keyboard_arrow_up

Tenses in English grammar have two parts in meaning: time and aspect.

Time

The time of the action is usually clear:

Past

Present

Future

Sometimes, the present tenses can have a future meaning:

Sometimes, the past tenses can have a present meaning:

Review - Tenses and Time

Review - Tenses and Time


Aspect

There are three important aspects to consider in English grammar tenses: Simple, Continuous, and Perfect:

The Simple Aspect

The simple aspect describes complete actions.  They are viewed as starting and finishing.  This is especially important when we use a number, meaning "finished actions."

Review - The Simple Aspect

Review - The Simple Aspect

The Continuous Aspect

The continuous aspect focuses on the duration of an activity.  This means we are focusing on the time between the start and finish of an activity.  In the continuous aspect, the activity is never permanent.

In the continuous aspect, the activity may not be complete or finished:

Stative verbs rarely take the continuous form.  This is because they are seen to be permanent and they do not frequently change.

Some verbs, like live, work, play, and learn usually last a long time.  When we use the continuous aspect with these verbs, it makes them temporary.  We are focusing on the fact that the action is not permanent.

Some verbs usually only last a short time.  They are usually found in the simple aspect.

Review - Continuous Aspect

Review - Continuous Aspect

The Perfect Aspect

The perfect aspect refers to something before a time.  Present Perfect refers to before now, Past Perfect refers to before a past time, and the Future Perfect refers to before a future time.  The exact time of the action is not important.

Review - The Perfect Aspect

Review - The Perfect Aspect


Exercise

Open the exercise to begin the activity. Follow the instructions in the document.