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Tense Use

 Always consider which of the following tense you should use:

Present simple:

  • things that are always true (the sky is blue)
    • general statements of fact (I was born in 1982)
    • habits (I go to sleep every night at 11 pm)

Present continuous:

  • an action at the moment of speaking
    • something in progress this week, month or year
    • to talk about a future planned event

Present Perfect:

  • an action that took place at an indefinite time in the past
    • an action that was repeated before now
    • an action that began in the past and continues until now

Present Perfect Continuous:

  • to show the duration of something that happened in the past and continues until now
    • a general activity in progress recently

Past Simple

  • an action that began in the past and finished in the past
  • Past Continuous
    • talk about an action that was happening in the past when another occurred
    • an action that was in progress at a specific time in the past

Past Perfect

  • talk about something that was completed before another activity or another time in the past

Past Perfect Continuous

  • talk about duration of activity that was in progress before another event in the past
    • an activity in progress that is recent to another time or activity in the past

Future Simple

  • to predict or plan for the future
    • to express a willingness to do something

Future Continuous

  • an action that will be in progress at a time in the future

Future Perfect

  • an action that will be completed before another time or event in the future

Future Perfect Continuous

  • the duration of an action that will be in progress before another time or event in the future

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