The English tenses summary you are going to find in this post is mean for English learners that want to understand how to use, and clearly differentiate, the different English tenses.
If you have difficulties to feel the meaning of every tense, then this post is for you!
English Tenses Summary
Let’s take a look at the English tenses summary…
|I play tennis every weekend.||Present Simple…
You use it to talk about things that you usually do like for example habits.
|I am currently playing tennis and I can’t answer the phone.||Present continuous…
You use it to talk about things that you are currently doing right now while talking.
|I played tennis in school when I was a child.||Simple past…
You use it to talk about things that happened in the past and are now finished.
|I was playing tennis when it started to rain.||Past continuous…
You use it to talk about things you were currently doing in the past (playing tennis) while something else happened (started to rain).
|I have played tennis too much and now I feel exhausted.||Present perfect…
You use it to talk about things that happened in the recent past and are connected to the present.
You want to emphasize the result of the action or that the action is completed.
|I have been playing tennis all day long.||Present Perfect Continuous…
You use it to talk about things that happened in the recent past and are still happening now.
You want to emphasize the duration of the action.
|I will play tennis if I find a partner.||Future Simple…
You use it to talk about things that you think will occur in the future.
Some More Examples…
I’m going to share with you 3 others examples of an English tenses summary to help you.
|She never cries.||Present Simple|
|She is crying because you shouted at her.||Present continuous|
|She cried when her boyfriend left her.||Simple past|
|She was crying when I saw her.||Past continuous|
|She has cried a lot but she now feels better.||Present perfect|
|She has been crying since she lost her dog.||Present Perfect Continuous|
|She will cry if she doesn’t find a job.||Future Simple|
|It rains everyday in my city.||Present Simple|
|It is raining now, we can’t go out.||Present continuous|
|It rained all day on my last birthday.||Simple past|
|It was raining when you asked me to go out.||Past continuous|
|It has rained a lot this summer.||Present perfect|
|It has been raining all morning.||Present Perfect Continuous|
|It will rain next weekend if the weather doesn’t change.||Future Simple|
|They build houses because they are architects.||Present Simple|
|They are currently building a house next to mine.||Present continuous|
|They built their own house 10 years ago.||Simple past|
|They were building their own house when I met them for the first time.||Past continuous|
|They have built houses all over the country.||Present perfect|
|They have been building houses for more than 10 years now.||Present Perfect Continuous|
|They will build a house for my parents next year.||Future Simple|
How To Master The English Tenses…
As an exercise to help you master these tenses I recommend you to do this:
- Choose a subject (For example I, my girlfriend, he, your father, his dog, Paul…).
- Choose a verb.
- Write down or say aloud a sentence for everyone of the 7 tenses I talk about in this English tenses summary.
Do this exercise in a very regular basis until you feel comfortable using the different tenses both when speaking and writing.
Try also to analyze how other people use tenses while you listen or read. It’s going to help you a lot!
Just be aware that among other rules, it’s not correct to use some verbs in the continuous tenses.
- “I like cookies” is correct.
I’m liking cookies” is incorrect.
This happens with verbs about a mental state like for example “Love”, “Like”, ”Hate”… They are not usually used in continuous tenses.
In opposition, “action verbs” like for example “Run”, ”Shout”, “Walk”, ”Work” are commonly used in continuous tenses.
But please, don’t bother too much about that.
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