English verb tenses

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  • Present simple

    Present simple

    This is the tense which you use to refer to events, actions and conditions which are happening all the time, or exist now. The sentences 'I live in Madrid', 'She doesn't like cheese' and 'I think you're wrong' are all in the present simple.

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  • Present Continuous

    Present Continuous

    This is the tense which you use to refer to actions or events that are happening now or developing. The sentences 'The children are watching television' and 'The weather is getting colder' are in the present continuous.

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  • Past Simple

    Past Simple

    This is the form of a verb used to describe an action which happened before the present time and is no longer happening. It is usually made by adding -ed. The past simple of 'cook' is 'cooked'.

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  • Past Continuous

    Past Continuous

    This is the grammatical tense used to describe an action which someone was doing or an event which was happening at a particular time. It is made with 'was' or 'were' and the -ing form of a verb. 'I was cooking' is an example of the past continuous.

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  • Present Perfect Tenses

    Present Perfect Tenses

    This is the tense which you use to refer to actions or events which have been completed or which have happened in a period of time up to now. The sentences 'She has broken her leg' and 'I have never been to Australia' are all in the present perfect.

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  • Past Perfect Tenses

    Past Perfect Tenses

    This is the grammatical tense used to describe an action that had already finished when another action happened. It is made with 'had' and a past participle. 'I had just cooked' is an example of the past perfect, and 'I had just been cooking' is an example of the past perfect continuous.

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  • Future Forms

    Future Forms

    This grammar section provides a quick review of the basic tenses used in English to speak about a future moment in time and events or states which have happened up to a future moment in time.

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