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English Self Helps

International K-12th grade school and language center.

English Tenses

Forms, Mains uses, and Signal words







Simple Past

Affirmative: Subject + verb in the past

          e.g. She ate fish yesterday.

Negative: Subject+ did not + verb (infinitive)

          e.g. They did not come to school last week.

Interrogative(?): Did + subject + verb (infinitive)

          e.g. Did he understand the grammar lesson?

Simple Present

Affirmative: Subject + verb (s/es/ies)

          e.g. I drink Coffee every morning.

Negative: Subject+ do not/does not + verb (infinitive)

          e.g. She does not like watching football.

Interrogative(?): Do/Does + subject + verb (infinitive)

          e.g. Do you like drama movies?

Simple Future

Affirmative: Subject +will+ verb

          e.g. I will visit Japan next year.

Negative: Subject+ will not/won’t + verb (infinitive)

          e.g. He will not come to school tomorrow.

Interrogative(?): Will + subject + verb (infinitive)

          e.g. Will visit us next summer?


To talk about past events.

Describing an action or an event in the past.

General fact, repeated actions (routine),

For timetables (school, restaurant, club …)

Warnings …

To express future planning, ideas, decisions …

To talk about future events, predictions, expectations 

To make a request or an offer.


last night, yesterday,

last month, last year, a year ago …

usually, always,

every, often


Next week, month, year

Later, soon …



Past Continuous

Affirmative: Subject + was/were + verb + ing

          e.g. She was playing football yesterday.

Negative: Subject + was not/were not + verb + ing

          e.g.  He was not studying last week.

Interrogative(?): Was/Were + subject + verb + ing

          e.g. were you drawing during the lecture?

Present Continuous

Affirmative: Subject+ am/is/are + verb + ing

          e.g. I am studying now.

Negative: Subject + am not/is not/are not + verb + ing

          e.g. He is working at this moment.

Interrogative(?): Am/Is/Are + subject + verb + ing

          e.g. Are you talking to somebody now.

Future Continuous

Affirmative: Subject + will + be + verb + ing

          e.g. By Christmas I will be skiing like a pro.

Negative: Subject + will/won’t + be + verb + ing

          e.g. She will be eating with Jane this evening.

Interrogative(?): Will + subject + be + verb + ing

          e.g. Will we be studying this summer?


The action started at a specific time and finished in the past.

Action interrupted in the past.

Action in progress no

Near Future plan, intentions …

Actions that will happen at a specific time in the future

Talking about future predictions, expectations …


Last night, yesterday, last month,

Last year, a year ago …

Right now, at this moment …

Currently, at present time, now …

This time next week/next month/ next year …

At this moment in the future, by this time next year …



Past Perfect

Affirmative: Subject + had + verb in past participle

          e.g. They had finished their meals.

Negative: Subject + had not + past participle

          e.g. He had not done his homework.

Interrogative(?): Had + subject + past participle

          e.g. Had she finished cleaning her bedroom?

Present Perfect

Affirmative: Subject + have/has + verb in past participle

          e.g. He has finished readings moments ago.

Negative: Subject + have not/has not + past participle

          e.g. I have not eaten my lunch yet.

Interrogative(?): Have/Has + subject + past participle e.g. Have you got any pets?

Future Perfect

Affirmative: Subject +will+ have + verb in past participle

           e.g. I will have done my homework before you arrive.

Negative: Subject + will + have not + verb

           e.g. She will not have finished by 5 o’clock.

Interrogative(?): Will + subject + have + past participle

           e.g. Will you have finished painting your house by Sunday?


2 actions, one finished before the other.


An action happened in the recent past.

The precise time of the action is not important or not known.

When the period referred to has not finished.

Action 1 will be finished before action 2 in the future

Talking about future predictions, expectations …


After, before, already …

By the time, by …

Just, before, yet, after …

Never, since, yet, never …

By the time, by (day, time …)




Past Perfect Continuous

Affirmative: Subject + had + been + verb + ing

          e.g. I was tired because I had been working all day.

Negative: Subject + had not + been + verb + ing

          e.g. She had not been working.

Interrogative(?): Had + subject + been + verb + ing

          e.g. Had they been working?

Present Perfect Continuous

Affirmative: Subject + have/has + been + verb + ing

          e.g. He has been living in London for two years.

Negative: Subject + have not/has not + been + verb + ing

          e.g. She has not been doing anything.

Interrogative(?): Have/Has + subject + been + verb + ing

          e.g. Have they been talking to each other?

Future Perfect Continuous

Affirmative: Subject + will + have + been + verb + ing

          e.g. I will have been waiting here till you come.

Negative: Subject + will not/won’t + have + been + V + ing

          e.g. He will not have been waiting for you.

Interrogative(?): Will + Subject + have + been + verb + ing

          e.g. Will you have been waiting for me?


The action started and continued up in the past.

Showing a cause of past action

Unfinished actions which started in the past and continue to the present.

For temporary habits or situations.

Action will continue up until a particular event or time in the future.

To show cause and effect in the future


Because, after, before

Since, when …

Just, before, yet, after …

Never, since, yet, never …

By the time, by (day, time..)