Pearson Adult Learning Centre Home
Pearson Adult Learning Centre
 
          
 
  Weekly Feature (November 22, 2008)
 

 

Using Verb Tenses Correctly
Patricia's Weekly Feature

 

To write effectively you need to use verb tenses correctly. When you are discussing actions that happen every day, week or month, use the simple present tense. If you want to describe an action that started in the past but continues into the present, use the present perfect tense. There are many more verb tenses.

To become more familiar with them, read the sample sentences below. You should see a pattern in how the tenses are used. You should also notice that some of the verbs are regular which end in "ed" in the past, and others are irregular which don't.

These are all commonly used verbs, so they are helpful to know. After studying them and the links below, you should be able to use verb tenses correctly in your writing.

Using Verb Tenses

Verb Tense Tutorial

Tense of Verbs

 

Some Common Regular and Irregular Verbs in Different Verb Tenses

Simple Present: I cook vegetables every day.

Present Continuous: I am cooking pasta now.

Present Perfect: I have cooked for twenty years.

Present Perfect Continuous: I have been cooking dinners for my family for ten years.

Simple Past: I cooked yesterday.

Past Continuous: I was cooking dinner when the phone rang.

Past Perfect: I had cooked dinner by 7:00 last night.

Past Perfect Continuous: I had been cooking dinner for thirty minutes when my friend called.

Simple Future: I will cook dinner tomorrow.

Future Continuous: I will be cooking dinner tomorrow.

Future Perfect: I will have cooked dinner by 7:00 tomorrow night.

Future Perfect Continuous: I will have been cooking the roast for 2 hours by 6:00 tonight.

More examples:

(to write)

She writes every week.

She is writing a letter now.

She has written many letters this year.

She has been writing letters to her mother for the past five years.

She wrote a letter last night.

She was writing a letter when he arrived.

She had written a letter by 9:00 last night.

She had been writing a letter for fifteen minutes when the phone rang.

She will write a letter tomorrow morning.

She will be writing a letter tomorrow morning.

She will have written a letter to her mother by noon tomorrow.

She will have been writing a letter to her friend for an hour by 6:00 tonight.

(to cut)

I cut vegetables every Friday.

I am cutting vegetables now.

I have cut fruit and vegetables for the hospitalís cafeteria for many years.

I have been cutting fruit and vegetables for the cafeteria for many years.

I cut some vegetables last night.

I was cutting some fruit when you called.

I had cut the fruit by 7:00 last night.

I had been cutting a pineapple for a few minutes when my knife broke.

I will cut fruit tomorrow morning.

I will be cutting fruit tomorrow morning.

I will have cut the fruit by dinner time.

I will have been cutting fruit for 15 minutes by 5:00 tonight.

(to sleep)

She sleeps quietly every night.

She is sleeping soundly now.

She has slept poorly for many weeks.

She has been sleeping poorly for many weeks.

She slept well last night.

She was sleeping soundly when the baby started to cry.

She had slept soundly for three hours by 11:00 p.m.

She had been sleeping soundly for three hours before the alarm started to beep.

She will sleep well tonight.

She will be sleeping well tonight.

She will have slept for one hour by 11:00 tonight.

She will have been sleeping for one hour by 11:00 tonight.

(to eat)

We eat pasta every Thursday night.

We are eating chicken now.

We have eaten fish for many years.

We have been eating fish every Friday night for the last two years.

We ate meat last night.

We were eating dinner when my friend knocked on our door.

We had eaten dinner by 8:00 last night.

We had been eating dinner for a few minutes when the door bell rang.

We will eat fish next week.

We will be eating fish next week.

We will have eaten fish four times this month by Friday.

We will have been eating dinner for an hour by 8:00 tonight.

(to live)

He lives in Burnaby.

He is living in Burnaby.

He has lived in Burnaby for one year.

He has been living in Burnaby for three months.

He lived in New Westminster last year.

He was living in an apartment when his brother visited him.

He had lived in Burnaby for two years by then.

He had been living in Burnaby for two years when his friend visited him.

He will live in Surrey next year.

He will be living in Surrey next year.

He will have lived in Surrey for two full years by the end of November.

He will have been living in Surrey for two years by the end of November.

(to do)

I do my homework every night.

I am doing my homework now.

I have done my homework every night this week.

I have been doing my homework for three hours tonight.

I did my homework last night.

I was doing my homework when the phone rang.

I had done my homework by 10:00 p.m.

I had been doing my homework for two hours when the phone rang.

I will do my homework tomorrow.

I will be doing my homework tomorrow.

I will have done my homework for two hours by 8:00 tonight.

I will have been doing my homework for two hours by 8:00 tonight.

(to work)

He works every Monday.

He is working at Safeway now.

He has worked at Safeway for three years.

He has been working at Safeway for three years.

He worked last Saturday.

He was working last night when the customer complained.

He had worked at Safeway for three months before he got laid off.

He had been working at Safeway for two weeks before my friend was hired.

He will work this Saturday.

He will be working this Saturday.

He will have worked for three hours by 6:00 tonight.

He will have been working for three hours by 6:00 tonight.

(to tell)

I tell stories every weekend.

I am telling stories right now.

I have told funny stories for many years.

I have been telling funny stories for many years.

I told an interesting story last night.

I was telling a story to my son when my husband came home.

I had told my son two stories by 10:00 last night.

I had been telling my son a story when my daughter started to cry.

I will tell stories tomorrow night.

I will be telling stories tomorrow night.

I will have told my son three stories by 9:00 tonight.

I will have been telling my son the story for 30 minutes by 9:00 tonight.

(to read)

I read the newspaper every day.

I am reading a story about Afghanistan now.

I have read many books in the past three years.

I have been reading many books by Canadian writers lately.

I read a short story last night.

I was reading the newspaper when my daughter called.

I had read three poems by midnight.

I had been reading a new book when I dropped my glasses.

I will read a new book next week.

I will be reading a new book next week.

I will have read two books this week by Sunday.

I will have been reading this book for 2 hours by 10:00 tonight.

(to shop)

She shops for groceries twice a week.

She is shopping for shoes at the moment.

She has shopped for groceries at Safeway for the past ten years.

She has been shopping for clothes at Metrotown for the last three years.

She shopped at the Bay yesterday.

She was shopping for presents at Zellers last night.

She had shopped for three hours by 9:00 last night.

She had been shopping for two hours before her husband called her.

She will shop for vegetables tomorrow.

She will be shopping for fruit at Kinís tomorrow.

She will have shopped for food for two hours by 4:00 this afternoon.

She will have been shopping for presents for three hours by 7:00 tonight.

(to buy)

I buy fresh bread every morning at Cobís.

I am buying a new phone at Radio Shack.

I have bought clothes at the Bay for many years.

I have been buying groceries at Safeway for a long time.

I bought a green scarf at Zellers yesterday.

I was buying a new hat at Granville Island when my sister called me.

I had bought a new leather wallet before I lost my old one.

I had been buying a gold ring when I got the bad news.

I will buy meat, vegetables and fruit at the store this afternoon.

I will be buying fish at Granville Island tomorrow.

I will have bought all my Christmas presents by the end of November.

I will have been buying Christmas gifts for three hours by 6:00 tonight.

(to study)

He studies English every evening for two hours.

He is studying math now.

He has studied Biology 12 for three months at the Pearson Adult Learning Centre.

He has been studying Data Management 12 for two months.

He studied his English workbook last night.

He was studying for his grammar quiz before you called.

He had studied his math notes for two hours before his friend dropped by.

He had been studying for his science test for an hour before he was interrupted.

He will study for his Math 12 final tomorrow.

He will be studying for his English 12 exam tonight.

He will have studied for his science quiz for an hour by 4:00 this afternoon.

He will have been studying for his math quiz for thirty minutes by 10:30 this morning.

 

 

Visit Last Week's Feature:

Becoming a Better Reader

Weekly Feature Index
(Includes all 2002 to date Weekly Features with descriptions)

 

Return to Top

 

 

Visit our Contact Us page to send email to the centre.
Copyright © 1997 to 2009 Pearson Adult Learning Centre, New Westminster School District 40
Web Site Created by The Educated Web
Last modified: July 31, 2009