Present continuous

  • An activity of something happening now:
    They’re talking
  • A temporary situation:
    I am not feeling well today
  • A future plan:
    They are having a party next week
  • About change, development and progress:
    Life is getting easier thanks to technology
  • With always, to criticise or complain:
    You are always interupting me!

Present simple

  • About things that are always true
  • With words like never, sometimes, often, always, every day, etc to talk about regular and repeated actions:
    My parents never eat meat.
  • About general facts about our lives:
    We live in a small house.

Present Perfect

  • For something happened in the past but has an effect in the present:
    He has had a bad accident.
    I have already seen the film.
  • Refer to the very recent past:
    He has just passed his exams.
  • For somethign which started in the past and is still going on:
    I have lived there for five years.
  • About the past up to the present:
    I have been to Canada.
  • For something which still has not happened but is expected to happen:
    I have not finished the book yet.
  • Not to be used in a clause with a past time expression:
    I read it last week.
  • After words like when, after, until, as soon as, etc., to talk about something in the future:
    I will write to you as soon as I have heard from Jenny.

Has gone and has been:

  • Somebody has gone to a place means he is still there:
    He has gone to school
  • Somebody has been to a place means he went there once but he is not there now:
    He has been to school

Present Perfect Continuous

  • Continuous verbs: The action goes on for some time, e.g. drive, live, make, stand, study, travel, watch, wait, walk, work
  • For emphasising how long something has been going on up to the present:
    We have been travelling for three hours.
  • To show that something is still going on:
    I have been reading your book.
  • To show something is temporary:
    I have been working as a ski instructor, but now I am looking for a new job.

Past simple

  • To talk about things that happened in the past:
    I stayed in that hotel last week.
  • To talk about the general past, and about regular actions:
    Our friends often visited us there.

Past continuous

  • For an action which was interrupted by anther action:
    I was reading the newspaper when the doorbell rang.
  • For an action which was still in progress at a particular time:
    At 2:15 we were still waiting for the bus.
  • To set the scene for a story or for a series of events:
    In was 1975. We were living in a small house in Liverpool.
    One the day I had my accident, I was preparing for my examinations.

Past Perfect

  • When you are talking about past time, you use the past perfect for something which happened earlier and has an effect on the time you are talking about.
    I didn’t go to the film with my wife because I had already seen it.
  • Refers to something which had happened very recently:
    I was feeling very tired because I had just finished work.
  • For something which started earlier and was still going on at the time you are talking about:
    I had lived there for five years.
  • To talk about the time up to the time you are talking about:
    In 1997, I had never been to America.
  • For something which had not happened at the time you are talking about:
    I had never met him before.

Past perfect continuous

  • To talk about something which had been going on for some time:
    We had been travelling for three hours

Present tenses for the future

  • Use present simple for fixed date/time in the future:
    The next train arrives at 11:30.
  • Use present continuous tense for plans or arrangements for the future:
    I am seeing Jill next week.
  • Use present tense of verbs like hope, expect, intend, want with a to-infinitive clause for future with uncertain arrangements:
    We hope to see you soon.
  • After the verb “hope”, we use present simple to refer to the future:
    I hope you enjoy your holiday.
  • Present tenses are often used to refer to the future in clauses with “if” and with time words like “when” or “before”:
    You will not get lost if you have a good map.

Will and going to

  • When you know that something will happen, use present simple:
    The next train arrives at 11:30
  • When you predict something will happen, use “will” or “going to”:
    It will be sunny tomorrow.
    It is going to rain.
  • Use “going to” for prediction with evidence:
    I missed the bus. I am going to be late.
  • Use “going to” for a warning:
    Watch out, we are going to crash.
  • Use “will” for a promise:
    I will call you later.
  • Use “going to” for a decision you have made:
    I am going to stay at home tonight.
  • Use “will” for a decision you have just made:
    I will go to see him.


  • “There is” for the noun is singular after “there”:
    There is a book on the table
  • “There are” for the noun is plural after “there”:
    There are two books on the table
  • “There is” for two nouns joined by “and” after “there” and the first noun is singular:
    There is a man and two women.
  • For questions: “there” is placed before “be” or after “is/was/were”:
    Are there some oranges left?
    Will there be enough time?

In/on/at time

  • “at” is for:
    • Clock times, e.g. at 10:30
    • Meals, e.g. at breakfast
    • Festivals, e.g. at Easter
  • “on” is for:
    • days, e.g. on Monday
    • dates, e.g. on 10 May
    • parts of a specific day, e.g. on Tuesday evening
    • special days, e.g. on Christmas eve
    • special occations, e.g. on my birthday
  • “in” is for:
    • parts of the day, e.g. in the morning
    • seasons, e.g. in winter
    • months, e.g. in January
    • years, e.g. in 2000
    • centuries, e.g. in the 20th century
  • Example: At 10:30 on 10 May in 2000