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Using Verb Tenses Correctly
by Patricia




Using verb tenses correctly is important to convey meaning accurately.  It snowed a lot this December, and many people had to shovel to clear a path to their homes or vehicles.  Some people do this regularly in winter, and others did this for the first time.  Still others may be doing it now.  Study the sentences below to see how each time is expressed.

You might also notice that adverbs, words that tell how or when an action happens, can be placed before or after a verb.

For example, always, often, regularly and frequently are some of the adverbs used in the simple present tense to tell when. Carefully, slowly, and quickly are adverbs that tell how. After studying these sample sentences, you should be able to explain actions more clearly, especially how often you shovel.

Simple Present Tense

I shovel snow every December.
You shovel snow regularly in winter.
He/She/ My friend shovels snow frequently every January.
They/ Our neighbours sometimes shovel the snow in their driveway.
We/ My friend and I often shovel snow together during the holidays.
You/ The boys always shovel the snow from the sidewalk.

Simple Present Continuous

I am slowly shovelling the snow in my driveway.
You are shovelling snow carefully now.
She/He/ My neighbour is shovelling the snow in front of his house.
They/ My friends are energetically shovelling the snow near the school.
We/ My parents and I are shovelling snow behind our house.
You/My friends are shovelling snow in front of the door.

Present Perfect

I have shovelled snow for many winters.
You have shovelled snow since you were 12 years old.
He/My friend has shovelled snow for his elderly neighbour for the last five winters.
They/The Smiths have shovelled snow in front of their house for the past eight years.
We/My sister and I have shovelled the snow in my mother's driveway for the past three winters.
You have shovelled snow for your friends for a few years.

Present Perfect Continuous

I have been shovelling the snow in front of my house for many winters.
You have been shovelling snow since you were 10 years old.
He/My brother has been shovelling snow in his driveway for the past three winters.
They/The custodians have been shovelling snow around the school for the past ten days.
We/My husband and I have been shovelling in front of our house for the last three days.
You/The boys have been shovelling snow off the outside rink for the past two hours.

Simple Past Tense

I shovelled the snow quickly yesterday.
You shovelled the snow carefully last night.
He/She/ My sister slowly shovelled the snow last weekend.
They/The Wilsons shovelled the snow from their walkway over the holidays.
We/My daughter and I shovelled the snow in front of our house last Friday.
You shovelled the snow in front of the school on Monday morning.

Past Continuous

I was shovelling the snow yesterday.
You were shovelling the snow when the phone rang.
My neighbour was shovelling the snow when the dog bit him.
They/The teenagers were shovelling the snow before their hockey game.
We/My brother and I were shovelling snow this morning.
You were shovelling snow before the students arrived.

Past Perfect

I had shovelled the snow before you came.
You had shovelled some snow off your deck before it collapsed.
He/She/My father had shovelled the snow in the driveway before I arrived.
They/ The players had shovelled the snow before it started to rain.
We/ My sister and I had shovelled the snow for 2 hours before we ate dinner.
You/ The girls had shovelled the snow off the ice before they skated.

Past Perfect Continuous

I had been shovelling before you came.
You had been shovelling snow off your deck when you slipped.
He/She/ My mother had been shovelling snow off her deck before it collapsed.
They/ The hockey players had been shovelling snow off the rink for an hour before their game started.
We/ My friend and I had been shovelling snow for two hours before we ate dinner.
You/ The teenagers had been shovelling snow in the parking lot before the dance.

Simple Future

I will shovel our driveway tomorrow morning.
You will shovel your walkway tonight.
He/She/ Mary will shovel her sidewalk tomorrow.
They/ The skiers will shovel a path through the snow later.
We/ Susan and I will shovel her driveway soon.
You/ The children will shovel a tunnel in the snow tomorrow.

Future Continuous

I will be shovelling tomorrow.
You will be shovelling later.
He/She/ The hockey coach will be shovelling the rink this afternoon.
They/ The players will be shovelling the snow in the parking lot soon.
We/ My friend and I will be shovelling my driveway tomorrow morning.
You/ The girls will be shovelling a path to the skating rink tonight.

Future Perfect

I will have shovelled my driveway by 6:00 tonight.
You will have shovelled the snow from your walkway by tomorrow.
He/She/ His mother will have shovelled their driveway by the time we arrive.
They/ The players will have shovelled the playing field by noon.
We/ My husband and I will have shovelled our deck by 10:00 am.
You will have shovelled your driveways by noon.

Future Perfect Continuous

I will have been shovelling my driveway for 2 hours by 6:00 tonight.
You will have been shovelling your walkway for an hour by noon.
He/She/My brother will have been shovelling his sidewalk for 20 minutes by 3:00 pm.
They/ The men will have been shovelling the snow off the roof of the building for an hour by 10:00 am.
We/ My family and I will have been shovelling our driveway for thirty minutes by 9:00 am.
You will have been shovelling the snow in your driveways for 10 minutes by 7:30 am.


 

 

(February 8, 2009)


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