you see this.


Subject + will have + past participle of verb

Key Time Expressions:


Progressive Tense

  1. Past Perfect Progressive Tense

Meaning: We use the past perfect progressive to concentrate on an action which was ongoing up to a near time in the past, rather than an event that has been completed.


– I had not been working for long when you called me.

– It had been storming for many hours, and the roads were slippery.

– Had you been here long before the car arrived?

  • Future Perfect Progressive Tense

Meaning: These are actions or events in time somewhere between now and a future time that may be incomplete.


– We will have been residing in Rome for five years in May.

– We will have been running for 2 hours at 6 o’clock.


Subject + will have + been + present participle (base form –ing)

Key Time Expressions:

By, after

  • Future Progressive Tense

Meaning: We use this to speak about something which will happen at a time in the future.


– I will be arriving soon.

– Will you be joining us at the party?

– I will not be seeing John until next weekend.


Subject + will be + present participle (base verb + -ing)

Key Time Expressions:

Next, soon, later, tomorrow, in