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Tenses Drill

Tenses are pretty much guaranteed to be tested on the SAT®, EST®, and ACT®. It’s certainly not possible to study for the SAT®/EST®/ACT®/GMAT® without understanding the difference between the different tenses and how to use them.

Tenses Drill


Remember!

Tense

Signal words

Use

Form

Examples affirmative

Examples negative

Examples interrogative

 

every day

 

 

 

  • something happens repeatedly
  • how often something happens
  • one action follows another
  • things in general
  • with verbs like (to love, to hate, to think, etc.)
  • future meaning: timetables, programmes

 

 

 

 

 

sometimes

 

 

 

 

 

always

 

I work.

I don't work.

Do I work?

 

Simple Present

often

 

usually

infinitive

 

he/she/it:

infinitive + s

He works.

 

I go.

He doesn't work.

 

I don't go.

Does he work?

 

Do I go?

 

seldom

 

He goes.

He doesn't go.

Does he go?

 

never

 

 

 

 

 

first ... then

 

 

 

 

 

now

  • something is happening at the same time of speaking or around it
  • future meaning: when you have already decided and arranged to do it (a fixed plan, date)

 

I'm working.

I'm not working.

Am I working?

 

Present Progressive

at the moment

 

Look!

 

be (am/are/is) +

infinitive + ing

He's working.

 

I'm going.

He isn't working.

 

I'm not going.

Is he working?

 

Am I going?

 

Listen!

 

He's going.

He isn't going.

Is he going?

 

 

Simple Past

last ...

 

... ago in 1990

yesterday

 

 

action took place in the past, mostly connected with an expression of time (no connection to the present)

 

regular:

infinitive + ed

 

irregular:

(2nd column of table of irregular verbs)

I worked. He worked. I went.

He went.

I didn't work. He didn't work. I didn't go.

He didn't go.

Did I work? Did he work? Did I go?

Did he go?

 

 

 

  • an action happened in the middle of another action
  • someone was doing sth. at a certain time (in the past) - you don't know whether it was finished or not

 

I was working.

I wasn't working.

Was I working?

 

Past Progressive

 

while

 

was/were +

infinitive + ing

He was working.

 

I was going.

He wasn't working.

 

I wasn't going.

Was he working?

 

Was I going?

 

 

 

He was going.

He wasn't going.

Was he going?

 

just

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • you say that sth. has happened or is finished in the past and it has a connection to the present
  • action started in the past and continues up to the present

 

 

 

 

 

yet

 

 

 

 

 

never

 

 

 

 

 

 

Simple Present Perfect

ever already so far,

up to now,

 

have/has + past participle*

 

*(infinitive + ed) or (3rd column of table of irregular verbs)

I have worked. He has worked. I have gone.

He has gone.

I haven't worked. He hasn’t worked. I haven't gone.

He hasn’t gone.

Have I worked? Has he worked? Have I gone?

Has he gone?

 

since

 

 

 

 

 

for

 

 

 

 

 

recently

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Present Perfect Progressive

 

all day

the whole day how long

 

  • action began in the past and has just stopped
  • how long the action has been happening

 

 

 

 

have/has + been +

infinitive + ing

I have been working.

 

He has been working.

I haven't been working.

 

He hasn't been working.

Have I been working?

 

Has he been working?

 

since for

emphasis: length of time of an action

 

I have been going.

 

He has been going.

I haven't been going.

 

He hasn't been going.

Have I been going?

 

Has he been going?

 

 

 

 

Simple Past Perfect

 

already just never

  • mostly when two actions in a story are related to each other: the action which had already happened is put into Past Perfect, the other action into Simple Past
  • the past of the Present Perfect

 

had + past participle*

 

*(infinitive + ed) or (3rd column of table of irregular verbs)

I had worked. He had worked. I had gone.

He had gone.

I hadn't worked. He hadn't worked. I hadn't gone.

He hadn't gone.

Had I worked? Had he worked? Had I gone?

Had he gone?

 

 

 

 

 

how long something had been happening before something else happened

 

I had been working.

I hadn't been working.

Had I been working?

 

Past Perfect Progressive

how long since

for

 

had + been +

infinitive + ing

He had been working.

 

I had been going.

He hadn't been working.

 

I hadn't been going.

Had he been working?

 

Had I been going?

 

 

 

 

He had been going.

He hadn't been going.

Had he been going?

 

 

  • predictions about the future (you think that sth will happen)
  • you decide to do sth. spontaneously at the time of speaking
  • main clause in type I of the Conditional sentences

 

 

I'll work.

 

I won't work.

 

Will I work?

 

 

He'll work.

He won't work.

Will he work?

will - future

will + infinitive

 

 

 

 

 

I'll go.

I won't go.

Will I go?

 

 

He'll go.

He won't go.

Will he go?

 

 

 

 

  • when you have already decided to do sth. in the future
  • what you think what will happen

 

I'm going to

work.

I'm not going to

work.

Am I going to

work?

 

going to - future

 

be (am/are/is) +

going to + infinitive

He's going to

work.

He's not going to

work.

Is he going to

work?

 

 

I'm going to go.

I'm not going to go.

Am I going to go?

 

 

He's going to go.

He's not going to go.

Is he going to go?

 

 

 

  • An action will be in progress at a certain time in the future. This action has begun before the certain time.
  • Something happens because it normally happens.

 

I'll be working.

I won't be working.

Will I be working?

 

Future Progressive

 

will + be + infinitive

+ ing

He'll be working.

 

I'll be going.

He won't be working.

 

I won't be going.

Will he be working?

 

Will I be going?

 

 

He'll be going.

He won't be going.

Will he be going?

 

 

 

 

I'll have worked.

I won't have worked.

Will I have worked?

 

Future Perfect Simple

 

 

sth. will already have happened before a certain time in the future

will + have + past participle*

 

*(infinitive + ed) or (3rd column of table of irregular verbs)

 

He'll have worked.

 

I'll have gone.

 

He won't have worked.

 

I won't have gone.

 

Will he have worked?

 

Will I have gone?

 

 

 

He'll have gone.

He won't have gone.

Will he have gone?

 

 

 

 

I'll have been working.

I won't have been working.

Will I have been working?

 

Future Perfect Progressive

sth. will already have happened before a certain time in the future

 

emphasis: length of time of an action

 

 

will + have + been +

infinitive + ing

He'll have been working.

 

I'll have been going.

He won't have been working.

 

I won't have been going.

Will he have been working?

 

Will I have been going?

 

 

 

He'll have been going.

He won't have been going.

Will he have been going?

 

 

 

  • sth. that might happen
  • main clause in type II of the Conditional sentences

 

I would work.

I wouldn't work.

Would I work?

 

Conditional Simple

 

would + infinitive

He would work.

 

I would go.

He wouldn't work.

 

I wouldn't go.

Would he work?

 

Would I go?

 

 

He would go.

He wouldn't go.

Would he go?

 

 

 

 

 

I would be working.

I wouldn't be working.

Would I be working?

 

Conditional Progressive

sth. that might happen

 

emphasis: length of time of an action

 

would + be +

infinitive + ing

He would be working.

 

I would be going.

He wouldn't be working.

 

I wouldn't be going.

Would he be working?

 

Would I be going?

 

 

 

He would be going.

He wouldn't be going.

Would he be going?

 

 

 

 

 

  • sth. that might have happened in the past
  • main clause in type III of the Conditional sentences

 

I would have worked.

I wouldn't have worked.

Would I have worked?

 

 

Conditional Perfect

would + have + past participle*

 

*(infinitive + ed) or (3rd column of table of irregular verbs)

He would have worked.

 

I would have gone.

He wouldn't have worked.

 

I wouldn't have gone.

Would he have worked?

 

Would I have gone?

 

 

He would have gone.

He wouldn't have gone.

Would he have gone?

 

 

 

 

I would have been working.

I wouldn't have been working.

Would I have been working?

 

Conditional Perfect Progressive

sth. that might have happened in the past

 

emphasis: length of time of an action

 

 

would + have + been

+ infinitive + ing

He would have been working.

 

I would have been going.

He wouldn't have been working.

 

I wouldn't have been going.

Would he

have been working?

 

Would I have been going?

 

 

 

He would have been going.

He wouldn't have been going.

Would he

have been going?

 

We sometimes use Continuous instead of Progressive. Some signal words can be found in more tenses. We did not list signal words in the future. Always remember what action is described.

Used colours:

blue infinitive                                          grey irregular verbs in the Simple Past                                                                       red negation

dark green auxiliary                                purple past participle

orange ending                                          light green signal word

Tenses Drill


author-img
Mr. ‏El-Sayed Ramadan ‎ ‎

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