Tag: Tense

How to use the Future Perfect Continuous? (easy explanation!)

How to use the Future Perfect Continuous in English?


Feel free to leave a comment if you find any errors or if you have any suggestions to make to improve this lesson.




The future perfect progressive (or continuous), is quite difficult to master but can be useful.

It is used to say how long something will have lasted until some point in the future. The duration of the action is usually specified with the expression of time for or since (for 5 minutes, for two years, since thursday...).  The point at which the action will have been performed is often indicated in this simple present with when or by the time.

  • On january 1st he will have been working¬†at the factory¬†for more than a year¬†.¬†
  • In just one week from now I will have been living in Tokyo for five years.

1/ Construction

subject + will have been + verb + ing

 Affirmative Negative Question
¬†I / you / he / she / it we / you / they ¬†I will have been playing I will not (= I won’t) have been playing Will I have been playing?
  • (+) You¬†will (= You’ll) have been playing video games for two hours when her plane finally arrives.
  • (?) Will¬†you¬†have been playing video games¬†for two hours when her plane finally arrives?
  • (-) You¬†will not (= won’t) have been playing video games¬†for two hours when her plane finally arrives.

2/ Use

* Duration before a future event

You will notice that the reference points are now at the present simple tense.

  • By the next year, Sarah and her husband¬†will have been living¬†together for twenty years.
  • We will have been talking¬†for over an hour by the time Thomas¬†arrives.
  • He¬†will have been working¬†at that company for three years when it finally¬†closes.
  • Thomas will have been teaching¬†at the university for 2 years¬†by the time he¬†leaves¬†for Thailand.
  • How long¬†will¬†you¬†have been studying¬†when you¬†graduate?
  • They¬†will have been driving¬†for four hours when they get¬†to Melbourne.
  • When you¬†finish¬†your job,¬†will¬†you¬†have been living¬†in New Zealand for over a year?
  • Before they come, we¬†will have been cleaning¬†the house for two hours.

* Conviction of the cause of a future situation

Using the future perfect continuous before another future action is a good way to show the cause and effect

  • Tina will be tired when he gets home because he¬†will have been working for 12 hours
  • Romain’s english will be perfect when she returns to France because he¬†is going to have been studying¬†English in London for over two years.
  • By this time, he¬†will have been jogging¬†for over an hour¬†so he will be very tired.
  • We will be making a rest stop in half an hour, because you¬†will have been driving¬†the car for 6 hours by then.

3/ A few tips

ūüĎČ Some common time expressions to the future perfect continuous:

by tomorrow / 8 o’clock / 8pm / this year / month / week / next year / next month / next week

ūüĎČ Future Continuous OR Future Perfect Continuous ?

If a duration such as ‘for ten minutes’,’for two weeks’ or’since Friday’ is not indicated, many English speakers prefer to use the continuous future rather than the perfect continuous future. Be careful because this can change the meaning of the sentence.

The continuous future emphasizes interrupted action, while the perfect continuous future emphasizes a duration before a future event.

  • He will be tired because he will be studying so hard. (= He will be tired because he will have studied at that precise moment in the future)
  • He will be tired because he will have been studying so hard. (= He will be tired because he has been studying for a period of time. It is possible that he will continue to study or that he has just finished)

ūüĎČ The following time expressions are not used in the future perfect continuous:

when / while / before / after / by the time / as soon as / if / unless

  • You won’t get a promotion until you¬†will have been working¬†here as long as Tim.¬† WRONG
  • You won’t get a promotion until you¬†have been working¬†here as long as Tim.¬†CORRECT

ūüĎČNo state verbs in the future perfect continuous

  • Tom will¬†have been having¬†motorbike for over one year. WRONG
  • Tom will¬†have had¬†his motorbike for over one year.¬†CORRECT

ūüĎČ Active / passive form

The passive form to the future perfect continuous is not common:

  • Matt will have been fixing the car for over six weeks by the time it is finished. (Active)
  • The car will have been being fixed by Matt for over six weeks by the time it is finished. (Passive)

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How to use the Future Perfect in English?

How to use the Future Perfect in English? (I will have played)


Feel free to leave a comment if you find any errors or if you have any suggestions to make to improve this lesson.




The Future Perfect (or simple Future Perfect) is usually used to talk about actions that will be completed before a given time, event or other future action.

  • He¬†will have finished school before 5pm.¬†
  • The party will already have finished by the time we get there.¬†
  • Tomorrow morning¬†she will have left.¬†

1/ Construction

Subject + WILL HAVE + Verb (past participle)

Affirmative Negative Question
¬†I / you / he / she / it / we / you / they I will have played I will not (= I won’t) have played Will I have played?
  • (+)¬†He will have finished work by 5pm.
  • (-)¬†He will not have (= won’t have)¬†finished work by 5pm.
  • (?) Will he have¬†finished work by 5pm?

2/ Use

We use the future perfect to express:

* An action carried out before a future event or action

Something will happen before another action in the future, or before a specific time in the future (tomorrow, next month, before something, by 2pm…)

You will notice that the simple present is used for the reference points:

  • He¬†will have cleaned up¬†the house before they move in.
  • She¬†will have written¬†the letter before tonight.
  • I will have finished¬†the job before the deadline.
  • How many countries¬†will you have visited¬†by the time you¬†turn 30?
  • By the time he¬†gets¬†home, she¬†will have cleaned¬†the entire room.
  • She¬†will have finished¬†this test by noon.
  • Phil¬†will have drunk ten beers¬†by the time the party starts.
  • Will¬†she¬†have learned¬†enough japanese before she¬†moves¬†to Osaka?

* The duration of certain actions before a future date or event

  • I¬†will have known¬†Sarah for ten years in October.
  • Patrick¬†will have lived¬†in Sydney for 10 years by 2014.
  • I¬†will have been¬†in London for six months by the time I leave.
  • By Monday, Karl¬†will have had¬†my Ipod for a month.
  • We¬†will have been¬†married for one year next month.

* The conviction that something has just happened

  • There’s no point in going to the party. Everybody¬†will have left¬†by now. (= I’m sure everybody has left the party)
  • The bus¬†will have left¬†by now. (= I’m sure the bus has left)
  • My parents¬†will have arrived¬†in Bangkok by now. (I’m sure my parents have arrived in Bangkok)

3/ Notes

ūüĎČ We can use ‘going to’ instead of ‘will’ (same meaning)

  • The bus will have left by now. = The bus is going to have left by now.

ūüĎČ No future perfect with when, while, before, after, by the time, as soon as, if, unless, etc.

We use the present perfect instead:

  • I am going to play video games when I¬†will have finished¬†my homework. WRONG
  • I am going to play video games¬†when I¬†have finished¬†my homework. CORRECT

ūüĎČ Current time expressions

We often use the perfect future with:

by / by the time / before / by tomorrow / at 7 o’clock / next month / until / till

  • He will have retired¬†by the end of this year.¬†
  • I¬†will have finished that report before the deadline.

ūüĎČ Active / passive form

  • Tom will have repaired the car before the end of the week. (Active)
  • The car will have been repaired by Tom¬†before the end of the week. (Passive)

 

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What is the Future progressive tense in english? (I will be playing)

What is the Future progressive/continuous tense in english?


Feel free to leave a comment if you find any errors or if you have any suggestions to make to improve this lesson.




The progressive future (or continuous future) is used to indicate that something will be being done at a specific time in the future. It’s not really a simple time to master at first, but one that English speakers use a lot.

  • I¬†will be waiting¬†for you tonight.¬†
  • He¬†will be watching TV at 8pm.¬†

1/ How to make the Future progressive/continuous

subject + will be + verb-ing

 Affirmative  Negative  Question
I / you /¬†he / she / it /¬†we / they will be playing will not (= won’t) be playing Will I / he / we etc. be playing?

Tomorrow afternoon,

  • (+) he will be playing tennis. (= He’ll be playing.)
  • (-) he will not be playing. (= He won’t be playing.)
  • (?) will he be playing tennis¬†?

2/ Use

We use the progressive future to express:

* An action or event that is happening (or progressing) in the future

  • I¬†will be travelling in Japan¬†for the next two weeks.
  • Tonight at 10 PM, I¬†will be watching TV.
  • Next weekend,¬†what will you be doing?
  • In an hour, I¬†will be eating¬†lunch.
  • This time next week, I¬†will be relaxing at the beach.¬†
  • ACDC¬†will be performing¬†in Germany for the next three weeks.

* An action in progress in the future interrupted by something

In the following examples you will notice that the interruption is now simple! In addition to using short actions as an interruption, you can use a specific time:

  • I¬†will be watching¬†TV when he¬†arrives¬†tonight.
  • Will¬†you¬†be waiting¬†for him when his plane arrives tomorrow?
  • When Tom gets home,¬†they will not be sleeping (= they won’t be sleeping)
  • She’ll be having¬†a bath when I’m back home.¬†
  • I¬†will be waiting¬†for you when your bus¬†arrives. (= I’ll be waiting)
  • I will be staying¬†at the Madison Hotel, if anything¬†happens¬†and you¬†need¬†to contact me.
  • I’ll be watching¬†TV when my mother arrives.¬†

* Parallel actions in the future

We use the progressive future twice to describe two actions that will happen at the same time in the future. The actions will take place in parallel.

  • Later on, I¬†will be watching TV and he¬†will be studying.
  • Tomorrow night, they¬†will be drinking beer, listening to music, and¬†having¬†a good time.
  • Next week he¬†will be flying for India, and I will be flying for Thailand.

* To make assumptions in the present

  • He¬†won’t be coming¬†at the party. He is probably still working at the restaurant.
  • She¬†will be getting¬†home at this time.¬†
  • Sarah¬†will be getting¬†married very soon.
  • Tom will be working now (= I think Tom is working now, but I’m not 100% sure).

* To ask polite questions about the future

It is a very polite way of asking questions, tactfully, perhaps to ask something indirectly:

  • When will you be arriving in Sydney?
  • Will you be taking your car to the party?¬†
  • Will¬†you¬†be using¬†your computer tonight? I have to check something on internet.
  • Will¬†you¬†be going to the bakery? I need to buy some bread.

3/ Notes

ūüĎČ The Future progressive/continuous with “Be Going To be”

We can also use¬† ‘be + going to be + v. ing’¬†instead of ‘will be + v. ing

be + going to be + ing

  • He is going to be working at the pub on saturday night.
  • Is she going to be¬†working at the pub on saturday night?
  • She is not going to be¬†working at the pub on saturday night.

ūüĎČ Future progressive/continuous or futur simple ?

Both sentences are correct but their meaning is different:

  • I¬†will be eating lunch at 11am =>¬† I’ll start before 11:00 and maybe I’ll still be eating at that time.
  • I¬†will eat lunch at 11am ¬†=>¬† I’ll start lunch at 11:00 sharp.

ūüĎČ No Future progressive/continuous with the expressions: when, while, before, after, by the time, as soon as, if, unless, etc.

Like all future times, the progressive future cannot be used with time expressions such as when, while, before, after, by the time, as soon as, if, unless, etc. Instead of using the future progressive, use the continuous present.

  • While Phil will be driving,¬†Tina will be sleeping in the car.¬†WRONG
  • While Phil is driving, Tina will be sleeping in the car. CORRECT

ūüĎČ Non-progressive verbs

Non-progressive verbs cannot be used with the progressive future.

be / want / seem / cost / need / care / contain / exist / belong / own / like / love / hate / fear / envy

  • Kat¬†will be being¬†at my house tonight. WRONG
  • Kat will be¬†at my house tonight.¬†CORRECT
  • It¬†will be costing¬†a lot of money to fix the car.¬†WRONG
  • It will cost a lot of money to fix the car.¬†CORRECT

ūüĎČ Place of adverbs

Beware of the place of adverbs such as always, only, never, never, ever, still, just, etc. in the future progressive tense:

  • He will¬†still¬†be watching TV when she goes to bed.
  • Will you¬†still¬†be watching TV when she goes to bed?

ūüĎČ The progressive future is not as used as the other times of the future and can sometimes be replaced by the simple future, the continuous present or even the simple present.¬†

In the following examples the two sentences express an almost identical situation, it does not matter if you use a different time than the progressive future:

  • I’ll be leaving in a few minutes.
  • =¬†I’m leaving in a few minutes.
  • = I’ll leave in a few minutes.
  • = I’m going to leave in a few minutes.
  • = I leave in a few minutes.
  • Sam will come soon.
  • = Sam will be coming¬†soon.

ūüĎČ Active / passive form

We don’t really use the passive form in the future progressive :

  • At 10pm tonight, Carl¬†will be using his laptop. (Active)
  • At 10pm tonight, the laptop¬†will be being used¬†by Carl. (Passive)

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How to use the Future tense with ‘be going to’

How to use the Future tense with ‘be going to’


Feel free to leave a comment if you find any errors or if you have any suggestions to make to improve this lesson.




The simple future has two different forms in English: we use either ‘will‘ or ‘be+going to‘. Although they can be used in the same way, they often have a different meaning.

With a little practice their difference will seem clearer to you. Both options refer to a specific time in the future.

In this lesson we will focus on the simple future with be + going to

To see the first part (future with Will) click here.

1/ Construction

Be + going to + verb to the present tense

 Affirmative  Negative  Question
I am he / she / it is
We / you / they are
I am going to …
He is going to …
You are going to …
I am not going to …
He is not going to …
You are not going to …
Am I going to …?
He is going to …?
Are you going to …?
  • (+) You¬†are going to wash the car.
  • (?) Are¬†you¬†going to wash the car ?
  • (-) You¬†are not going to wash the car.

2/ Use of ‘be going to’

* To express an intention, an activity that you want to achieve or that is already underway:

  • I’m¬†going to spend¬†my hollydays in Italy.
  • She’s going to text him right now about the news.
  • Tom is going to break up with his girlfriend.
  • I wonder how he’s going to tell her the news.
  • She’s going to cry when she will know that.
  • They¬†are going to travel around Canada.
  • Who¬†are¬†you¬†going to invite¬†to the barbecue ?

* To predict future events (you can also use’will’):

  • My wife is going to have a baby.
  • Don’t worry, the plane¬†is not going to¬†crash.
  • Look at the sky, it’s going to rain.
  • The next Star Wars movie is going to be awesome !

3/ Notes

ūüĎČ About to

If the action is really imminent, we can use ‘to be + about to‘.

  • I’m¬†about to¬†leave soon, this party is too boring.
  • He’s¬†about to¬†cry.
  • I just saw Natalie at the club, I’m sure she’s¬†about to¬†cheat on her boyfriend.
  • Open the toilets! I’m about to¬†puke !

ūüĎČ Adverbs such as always, only, never, ever, still, just, etc. are placed before going to:¬†

  • You are¬†never¬†going to ask him.
  • Are you¬†ever¬†going to ask him ?

 

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What is the Simple Future tense in english? (I will)

What is the Simple Future tense in english?


Feel free to leave a comment if you find any errors or if you have any suggestions to make to improve this lesson.




The simple future has two different forms in English:

You can use¬†will‘ or ‘be+going to‘.

Although they can be used in the same way, they often have a different meaning.

With a little practice their difference will seem clearer to you. In both cases both forms refer to a specific time in the future.

In this lesson we will see the simple future tense with’Will’. Click here to see the second part with ‘be+going to’.

1/ How to make the Simple Future with Will

subject + Will + verb at the infinitive form

Affirmative Negative Question
¬†I / you / he / she / it / we / you / they I will play I will not (= I won’t) play Will I play?
  • (+) I will take the bus.
  • (?) Will¬†I take the bus ?
  • (-) I will not take the bus (= I won’t take the bus).

2/ Use

* When we decide to do something, or when we propose to do something… or to refuse to do it (we are making the decision as we speak):

  • What would you like to drink ? => ¬†I’ll have a coffee please.
  • I’ll send her an email this afternoon.
  • I don’t think I’ll buy¬†that house.
  • I will help you to clean up the mess.
  • I’ll open¬†the door for you.
  • Hold on. I’ll get¬†a pen.
  • I’ll pay by credit card.
  • I¬†won’t go there alone.
  • I forgot to call Phil. I’ll call him now.
  • I won’t leave until I’ve seen the manager.
  • Are you hungry ?¬†I’ll prepare some sandwiches.
  • You look tired.¬†I’ll get¬†you some coffee.

* To express a future prediction or hypothesis (you can also use be+going to):

  • If you ask her, she will give you a lift.
  • She will be surprised when she will see that.
  • Who do you think¬†will win the race¬†?
  • He won’t believe what happened.
  • I don’t think Joey¬†will¬†come tonight.¬†
  • It¬†will snow¬†tomorrow.¬†

* To ask someone to do something (with ‘will you…?):

  • Will you please turn the light off ? I’m going to bed.
  • Will¬†you come with me to the party ?
  • Will you please bring me my wallet ?¬†
  • Will you please listen to me ?
  • Will¬†you¬†help¬†me clean up the table ?
  • Will you marry me ?

* To express a promise

  • I¬†will text¬†you when I arrive.
  • I will not go to the club tonight (= I won’t go to the club tonight).
  • I’ll make¬†sure the dog has enough food.
  • I promise I¬†won’t tell¬†her about your secret.
  • I’ll be¬†careful, don’t worry.

* To express a certain future (with be)

  • The meeting¬†will be¬†at 10am.
  • I¬†will be¬†in Melbourne next week.
  • I’ll be¬†at the bar after the meeting.
  • There¬†will be¬†40 people at the party.

* To express the conditional future

  • If something happen, I will call you.
  • If we can’t find your place, we will come back home.

3/ Notes

ūüĎČ We often use ‘I think I’ll…’ and ‘I don’t think I’ll…’.

  • I’m hungry. I think I’ll have something to eat.
  • I don’t think I’ll go out tonight. I’m too tired.

ūüĎČ Shall and Will¬†

Shall is sometimes used instead of Will to talk to the future, but it is very uncommon in modern English and only in literature, poetry or law texts with he, she, you, they:

  • You shall not pass !
  • You shall not kill¬†

If you hear Shall in a sentence, it is mainly used to make an offer or suggestion, or to ask for advice (with I or We).

  • Shall¬†we go ?
  • Shall I open the window ?

ūüĎČ We can use ‘won’t’ to say that someone or something refuses to do what we want:

  • The car won’t start.
  • I’ve tried to talk to her but she won’t listen to me.

ūüĎČ Active / passive form

  • Active => ¬†Tim will finish¬†the work this afternoon.¬†
  • Passive => ¬† The work¬†will be finished¬†this afternoon.

ūüĎČ Place of adverbs

Adverbs such as always, only, never, never, ever, still, just, etc. are placed after will:

  • You will¬†never¬†be good at Street Fighter.
  • Will you¬†ever¬†be good at Street Fighter?

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What is the Past Perfect Continuous tense? (I had been playing…)

What is the Past Perfect Continuous tense? (I had been playing…)


Feel free to leave a comment if you find any errors or if you have any suggestions to make to improve this lesson.




The past perfect continuous is also called past perfect progressive or past perfect with be+ing.

  • When I went outside this morning the ground was wet. It had been raining.
  • We had been playing football for ten minutes when it started to rain.

1/ Construction

subject + had been + verbal basis + ing

 Affirmative Negative Question
¬†I / you / he / she / we / you / they ¬†… had been playing ¬†… had not¬†(hadn’t) been playing ¬†Had … been playing?
  • (+) She had been travelling for one month when she finally arrived in Mexico.
  • (?) Had¬†she been travelling for one month when she finally arrived in Mexico¬†?
  • (-)¬†She had not been travelling for one month when she finally arrived in Mexico.

2/ Use

* Something that started in the past and continued until another past action or event (in combination with the simple past):

  • Carol had been saving money for more than a year before she left for Canada.
  • How long¬†had¬†you¬†been studying¬†Japanese before you moved to Osaka ?
  • How long had he been watching TV when he felt asleep ?
  • We had been trying¬†to open the door for five minutes when Peter found the key.
  • Bruce wanted to walk because he¬†had been sitting all day at work.
  • How long¬†had¬†you¬†been waiting before the bus arrived¬†?
  • They had been talking¬†for over an hour before Kat arrived.
  • Phil had been working¬†at that restaurant for two years when it went out of business.

* The cause and effect of something in the past

We can see the result of something that happened (we can use ‘because’)

  • Kevin was very tired. He¬†had been running.
  • = Kevin was tired because he¬†had been running.
  • Sarah gained weight because she¬†had been eating too much.
  • Somebody¬†had been smoking.¬†I could smell tobacco.
  • I¬†was disappointed when she canceled the trip. I had been looking forward to spend some time with her.
  • Robert was crying because he¬†had been fighting with his brother.

* indirect speech

  • ‘I was working late in the garage last night.’ =>¬†Nathan told them¬†he had been working¬†late in the garage last night.
  • ‘I have been partying all night.’ =>¬†Carol said¬†she had been partying all night.

3/ Notes

ūüĎČ Past Continuous or Past Perfect Continuous ?

With the perfect continuous pastoral, the duration of the action is more important, while with the past continuous, it is the action itself that is most important.

However, if the duration is not specified (for 45 minutes, for one week, since friday…) many English speakers prefer to use the past continuous tense.

  • Past continuous => ¬† We were playing tennis when it started raining.

When we were playing tennis it started raining. The focus is on what we were doing when it started raining (i.e. the tennis game).

  • Past perfect continuous => ¬†¬†We had been playing tennis (for 45 minutes) when it started raining.

We had been playing tennis for a while, when we had just stopped, when it started raining. The emphasis is on the duration of the action (here the tennis game).

ūüĎČ Some verbs do not take the continuous form:

These are mainly abstract verbs or verbs related to a mental state:

like / love / hate / prefer / need / want / belong / contain / fit / consist / seem / realise / know / believe / imagine / understand / remember 

  • Paul¬†had been wanting to travel around the world¬†before he died.¬† WRONG!
  • Paul had wanted to travel around the world¬†before he died. CORRECT!

ūüĎČ There is no past perfect continuous for the verb to be:

Had been being is simply replaced by had been

  • Tony had been¬†being¬†very happy because he won to the lottery.

ūüĎČ The place of adverbs

The adverbs are placed before been: always, only, just, never, ever, still, etc.

  • He had¬†just¬†been waiting there for two minutes when the train arrived.
  • Had he¬†just¬†been waiting there for two minutes when the train arrived?

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What is the Past Perfect tense? (I had played)

The Past Perfect Tense (I had played)


Feel free to leave a comment if you find any errors or if you have any suggestions to make to improve this lesson.




The perfect past (sometimes called pluperfect) is used when we want to talk about two successive past events, i.e. to talk about an action that took place before another past action.

1/ Construction

subject + had (=have to the past simple) +¬†past participle (worked, been, gone…)

 Affirmative Negative Question
¬†I¬†/¬†you¬†/¬†we¬†/¬†they ¬† ¬†I had played ¬†I had not¬†(hadn’t) played ¬†Had I played¬†?_
¬†he¬†/¬†she¬†/¬†it¬† ¬†He had played_ ¬†He had not¬†(hadn’t) played_ ¬†Had he played¬†?_

_

  • (+) She had studied Japanese before she moved to Tokyo.
  • (?) Had she studied¬†Japanese before she moved to Tokyo¬†?
  • (-) She had¬†not¬†studied¬†Japanese before she moved to Tokyo.

2/ Use

* When two actions have taken place at different times in the past

The perfect past is used to talk about the action that happens first, and the simple past (= preterit) for the second.

  • The bus¬†had¬†already¬†left¬†when Tom¬†arrived¬†at the bus stop.
  • We watched a horror movie¬†after the kids¬†had gone¬†to bed.
  • By the time Tina¬†finished shopping, John¬†had been¬†at the bar for one hour.
  • I¬†had¬†never¬†eaten such a good sushi before I went to Japan.
  • I did not have any money because I¬†had lost¬†my wallet.
  • Sarah¬†knew¬†Sydney well because she¬†had visited¬†the city many times.
  • Had Paul studied¬†english before he moved to the USA?
  • He was not able to get a ticket for the show because he hadn’t booked¬†in advance.
  • She checked with the post office and they still hadn’t received her package.
  • I had eaten dinner before they arrived.

* To express a hypothetical past, with if (to talk about things that could have happened)

  • If John¬†had been able to¬†drive a car, he¬†would have¬†gone home earlier.
  • If I hadn’t drunk¬†so much coffee, I would have slept last night.

* To express regret (with ‘wish’ or ‘If only’)

  • If only I¬†had¬†invited¬†her to the cinema.
  • If I¬†had known, I wouldn’t have come.
  • I wish¬†he¬†hadn’t¬†failed¬†his driving exam.
  • He wishes he¬†hadn’t bought¬†that car.
  • She wishes she¬†had stayed in Miami longer.
  • I wish I¬†had done¬†scuba diving when I went to Indonesia.

* For indirect speech, when you want to tell what someone said, thought or believed (often with the verbs said, told, thought, explained, asked, wondered, believed…)

  • ‘I¬†have seen… ¬†‘ => ¬† ¬†He said he¬†had seen…
  • ‘I¬†lost¬†my wallet’ => ¬† ¬†She said she¬†had lost her wallet.
  • She told us that the bus had left.
  • I thought¬†we had already decided to go to Paris this summer.
  • He explained that he¬†had locked¬†the window because of the thieves.
  • I wondered if she had seen¬†this movie before.
  • I asked him why he had¬†bought this house.
  • They told me they had already paid the bill.

3/ Notes

ūüĎČ Past perfect +¬†just

We use the past perfect past with ‘just’ to say that something has just happened recently:

  • The train had just left¬†when we arrived at the station.
  • She¬†had just left¬†the room when she heard a noise.
  • He had just washed the car when it started to rain.

ūüĎČ With ‘when’:

  • When you were born, the internet hadn’t already been created.
  • When I finished high school, I hadn’t learnt to drive a car yet.
  • When I went to the bar, they had already been drinking a lot.

ūüĎČ With ‘before’ / ‘after’:

If the perfect pastoral action occurred at a specific time and’before’ or’after’ are used in the sentence, it can be replaced by the past simple:

  • He¬†had visited¬†Melbourne once in 2011 before he moved there in 2013.¬†
  • = He¬†visited¬†Melbourne¬†once in 2011 before he moved there in 2013.

BUT if the perfect past tense does not correspond to an action passed at a specific time, the simple past tense cannot be used:

  • He never¬†saw¬†a kangaroo before he moved to Australia.¬†faux
  • He¬†had¬†never¬†seen¬†a kangaroo before he moved to Australia.¬†ok

ūüĎČ Had + had

  • We¬†had had¬†that car for two years before it broke down.
  • I wish I had had more girlfriends when I was young.

ūüĎČ The active / passive voice:

  • Nathan¬†had created¬†many websites before he started his business. (Active)
  • Many websites¬†had been created¬†by Nathan before he started his business. (Passive)

ūüĎČ A few words often used with the past perfect:

already, just, before, when, by the time,¬†once, twice, three times…

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What is the Past Continuous tense? (or Past Progressive)

What is the Past Continuous tense? (= Past Progressive)


Feel free to leave a comment if you find any errors or if you have any suggestions to make to improve this lesson.




The Past Continuous in English is also called past progressive.

The simple present (I do) has its continuous present (I am doing).

The simple past (I did) therefore has its continuous past (I was doing).

In this lesson we will focus on the past continuous tense in English). It is sometimes called progressive past, continuous preterite or progressive preterite but don’t get me wrong, it’s exactly the same thing!

1/ Construction of the Past Continuous tense in English:

‘to be’ in Past Simple¬†(WAS / WERE) + verbal basis + ING

  • I / he / she / it ¬† was ¬† ¬† playing, having, moving
  • we / you / they ¬† were ¬† ¬†¬†doing, reading, writing

2/ What’s the difference between past simple and past continuous?

Look at the following example:

  • Past simple: I had lunch at noon yesterday
  • Past continuous: I was having lunch at noon yesterday

3/ What’s the purpose of the past continuous in English?

>> It is used to talk about an action in progress at a past time:

  • We were waiting at the caf√©.

>> It is also used to say that an ongoing action has been interrupted (then you can find Simple Past in the sentence):

  • I was drinking at the bar when she called me.
  • I hurt my leg while I was running in the park.
  • He phoned me when we were having lunch.
  • It was snowing when I went out.

>> When two actions have occurred at the same time, without having any influence on each other (we often use ‘while‘):

  • John was watching TV while Linda was reading a book.
  • I¬†was studying¬†while he¬†was making¬†dinner.
  • While Dave¬†was sleeping¬†last night, someone stole his car.
  • What¬†were¬†you¬†doing¬†while you¬†were waiting?
  • They¬†were drinking beer, talking about life, and¬†having¬†fun.

>> Past actions that irritate the speaker:

  • Bob was always complaining.
  • She was constantly repeating the same story.

>> Past actions that were often repeated:

  • He was jogging around the lake every day.

>> To describe a person in the past:

  • When I saw him he was wearing a hat.
  • The thief was wearing a black hood.

4/ The past continuous in a negative sentences:

  • I¬†was not¬†talking to you (=¬†I¬†wasn’t¬†talking to you)
  • You¬†were not¬†playing¬†football (=¬†You¬†weren’t¬†playing¬†football)
  • They were not dancing at the party (= They weren’t dancing at the party)

5/ Ask questions with the past continuous:

  • Was I playing football?
  • Why were you not watching football?
  • What¬†were¬†they¬†doing¬†when the show started?

6/ active / passive form

  • The thief¬†was stealing¬†the diamond when the police arrived (Active)
  • The diamond¬†was being stolen¬†by the thief when the police arrived (Passive)

ūüĎČ Some verbs are not normally used in the past continuous (in the present continuous tense either) with a few exceptions. The list is not complete but here are the main ones:

love / like / know / want / need / seem / mean / prefer / belong / understand / consist / suppose / remember / realise / forget / notice…¬†

  • I needed to go to the doctor (NOT ‘I was needing…‘)
  • I loved this movie ! (NOT ‘I was loving this movie‘)
  • We wanted to go out but it was raining (NOT ‘we were wanting…‘)

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What is the Simple Past tense (or Past Simple)?

What is the simple past tense? When and how use it?


Feel free to leave a comment if you find any errors or if you have any suggestions to make to improve this lesson.




The simple past is also called preterite in English, or past simple. No difference then, it’s the same thing.

It’s really an essential tense to know in English, so please be focused!

1/ What is the use of the past simple in English?

The past simple is used to describe an action, or to tell an event that happened before the moment we are talking and that is now over.

Look carefully, the following sentences all use the past simple:

  • I went to the cinema yesterday.
  • She saw her mother last week.
  • He was in Paris last year.
  • Where did you go?
  • I didn’t like the movie.
  • They worked together for two years.

2/ Construction of the past simple in English:

  • Affirmative sentence =>¬†subject + Verbal basis + ed (or an irregular verb)
  • Negative sentence => subject + didn’t + infinitive verb (go, buy, work…)
  • Questioning sentence =>¬†Did + subject + infinitive verb (go, buy, work…)
 Affirmative Negative Question
¬†I¬†/¬†you¬†/¬†we¬†/¬†they ¬†I played ¬†I didn’t (= did not) play ¬†Did I¬†play ?
¬†he¬†/¬†she¬†/¬†it ¬†He played ¬†He didn’t (= did not)¬†play ¬†Did he play ?

Examples:

  • You¬†played¬†tennis.
  • Did¬†you¬†play¬†tennis ?
  • You didn’t (=¬†did not)¬†play¬†tennis.
  • She went to the supermarket. ¬†
  • Did she go to¬†the supermarket¬†? ¬†
  • She didn’t go to¬†the supermarket.
  • Did you pay for your train ticket ?
  • (+)¬†Yes, I paid for my train ticket. (or= Yes, I did.)
  • (-)¬†No, I didn’t pay for my train ticket. (or= No, I didn’t.)

‚ö† For a negative question, did is replaced by didn’t:

  • Didn’t¬†they¬†have¬†enough money to buy it?

‚ö† In the past simple, regular verbs end in -ed:

  • She waited for them at the train station.
  • He finished work late last friday.
  • They decided to go to the cinema last night.
  • They played baseball yesterday.
  • I lived in London two years ago.

‚ö† There are also many irregular verbs in the past simple! They don’t end up in -ed:

  • I went to the pub last night.
  • He saw his girlfriend a few days ago.
  • They said they¬†met¬†him at the club.
  • She bought this hat last week.

You have to learn irregular verbs by heart because you can’t invent them (click here for the complete list).

‚ö† Be careful, many verbs do not change in the simple past:

  • I cuted¬†faux
  • I cut¬†ok
  • it costed¬†faux
  • it cost¬†ok
  • He leted¬†faux
  • He let¬†ok
  • She puted¬†faux
  • She put¬†ok
  • We quited¬†faux
  • We quit¬†ok

‚ö† ‘read‘ does not change either to past simple writing, but it is pronounced “red” orally (like the colour red!):

‘He read a book last week’ in a text is pronounced orally¬†‘He red a book…’¬†

‚ö† In the interrogative form, we can also use when, why, who, what…

  • When did you work at the bar ? I worked at the bar last week.
  • Why did she go to the train station ? She went to the train station to say goodbye to her parents.
  • Who did they meet at the club last night ? They met Tom with his girlfriend.

‚ö† “Do” can also be the main verb in the sentence:

  • What did you do last week ?
  • I didn’t do that !

3/ The verb to be in the past simple:

Be becomes was / were.

 Affirmative Negative Question
¬†I¬†/¬†he /¬†she /¬†it ¬†I was ¬†I was not (= wasn’t) ¬†was I¬†?
¬†we / you /¬†they ¬†you were ¬†you were not (= weren’t)_ ¬†were you¬†?
  • I was tired last night.
  • Were you tired last night ?
  • He wasn’t tired last night.
  • How was the test ? It wasn’t difficult at all !

‚ö† Be careful, if you use was / were in an interrogative or negative sentence, you shouldn’t put did !

  • Did you were sick last night?¬†faux
  • Were you sick¬†last night ?¬†ok

4/ The verb to have in the past simple:

Have becomes Had to all persons:

 Affirmative Negative Question
¬†I / you / he / she / it / we / you / they ¬†I had ¬†I didn’t have ¬†Did I have?
  • He¬†had¬†a new car for his birthday.
  • They¬†had¬†plenty of time to do it.
  • They¬†didn’t have¬†enough time to go there.
  • Did¬†you¬†have¬†enough money?
  • How many beer did you have ?

‚ö† In the negative and interrogative form, it is necessary to use have (and not had or has)

  • He didn’t had his keys¬†faux
  • He¬†didn’t have¬†his keys¬†ok
  • Did¬†she¬†has a baby ?¬†faux
  • Did she have a baby ?¬†ok

5/ Remember!

‚ö† In negative questions and sentences, be careful to put the infinitive after did / didn’t !!!!

  • I didn’t eat it¬†ok
  • I didn’t ate it¬†faux
  • I didn’t do it¬†ok
  • I didn’t did it¬†faux
  • I didn’t push him¬†ok
  • I didn’t pushed him¬†faux
  • He didn’t steal your money¬†ok
  • He didn’t stole your money¬†faux
  • Did you see her ?¬†ok
  • Did you saw her ?¬†faux
  • Did she go there ?¬†ok
  • Did she went there ?¬†faux

‚ö† In many examples in this lesson you will have noticed that there is a time indication (date or duration):

before / last week end / last night / last friday / yesterday / before yesterday / a few days ago / two years ago / three month ago / for one year / for four months …

It is not necessarily mandatory:

  • I enjoyed the show.
  • He prefered that movie.
  • She waited at the bus stop.
  • We loved it !

‚ö† We can use the simple past to talk about habits, tastes or routines in the past:

  • When I was a kid, I loved pizzas.
  • He smoked cigarettes when he was young.
  • I ran every day when I was in High School.

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What is the Present Perfect Continuous tense?

What is the Present Perfect Continuous tense?


Feel free to leave a comment if you find any errors or if you have any suggestions to make to improve this lesson.




Unlike the present perfect which is very difficult to control, the present perfect continuous (or present perfect ing) is quite simple to use.

It is used to talk about an action that began in the past and continues in the present.¬†It is often used to focus on the duration of an action (with ‘for’,’since’ and ‘how long…?‘).

  • Bob started playing guitar when he was a child.
    = He has been playing guitar since he was a child (and he is still playing guitar.)

1/ Formation

Have/has + been + verb -ing

 Affirmative Negative Question
 I / you / we / they    I have been playing  I have not been playing  Have I been playing ?_
 he / she / it   He has been playing_  He has not been playing_  Has he been playing ?_

_

The contracted form of I have can also be used = I’ve, He has = He’s…

2/ Usage

When you want to insist on the duration (not the result) of an action that has recently been completed or is still ongoing:

  • I’ve been watching TV¬†for¬†3 hours.
  • She has been living in London¬†since¬†2010.
  • She¬†has been writing¬†for two hours.
  • How long have you been learning English ? => I’ve been learning English since a few weeks.
  • James¬†has been teaching¬†at the university since June.
  • I’ve been looking for you for one hour !
  • how long¬†has¬†it¬†been raining? => It has been raining the whole day.
  • He’s been waiting for the train¬†since 3pm.
  • How long have you been travelling in Australia ? =>¬†I‚Äôve been traveling for¬†about a year.
  • How long have you been studying japanese ? =>¬†I‚Äôve been studying japanese¬†for¬†years.

An action that has recently been completed and for which a temporary result can be observed (focus on the action):

  • She has been working¬†all afternoon, that’s why she is so tired.
  • You’re out of breath,¬†where¬†have¬†you¬†been running?
  • Why do you look so tired ? => I haven’t been sleeping well.
  • Recently,¬†I’ve been feeling¬†really tired.
  • What have you been doing ? =>¬†I‚Äôve been cleaning the house.
  • It has been raining, the ground is wet.
  • My hands are dirty, I’ve been fixing the car.
  • Matt¬†has not been practicing¬†his English lately.
  • Guess what he‚Äôs been doing !

3/ Notes

ūüĎČ State verbs such as believe, love, have, know… do not have a progressive form (with -ing). The only exceptions to the present perfect continuous are want and mean (ex:¬†I’ve been meaning to tell Sarah, but I keep forgetting).

  • Tom¬†has been having¬†his car for two years.¬†faux
  • Tom has had¬†his car for two years.¬†ok

ūüĎČFor or Since?

  • I’ve been waiting since 2pm. (date/time)
  • I’ve been waiting for 2 hours. (duration)
  • He has been living in China since 1997. (date/time)
  • He has been living in China for 18 years. (duration)

ūüĎČ By using the continuous perfect present in a question, it implies that you can see, feel, hear or feel the result of an action. If you say ‘Have you been feeling alright ?‘, it means that the person seems sick or in poor health. If you say ‘Have you been smoking ?‘ it can mean that the person smells cigarette.

Be careful, we can insult someone by using this time incorrectly. Similarly, if you say ‘You‚Äôve been watching television again !‘ or ‘You‚Äôve been eating chocolate‘ you accuse the person you’re talking to.

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