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Intermediate English Grammar

 

This grammar reference section provides a quick review of the basic tenses used in English.

Importance of the Auxiliary Verb

In English, tenses are formed by conjugating an auxiliary verb plus a standard form of the principle verb (the base form, the gerund form, or the past participle form). It is import to focus on the variations in the auxiliary verb to properly use English tenses.

Symbols Used:

S (subject)
Aux (auxiliary verb)
O (objects)
? (question word, i.e., who, what when, etc.)


Construction:

In general, using the following patterns to construct sentences in active sentences.

Positive: S + Verb + O
Negative:S + Aux + Verb + O
Question:(?)+ Aux + S + Verb + (O)

Present Simple

Use the present simple to express regular routines and habits. The present simple is often used with adverbs of frequency.

Auxiliary: DO

Examples:

He often arrives late for work.
When do you do your homework?
They don't take the bus to work.

Present Continuous

Use the present continuous when something is happening at or around the present moment in time. The present continuous is often used with 'now, at the moment, currently, today'.

Auxiliary: BE

Examples:

Jack is working on the report at the moment.
What are you doing?
Go ahead and take it. She isn't reading that book currently.

Present Perfect

Use the present perfect for:


Something which has happened up to the present moment
Something which has happened at an unspecified point of time in the past
Something which has recently happened

Auxiliary: HAVE

Examples:

They haven't done their work yet.
He's worked at this company since 1978.
Have you every been to Rome?

Present Perfect Continuous

Use the present perfect continuous to express the duration of an activity that begins in the past and continues up to the present moment. In many cases BOTH the present perfect and present perfect continuous can be used.

Auxiliary: HAVE BEEN

Examples:

We've been driving for three hours.
How long have you been sitting at that table?
They haven't been working here long.

 

Past Tenses

This grammar reference section provides a quick review of the basic tenses used in English.

Importance of the Auxiliary Verb

In English, tenses are formed by conjugating an auxiliary verb plus a standard form of the principle verb (the base form, the gerund form, or the past participle form). It is import to focus on the variations in the auxiliary verb to properly use English tenses.

Symbols Used:

S (subject)
Aux (auxiliary verb)
O (objects)
? (question word, i.e., who, what when, etc.)


Construction:

In general, using the following patterns to construct sentences in active sentences.

Positive: S + Verb + O
Negative:S + Aux + Verb + O
Question:(?)+ Aux + S + Verb + (O)


Past Simple

Use the past simple when an action is done at a SPECIFIED point in time in the past.

Auxiliary: DID

Examples:

She moved to New York last month.
They didn't want to buy a new television last week.
Where did you go on vacation last year?

Past Continuous

Use the past continuous for something that is happening at a precise moment in the past. This form is often used to express an interrupted action in progress.

Auxiliary: WAS / WERE

Examples:

I was working on the project when you telephoned.
What were you doing when she arrived?
They weren't watching the film when you arrived.

Past Perfect

Use the past perfect for an action that finishes before another action in the past. We often use the past perfect when is giving reasons for a decision made in the past.

Auxiliary: HAD

Examples:

They had invested their money wisely before they bought the new house.
She hadn't finished speaking when he rudely interrupted her.
Had you checked all your accounts before you made the withdrawal?

Past Perfect Continuous

Use the past perfect continuous to express the duration of another activity up to another point in time in the past. This form is often used to stress impatience or importance of the length of time of the previous activity.

Auxiliary: HAD BEEN

Examples:

We had been waiting for two hours when Jack finally arrived.
They hadn't been working long when he telephoned.
Had she been telephoning a long time before you arrived?

Info about studying in English countries:

  • Guide to Study in the USA: Find universities and colleges in the United States. If offers also pratical information for students that are planning to study in the United States.
  • Guide to Study in the United Kingdom: Find universities and colleges in the United Kingdom. If offers also pratical information for students that are planning to study in the United Kingdom.
  • Guide to Study in Ireland: Find universities and colleges in Ireland. If offers also pratical information for students that are planning to study in Ireland.