How to choose your English tenses
Using the correct tense and verb form is important in
English grammar. Here's a simple rule to help you choose which tense to
Routine or permanent
- use the simple form. For example, "I in London" tells you that "live" is true all the time -
London is my home.
"I in the countryside when
I was a child" - this was a long-term situation in the past.
- use the continuous form. For example, " as a secretary at the moment" - the job isn't permanent
and maybe I'm doing it for a while until I get another job.
"House prices " - they
are continuing to rise and haven't stopped rising yet.
"She a black dress" -
she put it on before I saw her and she still wore it after I saw her -
wearing the dress continued over a period of time.
- use the perfect form to show that one event was completed before
another, or to show that one situation continues from one time to
For example, "I here
for two years" - I started to live here two years ago and I still live
"I the report
before next week" - some time before next week, but I don't know exactly
"He law before he met
her" - he studied law before he met her, but we don't know when.
Present tenses in English