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Table of English Tenses

tense Affirmative/Negative/Question Use Signal Words
Simple Present A: He speaks.
N: He does not speak.
Q: Does he speak?
  • action in the present taking place once, never or several times
  • facts
  • actions taking place one after another
  • action set by a timetable or schedule
always, every …, never, normally, often, seldom, sometimes, usually
if sentences type I (If I talk, …)
Present Progressive A: He is speaking.
N: He is not speaking.
Q: Is he speaking?
  • action taking place in the moment of speaking
  • action taking place only for a limited period of time
  • action arranged for the future
at the moment, just, just now, Listen!, Look!, now, right now
Simple Past A: He spoke.
N: He did not speak.
Q: Did he speak?
  • action in the past taking place once, never or several times
  • actions taking place one after another
  • action taking place in the middle of another action
yesterday, 2 minutes ago, in 1990, the other day, last Friday
if sentence type II (If I talked, …)
Past Progressive A: He was speaking.
N: He was not speaking.
Q: Was he speaking?
  • action going on at a certain time in the past
  • actions taking place at the same time
  • action in the past that is interrupted by another action
when, while, as long as
Present Perfect Simple A: He has spoken.
N: He has not spoken.
Q: Has he spoken?
  • putting emphasis on the result
  • action that is still going on
  • action that stopped recently
  • finished action that has an influence on the present
  • action that has taken place once, never or several times before the moment of speaking
already, ever, just, never, not yet, so far, till now, up to now
Present Perfect Progressive A: He has been speaking.
N: He has not been speaking.
Q: Has he been speaking?
  • putting emphasis on the course or duration (not the result)
  • action that recently stopped or is still going on
  • finished action that influenced the present
all day, for 4 years, since 1993, how long?, the whole week
Past Perfect Simple A: He had spoken.
N: He had not spoken.
Q: Had he spoken?
  • action taking place before a certain time in the past
  • sometimes interchangeable with past perfect progressive
  • putting emphasis only on the fact (not the duration)
already, just, never, not yet, once, until that day
if sentence type III (If I had talked, …)
Past Perfect Progressive A: He had been speaking.
N: He had not been speaking.
Q: Had he been speaking?
  • action taking place before a certain time in the past
  • sometimes interchangeable with past perfect simple
  • putting emphasis on the duration or course of an action
for, since, the whole day, all day
Future I Simple A: He will speak.
N: He will not speak.
Q: Will he speak?
  • action in the future that cannot be influenced
  • spontaneous decision
  • assumption with regard to the future
in a year, next …, tomorrow
If-Satz Typ I (If you ask her, she will help you.)
assumption: I think, probably, perhaps
Future I Simple

(going to)

A: He is going to speak.
N: He is not going to speak.
Q: Is he going to speak?
  • decision made for the future
  • conclusion with regard to the future
in one year, next week, tomorrow
Future I Progressive A: He will be speaking.
N: He will not be speaking.
Q: Will he be speaking?
  • action that is going on at a certain time in the future
  • action that is sure to happen in the near future
in one year, next week, tomorrow
Future II Simple A: He will have spoken.
N: He will not have spoken.
Q: Will he have spoken?
  • action that will be finished at a certain time in the future
by Monday, in a week
Future II Progressive A: He will have been speaking.
N: He will not have been speaking.
Q: Will he have been speaking?
  • action taking place before a certain time in the future
  • putting emphasis on the course of an action
for …, the last couple of hours, all day long
Conditional I Simple A: He would speak.
N: He would not speak.
Q: Would he speak?
  • action that might take place
if sentences type II
(If I were you, I would go home.)
Conditional I Progressive A: He would be speaking.
N: He would not be speaking.
Q: Would he be speaking?
  • action that might take place
  • putting emphasis on the course / duration of the action
 
Conditional II Simple A: He would have spoken.
N: He would not have spoken.
Q: Would he have spoken?
  • action that might have taken place in the past
if sentences type III
(If I had seen that, I would have helped.)
Conditional II Progressive A: He would have been speaking.
N: He would not have been speaking.
Q: Would he have been speaking?
  • action that might have taken place in the past
  • puts emphasis on the course / duration of the action
 

Changed: 10th Dec 2010 19:35

URL: http://www.ego4u.com/en/cram-up/grammar/tenses