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English Tenses

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The Complete List of English Verb Tenses
Do you find English verbs confusing? Take a look at this chart of English verb tenses to help you understand when to use each one: Simple Present Past Future speak / speaks spoke will speak going to speak Continuous am/is/are speaking was/were speaking will be speaking Perfect have/has spoken had spoken will have spoken Perfect Continuous have been speaking had been speaking will have been speaking

Present Simple
Use the present simple tense in English… For general facts: This shirt costs ten dollars. We speak English. For actions that happen regularly: I take guitar lessons on Wednesday nights. Sarah sometimes eats lunch in her office.

Present Continuous
Use the present continuous tense in English… For a continuous action in progress at the moment: I‘m currently studying biology at university. Bill can’t talk on the phone right now – he‘s doing his homework. We‘re watching TV at the moment. For future plans/arrangements: www.espressoenglish.net © Shayna Oliveira 2012

I‘m having lunch with Jack tomorrow. My sister is driving me to the airport on Saturday. Tim and Joanna are joining us for dinner next week.

Present Perfect
Use the present perfect tense in English… With actions that happened in the past at an unspecified time: I‘ve met several celebrities. He‘s been to Australia several times. We‘ve already taken the test. With actions that began in the past and continue to the present: I‘ve lived in this house for five years. Harry has worked at the same company since 1992. Note: Usually the verbs “lived” and “worked.” The present perfect continuous can also be used – see the next section. With actions that have never happened: I‘ve never broken a bone. She‘s never bought a car. My parents have never eaten sushi.

Present Perfect Continuous
Use the present perfect continuous tense in English… With actions...

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