Future Perfect Progressive Tense

When to use Future Perfect Progressive Tense

Similarly to Future Perfect, Future Perfect Progressive is used to project oneself to the future when he or she will look back to a point in time which is also in the future. However, the focus here is on the continuity of the event that we are looking back to. For example, if you have exams in June and in June, you look back to the time you spent studying, you can say:

I will have been studying for a long time by June.
She will have been training for 10 years next month.
Kate will have been dating William for 20 years this year.

The focus, here, is on the process of studying, not the result of the action.

Structure of Future Perfect Progressive Tense

Subject + will + have + been + Progressive Participle of Main Verb + Object

Future Perfect Progressive combines the perfect and the progressive aspect in the future. It is the most complicated compound verb in the English language, but once you understand how aspects and tenses form a compound verb, it becomes easy to use. Similarly to other future tenses, the auxiliary verb ‘will’ is used to express future and it must be followed by a verb in first form. Therefore, we are going to need the auxiliary verb ‘to have’ to express perfection in present form. The progression is expressed by the auxiliary verb ‘to be’ which must be in past participle form ‘been’ because it follows the auxiliary verb ‘have’. Finally, ‘been’ is followed be the progressive participle (-ing form) of the action verb as in any other progressive tenses.

Some examples for the structure:
Uncle Bob will have been working there for 10 years by May.
I will have been learning English for only a year next week.

Do you remember that some verbs cannot be used in progressive tenses? To review them, click here.

Take a look at the following table to review how Future Perfect Progressive is formed:

Making the Future Perfect Progressive Tense negative

To create the negative form of a Future Perfect Progressive verb, you need to combine ‘not’ and the auxiliary verb ‘will’. The short form is ‘won’t’. Remember to use the short forms in informal conversations and the long forms in a written, formal context.

Subject + will not / won’t + have + been + Progressive Participle of Main Verb

Examples:
I won’t have been waiting here for 5 hours till he comes back.
Unless you convince me to stay, I won’t have been living here for 20 years.
They will have been practicing long by the time you get home.

Yes/No questions in Future Perfect Progressive

In the English language, questions are generally formed by switching the first auxiliary verb and the subject in a sentence. In case of the Future Perfect Progressive Tense, the first auxiliary verb is ‘will’ that must be switched with the subject.

Will not / Won’t + subject + have + been + Progressive Participle

Some examples:
Won’t you have been living here for 10 years in June?
Will he have been practicing enough by Friday?

Open-ended questions in Future Perfect Progressive

To form open-ended questions, simply put the question word to the beginning of the sentence. The word order folowing the question word remains tha same as in case of yes/no questions. For example:

How long will you have been living here in June?
How long will she have been training for that competition by the summer?

Typical adverbs of the Future Perfect Progressive Tense

The typical adverbs of the Present Perfect Progressive Tense are mostly the same with the typical adverbs of the Present Perfect Tense. However, the focus is always on the continuity of the action at a given moment. These adverbs and time expressions are:

for … years/days/hours, in (2020), by the time …, by (June), before, after, when, if, unless, etc.

Some examples:
By the time you get home, I will have been walking the dogs for 2 hours.
She will have been playing the piano for 5 years in October.
Kiara will have been working late, so she will be tired when she gets home.

Future Perfect Tense

When to use Future Perfect

Future Perfect is used when we talk about a future action that will be in the past, looking back. Future Perfect projects us in to the distant future. If we look back to another action from the distant future, that action will be in the past. That sounds very complicated, but the examples will make it clear. If you want to say that you finish school in June and in June your classes will be finished, you can say:

I will have finished school by June.

Looking at it from the present, June and finishing school are both in the future. However, looking at it from June, finishing school will be in the past.

Other examples:

My daughter will have graduated by the time we are going away.
The team will have trained enough by the World Cup.
He will have practised enough before the test.

Structure of Future Perfect Tense

Subject + will + have+ Past Participle of Main Verb + Object

The auxiliary verb of perfect tenses is ‘to have’ which needs to be used in future form in the Future Perfect Tense. Future can be expressed by using the auxiliary verb ‘will’. Will must be followed by the present form of the verb, so the correct form will be ‘will have’. Finally, the action verb needs to be in past participle because of the auxiliary verb ‘have’.

Note that there are many verbs that have irregular second and third forms. Make sure to learn the most common ones from this list!

Some examples for the structure:
My dog will have been 2 years old by then.
The offer will have been expired by the time I get my salary.
The writer will have finished his book by the deadline.

Take a look at the following table to review how Future Perfect is formed:

Making the Future Perfect Tense negative

To create the negative form of a Future Perfect verb, you need to combine ‘not’ and the auxiliary verb ‘will’ similarly to other future tenses. The short form is ‘won’t’. Remember to use the short forms in informal conversations and the long forms in a written, formal context.

Subject + won’t / will not + have + V3rd

Examples:
The project won’t have been fully finished by the deadline.
I won’t have cooked dinner by 8 o’clock because I’m busy till 7:30 pm.

Yes/No questions in Future Perfect

As in any other tenses, questions in Future Perfect are formed by switching the auxiliary verb ‘will’ and the subject. For example:
Will you have finished your homework by the time the movie starts?
Will the baby have been born by May?
Will you have saved up some money by the summer, so we can go to Australia?

Open-ended questions in Future Perfect

To form open-ended questions, simply put the question word to the beginning of the sentence. The word order folowing the question word remains tha same as in case of yes/no questions. For example:

How will you have learnt all the material by Friday?
What will you have learnt by Friday?

Typical time expressions of Future Perfect Tense

As you might have noticed already in the examples above, expressions with ‘by….’ are very typical in the Future Perfect Tense. ‘By’ can be used as a one-word adverb or as a clause. It is not mandatory to use ‘by’ with Future Perfect but it is very common. For example,

I will have lived here for 10 years by 2020.
I will have lived here for 10 years by the time I turn 30.

Will you have completed the whole course by June?
Will you have completed the whole course by the time exams start?

You can use other adverbs, as well. Note that ‘in’ doesn’t work as a clause. For example,

I think we will have colonized Mars in 2050.
Mary will have walked the dogs before 8 pm.
A week from now we will have landed in Bali.
If I learn English, I will have learnt 10 languages.

Simple Future Tense

Simple Future or Going to

Future events can be expressed with either Simple Future Tense or the ‘going to’ expression. Both of them express future events and actions but there is a small difference in usage. The main difference lies in the probability of the event. For predictions, less probable events, we use Simple Future and for already planned future events, we use ‘going to’. ‘Going to’ is generally used to express future intentions or plans or it is often used if we can see the evidence of a future event. For example,

I don’t think it will rain. –> Look at those clouds! It’s going to rain very soon!
Maybe the test will be easy this time. –> The teacher says the test is going to be very difficult.

First, let’s look at Simple Future closely…

When to use Simple Future

  • For planned, arranged, regular events in the future
    The bus will come at 7 am.
    I’ll take the 4 o’clock train back to the city.
  • Making offers and promises spontaneously
    Moving is such a hassle. I’ll help you.
    I lost my pen. – I’ll lend you mine.
    Thank for paying for the bills. I’ll pay you back next week.
  • Expressing probability and predicted events
    I think I’ll be there soon.
    I’m not sure I’ll be there in time.
    I’ll probably be late.
    I wonder if she’ll be late.
    I expect she’ll be late.
    It will be sunny tomorrow.
  • Willingness / Unwillingness
    My granddaughter won’t eat anything I cook because she’s vegan.
    He’s so rude. I won’t answer him until he apologizes.
    I’ll help you with your homework.
  • Invitations
    Will you come to prom with me?
    Will you marry me?

Structure of Simple Future Tense

Subject + will + bare infinitive of the main verb + Object
Daisy         will                           dance                                 tango.

The Future Simple Tense is the simplest ways to express a planned action in the future in the English Language. The future tense is expressed by using the auxiliary verb ‘will’ which is followed by the first form of the verb. The auxiliary verb implies that the action will take place in the future. Note that there is no need to conjugate ‘will’ or the main verb following it

I will dance
You will dance
He / She / It will dance
We will dance
You will dance
They will dance

Take a look at where Simple Future is in the Verb Tenses Table:

simple future

 Simple Future Negative

As in case of any other tenses, you need to combine the auxiliary verb and ‘not’ to create the negative form. The short version of ‘will not’ is ‘won’t’. Remember to use the short version in an informal and the long version in formal context. The negative of the Simple Future is formed as follows:

Subject + won’t / will not + bare infinitive

Examples:
I won’t study for my exam.
She won’t come to the cinema with us.
We won’t go to the beach today because it’s very cloudy.

Yes/No questions in Simple Future

In the English language, questions are usually formed by switching the (first) auxiliary verb and the subject. For example:

She can speak English. → Can she speak English?

The same logic applies in Simple Future, as ‘will’ is also a modal verb like ‘can’ in the above-mentioned example. Just switch ‘will’ and the subject.

I will come to your wedding. → Will you come to my wedding?

They won’t have time for breakfast. → Will they have time for breakfast?

My cousin will travel around Asia for 6 months. → Will your cousin travel around Asia?

Open-ended questions in Simple Future

To form open-ended questions, simply put the question word to the beginning of the sentence. The word order folowing the question word remains tha same as in case of yes/no questions. For example:

Who will you come to my wedding with?

What time will they have breakfast?

Where will your cousin travel around?

Typical adverbs of Simple Future Tense

Tomorrow / tonight etc, at (6) pm/am/o’clock, in (2) hours/days/weeks, ever, never,

Note that in time clauses beginning with while, when, before, after, by the time, as soon as, if and unless, the correct form of the verb is in present tense.

Some examples:
I’ll join you for dinner if you’re not late.
We will go out for dinner when you arrive.
After you arrive, we will go out for dinner.
The plane will land tomorrow at 7 pm.
Maybe we should get take-out. Jane will make dinner tonight.

Expressing planned actions with ‘going to’

Planned actions in the future can be expressed by using the expression ‘going to’, as well. However, ‘going to’ is not a tense. The full form of the expression is ‘to be going to’ where ‘to be’ needs to be conjugated according to the subject of the sentence. The actual action verb stays in first form, following ‘going to’.

Affirmative:    Subject + conjugated form of to be + going to + bare infinitive + Object

Negative: S + I’m not / isn’t / aren’t + going to + bare infinitive

Question: Am / is / are + S + going to + bare infinitive

‘Going to’ is generally used to express a planned action in the future. If you want to say that you have already decided on doing something, use ‘going to’. For example,

I’m going to the movies later today.
He is going to run the Boston Marathon this year, so he needs to train so much.
Are you going to invite your mother-in-law for the baby shower?

‘Going to’ can refer to predictions about events that are just about to happen. In these situations, often there is a concrete evidence suggesting the event about to happen. For example,

That branch is about to break. He’s going to fall off the tree!
The company earnings dropped by 30% in the last quarter. Share prices are going to decrease dramatically.
He isn’t going to pass the final exam. It’s so hard!

Expressing future with shall

You might have seen the auxiliary verb ‘shall’ before. It can also be used to express future instead of ‘will’. But be careful because ‘shall’ can only be used with ‘we’ and ‘I’. It is frequently used in formal, contexts such as legal documents and contract. For example,

The tenant shall be responsible for the cleaning of the whole property.

However, there is another meaning of ‘shall’. It is commonly used in polite questions with a similar meaning as ‘may’. For example,

May I help you? / Shall I help you? = polite way of asking ‘Can I help you?’

Note that ‘shall’ here refers to the politeness, not the future.

Past Perfect Progressive Tense

When to use Past Perfect Progressive

  • Ongoing/unfinished things at a certain point in time in the past
    I’d been dating this girl from school when I met Lisa.
    My brother had been reading comics for a long time when he decided to draw his own story.
  • Actions that just finished before another event in the past
    The kids had been making a mess, so I had to clean up.
    It had been raining, so I had to take the car.
  • Cause and effect
    I had to retake the exam because I hadn’t been studying for the first one.
    The boy had to apologize to the neighbor because he had been playing the violin loudly.

Structure of Past Perfect Progressive Tense

Subject + had + been + Progressive Participle of Main Verb + Object

Past Perfect Progressive combines the perfect and the progressive aspect in past tense. To express the perfect aspect, we need the auxiliary verb ‘to have’ and to express progression, we need the auxiliary verb ‘to be’. The auxiliary verb ‘to have’ must be in simple past form given the past tense. ‘To have’ is always followed by the past participle of the verb. Therefore, we need to use the past participle of ‘to be’ which is ‘been’. ‘Been’ is followed by the progressive participle (-ing form) of the actual action verb as in case of all progressive tenses.

Some examples for the structure:
My dog had been acting weird for days before it got sick.
The patient had been feeling very sick when the doctor visited him.
My mom had been working very hard when she was promoted.

Take a look at the following table to review how Present Perfect Progressive is formed:

Do you remember that some verbs cannot be used in progressive tenses? To review them, click here.

Making the Past Perfect Progressive Tense negative

To create the negative form of a Past Perfect Progressive verb, you need to combine ‘not’ and the auxiliary verb ‘had’. The short form is ‘hadn’t. Remember to use the short forms in informal conversations and the long forms in a written, formal context.

Subject + had + not + been + Progressive Participle of Main Verb

Examples:
He hadn’t been working on his research paper.
I hadn’t been staying up late so mom woke me up.
They hadn’t been talking for a long time when they finally made up.

Yes/No questions in Past Perfect Progressive

Questions in Past Perfect Progressive are formed by switching the auxiliary verb ‘had’ and the subject. The word order of the rest of the sentence remains unchanged. For example:

Had you been doing a presentation when she called you?
Had you been skiing when you broke your leg?

Open-ended questions in Past Perfect Progressive Tense

In case of open-ended questions, always start with the questions word. After the questions word, follow the usual word order for questions: auxiliary verb – subject – main verb – object -etc. The auxiliary verb in Past Perfect Progressive is ‘had’ which is followed by the subject.

How long had you been living in Germany before you moved here?
Who had you been living in Vienna with when you got that job offer?
Where had you been training before the new stadium was built?

Typical adverbs of Past Perfect Progressive Tense

The typical adverbs of the Present Perfect Progressive Tense are mostly the same with the typical adverbs of the Present Perfect Tense. However, the focus is always on the continuity of the action at a given moment. These adverbs are:

when, after, before, by the time, since, for

Some examples:
She’d been working to the same company for years before she got fired.
I was feeling so much better after I had been resting for a couple of days.
It had been raining since I woke up.
Before I went to bed, I had been watching Game of Thrones.

 

Past Perfect Tense

When to use Past Perfect

Past Perfect is mainly used when there are several timelines in a story or conversation. When comparing two events in the past, Past Perfect is used to express that one event happened before another event. Always use Past Perfect for the action that happened in the more distant past. For example,

I had studied English for 8 years when I met an English person for the first time.
Before I went to the supermarket, I had written a shopping list.
After I had surgery, I couldn’t walk for months.

Structure of Past Perfect Tense

Subject + had + Past Participle of Main Verb + Object

The auxiliary verb of perfect tenses is ‘to have’ which needs to be used in simple past form in past tense. ‘To have’ is always followed by the Past Participle of the main verb. Note that there are many verbs that have irregular simple past and past participle forms. Make sure to learn the most common ones. You can find a great list here.

Some examples for the structure:
My family had lived in England.
He had studied engineering at MIT.
The majority of immigrants had come from the south in those days.

Take a look at the following table to review how Past Perfect is formed:

Making the Past Perfect Tense negative

To create the negative form of a Past Perfect verb, you need to combine ‘not’ and the auxiliary verb ‘had’. The short form is ‘hadn’t. Remember to use the short forms in informal conversations and the long forms in a written, formal context.

Subject + had + not + Past Participle of Main Verb

Examples:
He hadn’t been to the theater before.
I still haven’t read anything from the summer readings list.

Note that there are many verbs that have irregular simple past and past participle forms. Make sure to learn the most common ones from this list!

Yes/no questions in Past Perfect

Questions in Past Perfect are formed by switching the auxiliary verb ‘had’ and the subject. For example:

Had you lived in Scotland before you moved to Cambodia?
Had you renewed your membership before it expired?

Open-ended questions in Past Perfect

To form open-ended questions, simply put the question word to the beginning of the sentence. The word order folowing the question word remains tha same as in case of yes/no questions. For example:

How long had you lived there before you moved to Cambodia?
Who had you lived with before you moved in with your girlfriend?
Why had you gone to hospital before the holiday?

Signaling words of Past Perfect Tense

As Past Perfect is often comparing two actions in time, clauses are used to frame one of the actions in time, comparing it to another action. Typical perfect tense adverbs can be used, as well, but clauses are more frequent. These clauses are ‘when’, ‘before’ and ‘after’ as you can see them in the above-mentioned example.

Some common adverbs are:

Already, yet, since …., for … years/days/hours, this morning/afternoon/evening,

Some examples:
I had already been to the doctor, when she told me to go to the hospital.
I hadn’t been to the doctor, yet, when she told me to go to the hospital.
I’d had the same doctor for 10 years in New York before I moved to LA.
I had just found out about the test, when the class started.

 

Past Progressive Tense

When to use Past Progressive

Past Progressive describes past actions that were happening at a given time. It can also refer to a longer action in the past that was interrupted by another event. This interruption can be real or just an interruption in time. Use Past Progressive when focus is on the continuity of the action in the past, not the regularity or the result.

  • Past actions in progress at a given point in time
    I was watching TV last night.
    At 2 am, I was still watching this new TV show.
  • Interruption in time or real interruption
    Note that the interrupting event is always in Simple Past.
    Mom was still working as a teacher when I was
    They were training for the race when the accident happened.
  • Parallel actions in time
    I was having a great time while we were playing card games.
    What were you doing while you were standing in line?
    The kids were sitting on the bus and singing songs.
  • Annoyance of repeated actions
    She was always biting her nails while we were talking.
    Why were you always arriving late to class?
    Our neighbor was always complaining about her allergy during spring time.

Structure of Past Progressive

Subject + was / were + Progressive Participle of Main Verb + Object

The Past Progressive Tense puts the progressive aspect in the past. The auxiliary verb expressing progression ‘to be’ needs to be in simple past form agreeing with the subject: ‘was’ or ‘were’. The action verb follows the auxiliary verb in progressive participle as in all progressive tenses.

Some examples:
I was studying when I heard the noise.
Who was driving the car?
They were hiking the same trail as we were.

Do you remember the spelling rules of -ing forms? You can review them here.

Some verbs cannot be used in progressive tenses. Go back to the list for a quick revision.

Take a look at where Simple Past is in the Verb Tenses Table:

Making the Past Progressive Tense negative

To form negative sentences in Past Progressive Tense, simply add ‘not’ to the auxiliary verb ‘was / or were’. The short forms of negative are ‘wasn’t / weren’t’. The action verb in progressive participle stays unchanged. The negative of Past Progressive is formed as follows:

S + wasn’t / weren’t + Ving + O

Remember to use the short version in everyday language and the long version in a formal, written context.

Examples:
I wasn’t hanging out with them last night.
She wasn’t sleeping at 2 am.
The employees weren’t doing a good job.

Yes/no questions in Past Progressive

To form questions, switch the auxiliary verb ‘was/were’ with the subject. For example:

Were you hanging out with them last night?
Was she sleeping at 2 am?
Were the employees doing a good job?

Open-ended questions in Past Progressive

To form open-ended questions, simply put the question word to the beginning of the sentence. The word order folowing the question word remains tha same as in case of yes/no questions. For example:

Where were you going last night?
Who were they talking to on the phone?
What was I thinking?!

Signaling words of Past Progressive

The time of interrupting event or action can be expressed by both an adverb or a clause. The most commonly used clauses are ‘when’ and ‘while’ that express continuity the following way:

They were chatting on Skype when her computer shot down.

While she was taking the kids to the playground, I was getting a haircut.

Common adverbs of Simple Past can also be used with Past Progressive:

Yesterday, last night / week / year, at (2) o’clock, at (5) pm, for … hours, for a long time

For example:
I was writing my thesis for ages.
She was laying on the couch all afternoon.
Were you joining them at the club last night?

 

Simple Past Tense

When to use Simple Past

Simple Past is used for finished actions in the past. The focus is on the action itself, not on its present consequences. Simple Past is often used to describe a series of events or to tell stories. For example, when describing what you did during a day in the past.

  • For habits or repeated, regular events
    The bus came at 7 am every morning.
    Sometimes I went to the park during lunch break.
    They often trained together before races.
  • Past event that happened at a given point in time
    I went to bed at 12 pm last night.
    She was born in 2000.
    What time did your flight leave on Wednesday?
  • Past event with an indefinite point in time
    She was my best friend.
    I bought this watch a long time ago.
    I bumped into my high school sweetheart the other day.

Structure of Simple Past Tense

Subject + Simple Past form of the verb + Object
She                          studied                  medicine.

The Simple Past Tense has the simplest past structures. In an affirmative sentence, there is no auxiliary verb. The action verb needs to be used in past participle. The past participle of the verb is created the following way:

Regular verbs

To create the past tense form of regular verbs, simply add -ed to the end of the verb.
want → wanted → I wanted to help you.
shift → shifted → The real power shifted to the advisor.
cook → cooked → Mom cooked a delicious meal.
wait → waited → Cinderella waited for a long time for his prince.
play → played → My best friend played tennis in high school.
bake → baked → I baked a chocolate cake last weekend.
add → added → The teacher added some extra slides to the presentation.
stay → stayed → My roommate stayed up late last night.
jump → jumped → The nighbour’s goats jumped over the fence.
look → looked → You looked wonderful in that dress.
enjoy → enjoyed → They enjoyed a night out together.
push → pushed → Tom pushed the wrong button.
walk → walked → Grandpa always walked around in the garden.

Spelling changes

However, there are some exceptions in spelling regular verbs ending in -ed. The spelling rules follow the same logic as the spelling of the progressive participle.

  1. Verbs ending in -e only get a -d.
    live → lived
    vote → voted
    love → loved
    create → created
  2. Double the final letter if the verb ends in consonant + vowel + consonant.
    stop → stopped
    plan → planned
    drop → dropped
    fit → fitted
  3. Don’t double the last consonant if the stress is on the first syllable even though the verb ends in consonant + vowel + consonant.
    happen → happened
    offer → offered
    enter → entered
  4. Don’t double the last consonant if the verb ends in -w, -x, -y or when the last syllable is not stressed.
    follow → followed
    enjoy → enjoyed
    fix → fixed

Some examples:
We happened to be there at the same time.
My dad fixed my bike yesterday.
Liam dropped out of school a long time ago.
I never finished high school.

Irregular verbs

There are many common words that have irregular second and third forms that don’t end in -ed. For example,

go → went → gone
do → did → done
make → made → made
get → got → got

You can find an extensive list of the most frequently used irregular verbs here. The sooner you start learning them, the sooner you’ll finish!

Note that there is no conjugation in 3rd person singular in past tense except for the verb ‘to be’:
I was                                                                                                                                                           You were
He / she / it was
We were
You were
They were

Take a look at where Simple Past is in the Verb Tenses Table:

simple past

Simple Past Negative

In the English language, negative forms of verbs are usually formed by an auxiliary verb and ‘not’. For example: She may not go out tonight. In the Simple Past Tense, the verb ‘do’ serves as an auxiliary verb to help the formation of negative and questions. The auxiliary verb, however, needs to be in second form, so the correct forms will be ‘did’ and ‘didn’t’. ‘Did’ here has no special meaning, it serves only grammatical purposes. The action verb follows the auxiliary verb which can stay in first form because the auxiliary verb already expresses the past tense. The negative of Simple Past is formed as follows:

S + did + not + bare infinitive + O

Remember to use the short version in everyday language by combing ‘did’ and ‘not’ to ‘didn’t’ and the long version ‘did not’ in a formal written context.

Examples:

I didn’t want to hang out with them last night.
She didn’t finish her paper until the deadline.
We didn’t go to the beach yesterday.

Yes/No questions in Simple Past

In the English language, questions are usually formed by switching the (first) auxiliary verb and the subject. To form questions the auxiliary verb ‘to do’ in past tense ‘did’ is used. Similarly to Simple Past Negative, the action verb stays in first form. For example:

I really liked the supper last night. → Did you like the supper last night?

They went to the nearest coffee shop. → Did they go to the nearest coffee shop?

My friend didn’t come with me to the handball game. → Did your friend come with you to the handball game?

Open-ended questions in Simple Past

To form open-ended questions, simply put the question word to the beginning of the sentence. The word order folowing the question word remains tha same as in case of yes/no questions. For example:

What did you have for supper last night?

Where did they go?

Why didn’t you friend come with you?

Typical adverbs of Simple Past

Yesterday, last night / week / year, at (2) o’clock, at (5) pm, once / twice…, … days / hours / weeks / years ago, for … hours, for a long time, a long time ago, ages ago

For example:
Yesterday I woke up at 7 am. I got out of bed and made myself a cup of coffee. I took a shower before starting to work. I worked for 3 hours and then met my friend for coffee at 11 o’clock. I invited her to come to my dinner party when she told me she didn’t have any plans for the evening. We had a great time last night.

Expressing habits in the past with ‘used to’ and ‘would’

There are two expressions used for expressing repeated actions in the past that are not tenses. In some special cases, these expressions describe the intention of the speaker more clearly than any of the past tenses. These expressions are ‘used to’ and ‘would’.

Let’s take a look at ‘used to’ first:

‘Used to’ expressed a repeated event, a habit or a state of something in the past. It describes an event or state that happened in the past but have already finished. It is frequently used for describing general past states, not specific events. Whereas Past Simple refers to a specific event with a given point in time, ‘used to’ refers to actions that regularly happened in the past.

The structure of the expression follows the same logic as the structure of Simple Past. In an affirmative sentence, ‘used to’ is followed by the bare infinitive of the action verb. In negative sentences and questions, the auxiliary verb ‘did’ helps to form the structure. As ‘did’ already expresses past tense, the -d at the end of ‘used to’ must be dropped.

Affirmative structure of ‘used to’: S + ‘used to’ + bare infinitive

Negative structure of ‘used to’: S + ‘didn’t use to’ + bare infinitive

Making questions with ‘used to’: Did + S + ‘use to’ + bare infinitive ?

For example:

I used to smoke, but I quit last week.
She used to be my best friend, but she got mad at me when I forgot about her birthday.
There used to be a lot more parks in this city.
Did you use to listen to this band in your teens?
I didn’t use to go on field trips with the class.

Expressing regular event and action in the past using ‘would’

‘Would’ is used for expressing regular actions in the past or typical event for a time period in the past. The main difference between ‘would’ and ‘used to’ is that you cannot use ‘would’ for describing states. Use ‘would’ for talking about actions and things that people can do.  For example,

My grandma would be a teacher when he was younger.
My grandma used to be a teacher when he was younger.

She would complain about the kids all the time.
She used to complain about the kids all the time.

The structure of expressing regular past events with ‘would’ is the same as if you were using ‘would’ as a modal verb:

Affirmative: S + ‘would’ + bare infinitive

Negative: S + ‘wouldn’t / would not’ + bare infinitive

Questions: Would + S + bare infinitive ?

Present Perfect Progressive Tense

When to use Present Perfect Progressive

  • Temporary habits or situations
    I’ve been dating this girl from school lately.
    My brother has been reading a lot of comics recently.
  • Ongoing things
    Actions that started in the past and are still happening today.
    They’ve been living since I was born.
    She’s been waiting for him to pop the question forever.
  • Actions in the very recent past with results
    It’s been raining, so I got soaking wet.
    Bob has been working out, so he’s very hungry.

Structure of Present Perfect Progressive Tense

Subject + conjugated form of ‘to have’ + been + Progressive Participle of Main Verb + Object

Present Perfect Progressive combines the perfect and the progressive aspect. To express the perfect aspect, we need the auxiliary verb ‘to have’ and to express progression, we need the auxiliary verb ‘to be’. The auxiliary verb of perfect tenses is ‘to have’ which needs to be used in present tense. Make sure to conjugate ‘to have’ to agree with the subject. ‘To have’ is always followed by the Past Participle of the main verb. Therefore, we need to use the past participle of ‘to be’ which is ‘been’. ‘Been’ is followed by the progressive participle (-ing form) of the actual action verb as in case of all progressive tenses.

Some examples for the structure:
My dog has been acting weird for the last couple of days.
I’ve been feeling sick from rice lately.
My mom has been working all afternoon.

Take a look at the following table to review how Present Perfect Progressive is formed:

Making the Present Perfect Progressive Tense negative

To create the negative form of a Present Perfect verb, you need to combine ‘not’ and the auxiliary verb ‘to have’. The short form are ‘hasn’t’ and ‘haven’t’. Remember to use the short forms in informal conversations and the long forms in a written, formal context.

Subject + has / have + not + been + Progresisve Participle

Examples:
He hasn’t been doing his homework.
I haven’t been working on this project with the rest of the team.
They haven’t been talking to each other lately.

Yes/no questions in Present Perfect Progressive

Questions in Present Perfect are formed by switching the auxiliary verb ‘to have’ and the subject. For example:
Have you been working out?
Haven’t you been working on the same project?
Have you been dating anyone lately?

Open-ended questions in Present Perfect Progressive

In case of open-ended questions, always start with the questions word. After the questions word, follow the usual word order for questions: auxiliary verb – subject – main verb – object -etc. The auxiliary verb here is have which follows the questions word.

How long have you been seeing her?
Who have you been dating recently?
What have you been doing all day?

Typical adverbs of Present Perfect Progressive Tense

The typical adverbs of the Present Perfect Progressive Tense are mostly the same with the typical adverbs of the Present Perfect Tense. However, the focus is always on the continuity of the action at a given moment. These adverbs are:

Already, yet, since …., for … years/days/hours, this morning/afternoon/evening, today, recently, lately, just, ever, never, so far, in the last few years/minutes/weeks

Some examples:
She’s been working to the same company for years.
I’ve been feeling so much better lately.
It has been raining all day.
The goalkeeper has been performing better than expected so far.
Haven’t you been actively looking for a new job since that incident?

!! Remember that some verbs cannot be used in progressive tenses. To review these verbs, click here.

Present Perfect Tense

When to use Present Perfect

  • Experiences
    Experiences that happened in the past, are still ‘with you’ today and may happen again in the future.
    I’ve been to Asia 3 times now.
    She’s been to Georgia many times.

    My friend broke his arm twice during basketball games. à hopefully it won’t happen again
  • Ongoing things
    Actions that started in the past and are still happening today.
    They’ve lived since I was born.
    She’s been waiting for him to pop the question forever.
  • Expectations
    Asking someone or stating if you have already done something.
    Have you picked up the kids from school?
    I haven’t done my homework, yet.
    Have you ever seen Game of Thrones?
  • Very recent past
    I’ve almost got hit by a car this morning.
    The housekeeper has just finished cleaning the bathroom.
    Have you just finished work?
  • Emphasis is on the present consequence/result of an event that happened in the past
    Someone has stolen my cell phone!
    She’s learnt to sing from the best teacher.
    I’ve broken my leg during skiing.

Structure of Present Perfect Tense

Subject + conjugated form of ‘to have’ + Past Participle of Main Verb + Object

The auxiliary verb of perfect tenses is ‘to have’ which needs to be used in the first form in present tense. Make sure to conjugate ‘to have’ to agree with the subject. ‘To have’ is always followed by the Past Participle or the main verb. Note that there are many verbs that have irregular past participle forms. Make sure to learn the most common ones from our list!

Some examples for the structure:
My dog has eaten my homework.
I’ve lost my keys on my way home.
My family has lived here since I was born.

Take a look at the following table to review how Present Perfect is formed:

Making the Simple Present Tense negative

To create the negative form of a Present Perfect verb, you need to combine ‘not’ and the auxiliary verb ‘to have’. The short form are ‘hasn’t’ and ‘haven’t’. Remember to use the short forms in informal conversations and the long forms in a written, formal context.

Subject + has / have + not + Past Participle of Main Verb

Examples:
He hasn’t been to the theater before.
I still haven’t read anything from the summer readings list.
None of my plants have survived.

Note that there are many verbs that have irregular Simple Past and Past Participle forms. Make sure to learn the most common ones from our list!

Yes/No questions in Present Perfect

Yes/no questions in Present Perfect are formed by switching the auxiliary verb ‘to have’ and the subject. For example:
Have you been to Mallorca, yet?
Has your family lived on a farm for a long time?
Haven’t you paid the electricity bills already?

Open-ended quiestions in Present Perfect

In case of open-ended questions, always start with the questions word. After the questions word, follow the usual word order for questions: auxiliary verb – subject – main verb – object -etc. The auxiliary verb in Present Perfect is have which is then followed by the subject and the past participle of the main verb. For example,

What have you eaten for breakfast today?
Who have you just talked to on the phone?
When have you started watching this new show?

Typical adverbs of Present Perfect Tense

Already, yet, since …., for … years/days/hours, this morning/afternoon/evening, today, recently, lately, just, ever, never, so far, in the last few years/minutes/weeks

Some examples:
I have already been to the doctor.
I haven’t been to the doctor, yet.
I’ve been to the doctor this morning.
I’ve had the same doctor for 10 years.
I’ve recently found a new doctor.s
I’ve just found a new doctor.
I have never met such a great doctor before!
Have you ever met a doctor who cures cancer?
I haven’t found a good knee specialist so far.
I have met many doctors from India in the last few years.

Present Progressive Tense

When to use Present Progressive Tense

Progressive tenses generally refer to only a given moment in time, not a whole period. Whereas Simple tenses usually cover a longer period, expressing repeated events and regularity. In case of progressive tenses, the speaker doesn’t want to express regularity or general facts. The focus is on the action that takes place at that given moment.

These actions are usually unfinished and incomplete. For example, expressing that someone is in the progress of preparing for an exam is done by using the Present Progressive Tense.
She is studying for an exam.

However, when she finished all preparations, knows the material and is ready to take the exam, you will have to use the Present Perfect Tense.
She has studied for an exam.

  • Ongoing actions at a given moment
    Dad’s watching a soccer game in the living room.
    She’s dancing like crazy to this song.
  • Ongoing actions during a given period
    Are you still working out so much?
    I’m traveling in Asia till the summer.
  • For future plans
    She is arriving on Monday from Bali.
    We are joining the advanced group next semester.
  • To express annoyance of a repeated action
    My boyfriend is constantly playing with video games.
    My parents are always arguing with me.

!! Note that some verbs cannot be used in progressive tenses. To review these, check out our overview post about progressive tenses.

Review how Present Progressive compares to other tenses with the help of the following table:

present progressive

Structure of Present Progressive Tense

Subject + conjugated form of ‘to be’ + Progressive Participle of Main Verb + Object

The Present Progressive Tense uses a compound verb that consists of the conjugated form of ‘to be’ and the progressive participle of the main verb. Note that ‘to be’ is the auxiliary verb in this tense that needs to be in correct form to agree with the subject. The action verb gets an -ing ending the following way:

  • If the verb ends in an ‘e’, drop the ‘e’ and add the -ing
    E.g. live → living
    have → having
    give → giving
  • If the one-syllable verb ends in a consonant + vowel + consonant, double the last letter and add -ing. However, there is no need to double the last letter if the verb ends in ‘w’, ‘x’ or ‘y’ because the emphasis is not on the final consonant.
    E.g. get → getting
    step → stepping
    knit → knitting
  • If the verb ends in ‘ie’, change the ending to ‘ying’.
    E.g. lie → lying
    die → dying
  • If the verb ends in a vowel + ‘r’ and the stress in on the last vowel, the ‘r’ is usually doubled.
    E.g. refer → referring
    prefer → preferring

 

Making the Present Progressive Tense negative

In the English language, negative forms of verbs are usually formed by an auxiliary verb and ‘not’. For example: She may not go out tonight. In the Present Progressive Tense, the verb ‘to be’ serves as an auxiliary verb, therefore, ‘not’ is added to ‘to be’. The negative of Present Progressive Tense is formed as follows:

Subject + conjugated form of ‘to be’ + not + Progressive Participle of Main Verb

‘To be’ and ‘not’ can be combined in informal language to a short form the following way:
is not → isn’t
are not → aren’t

Notice that there is no short negative form of ‘I am’. The correct form is ‘I’m not’. Remember to use the short form only in an informal environment. In a formal written context, always use the full form.

Examples:
We aren’t making fun of you.
She isn’t joining us at the party.
I’m not dating anyone at the moment.

Yes/No questions in Present Progressive Tense

In the English language, questions are usually formed by switching the (first) auxiliary verb and the subject. For example:

She can speak English. → Can she speak English?

In Present Progressive Tense, the conjugated form of ‘to be’ is switched with the subject to form a question, followed by the -ing form of the verb.  For example:

I’m coming to the movies. → Are you coming to the movies?
Dad isn’t driving me to school this morning. → Isn’t dad driving you to school this morning?

Open-ended questions in Present Progressive Tense

In case of open-ended questions, always start with the questions word. After the questions word, follow the usual word order for questions: auxiliary verb – subject – main verb – object -etc. The auxiliary verb in Present Progressive is am/is/are, followed by the subject and the progressive participle (-ing form) of the action verb. For example,

Kate’s having an avocado toast for breakfast today. → What is she having for breakfast today?
Mom is cooking goulash for lunch. –> What is mom cooking for lunch? Who is cooking goulash for lunch? What is mom cooking goulash for?

Typical adverbs of Present Progressive Tense

today, at present, at the moment, still, now, right now, this morning / this evening etc., nowadays, these days

Some examples:

I’m having pizza for lunch today.
I’m craving pizza at the moment.
I’m still thinking about that pizza we had last night.
I’m going to this new pizzeria now.
I’m meeting my friends for pizza this evening.
I’m not eating much pizza these days.