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Grammar Books

It's all about time. Things can happen now, in the future or in the past.

The tenses simply show the time of an action or state of being as shown by a verb.

The verb ending is changed (conjugated) to show what time it is referring to.

Time can be split into three periods The Present (what you are doing), The Past (what you did) and The Future (what you are going to do, or hope / plan to do ).

The tenses we use to show what time we are talking about are split into the Simple, Continuous and Perfect tenses.

In English we use two tenses to talk about the present and six tenses to talk about the past. There are several ways to talk about the future some of which use the present tenses, these are:

Present Simple Present
Present Continuous
Past Simple Past
Past Continuous
Present Perfect Simple
Present Perfect Continuous
Past Perfect Simple
Past Perfect Continuous
Future Using the Simple Present
Using the Present Continuous
Using the Present Perfect Simple
Using the Present Perfect Continuous
Using going to
Using shall/will

Simple Tenses

The simple tenses are used to show permanent characteristics of people and events or what happens regularly, habitually or in a single completed action.

Continuous Tenses

The continuous tenses are used when talking about a particular point in time.

Perfect Tenses

Sometimes you need to give just a little bit more information about an action or state...and that is where the perfect tenses come in.

The perfect tenses are used when an action or situation in the present is linked to a moment in the past. It is often used to show things that have happened up to now but aren't finished yet or to emphasize that something happened but is not true anymore. When they end determines which of them you use.

Perfect tenses are never used when we say when something happened i.e. yesterday, last year etc. but can be used when discussing the duration of something i.e. often, for, always, since etc..

The Future Tenses

Discussing the future in English can seem complicated.The present simple, present continuous, present perfect simple and the present perfect continuous can all be used and often it is possible to use more than one structure, but have the same meaning.

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