VERBS TENSES AND MODAL AUXILIARY VERBS.
1. Simple Present. We use present simple form to talk about: Facts, things that are always true:It rains a lot in Scotland. -The Sky is blue. For situations that are (more or less) permanent: -She lives in New York. Habits or things that we do regulary. We often use adverbs of frequency : -I play tennis every Saturday. -At the weekend, we usually go to the market. To talk about what happens in books, plays, or films: -The hero dies at the end of the film. We can use this tense to talk about the future: -School begins at nine tomorrow.
2. Present Continous 1. We use it for things that are happening at the moment of speaking. - Please call back asâ€“ we are eating dinner now. 2. We can also use this tense for temporary situations, when we feel something won't continue for a long time. - She's staying with her friend for a week.
3. We can use the present continuous for habits but they have to be temporary or new habits. - You're smoking too much. 4. When we want to show that something happens too often and we don't like it. - She's constantly missing the train. 5. The next use is for definite future arrangements (with a future time word). - We're going to the beach at the weekend.
3. Present Simple Perfect We use this tense for unfinished and finished actions:
Unfinished Actions. We use this tense when we want to talk about unfinished actions that started in the past and continue to the present:
-She's lived in London for three years.
'Since' and 'For'
We use 'since' with a fixed time in the past (2004, April 23rd, last year, two hours ago). We use 'for' with a period of time (2 hours, three years, six months): -I've liked chocolate since I was a child. -I've known Julie for ten years.
Present Simple Perfect Finished Actions. 1: Life experience (we don't say when the experience happened, just sometime in the past): - She has lived in Germany.
2: A finished action with a result in the present (focus on result): -I've lost my keys (so I can't get into my house). 3: With an unfinished time word (this month, this week, today, in the last year): -She's drunk three cups of coffee today. 'Been' and 'Gone': In this tense, we use both 'been' and 'gone' as the past participle of 'go', but in slightly different circumstances. -I've been to Paris (in my life, but now I'm in London, where I live). -'Where's John?' 'He's gone to the shops' (he's at the shops now).
4. Present Perfect Continous
Some people think the present perfect continuous is difficult to use, but really it's not very complicated, and it sounds very impressive when you use it correctly. There are two main times we use this tense. Remember we can't use it with stative verbs. 1: To say how long for unfinished actions which started in the past and continue to the present. We often use this with for and since. - I've been living in London for two years. 2: Actions which have just stopped (though the whole action can be unfinished) and have a result, which we can often see, hear, or feel, in the present (focus on action). - I'm so tired, I've been studying.
4. Simple Future A decision at the moment of speaking: A: 'I'm cold'. B: 'I'll close the window'. Prediction based on opinion: -I think the Conservatives will win the next election. A future fact: -The sun will rise at 7am. Promises / requests / refusal / willingness: -I'll help you with your homework. In the same way as the future continuous, but with state verbs: -I'll be at the station when you arrive.
5. Past Continous or Past Progressive Interrupted Action in the Past: -I was watching TV when she called. Specific Time as an Interruption: -Last night at 6 PM, I was eating dinner. Parallel Actions: -I was studying while he was making dinner. Atmosphere: -When I walked into the office, several people were busily typing, some were talking on the phones, the boss was yelling directions, and customers were waiting to be helped. Repetition and Irritation with "Always": -She was always coming to class late.
6. Past Perfect Simple A completed action before something else in the past. • When we arrived, the film had started. (= first the film started, then later we arrived)
2. To explain or give a reason for something in the past. • I'd eaten dinner so I wasn't hungry.
3. Stative verbs only: something that started in the past and continued up to another action in the past. • When he graduated, he had been in London for six years.
4. As part of the third conditional. • If I had known you were ill, I would have visited you.
7. Past Perfect Continous. 1 Duration Before Something in the Past.
Past Continuous vs. Past Perfect Continuous
â€˘ They had been talking for over an hour If you do not include a duration such as "for five before Tony arrived. 2 Cause of Something in the Past. â€˘ Betty failed the final test because she had not been attending class.
minutes," "for two weeks" or "since Friday," many English speakers choose to use the Past Continuous rather than the Past Perfect Continuous. Be careful because this can change the meaning of the sentence. Past Continuous emphasizes interrupted actions, whereas Past Perfect Continuous emphasizes a duration of time before something in the past.
8. Simple Past We use it whenever we want to talk about 3. For stories / lists of events: the past and we don't have any special situation that means we should use the past - Yesterday I went to the library, met a friend for lunch, and played tennis. perfect, present perfect, past continuous etc. 1. Finished events in the past with no connection to the present:
4. Details of news:
- Leonardo painted the Mona Lisa.
- I've hurt my leg. I fell off a ladder when I was painting my bedroom. 5. As part of the second conditional:
2. With a finished time word (yesterday, last week, at 2 o'clock, in 2003): -I went to the cinema yesterday.
- If I won the lottery, I would buy a house in Chelsea.
9. Simple Future We use 'be going to' + infinitive for: Future plans made before the moment of speaking: A: 'We've run out of milk.' B: 'I know, I'm going to buy some.'
Prediction based on present evidence: Look at those boys playing football! They're going to break the window.
10. Future Progressive. 1. A continuous action in the future which is interrupted by a time or by another action. - Iâ€™'ll be waiting when you arrive. 2. A complete action in the future that will happen in the normal course of events. The Government will be making a statement later. Because this talks about something that will happen if everything is as we planned, we often use this tense to ask politely about what someone is going to do.
3. To make a guess about the present. My mother will be working now (= I think she is working now, but Iâ€™'m not completely certain).
11. Future Perfect
We use this English verb tense:
1.With a future time word, (and often with 'by') to talk about an action that will finish before a certain time in the future, but we don't know exactly when. - By 10 o'clock I will have finished my homework. (=I will finish my some time before 10, but we don't know exactly when).
2. As the future perfect continuous, but with stative verbs.
12. Future Perfect Continous We use the future perfect continuous tense to: 1. With a time word, to talk about an action which starts before a time in the future and continues up to that time. In April 2009, I will have been teaching here for two years. (=I started in April 2007 and still teach here now, probably I will continue after April 2009 but we are not sure).
MODAL AUXILIARY VERBS
What are Modal Auxiliary Verbs?
The verbs can, could, will, would, should, may, might, must, ought and shall are verbs which 'help' other verbs to express a meaning: it is important to realise that these "modal verbs" have no meaning by themselves. A modal verb such as would has several varying functions; it can be used, for example, to help verbs express ideas about the past, the present and the future. It is therefore wrong to simply believe that "would is the past of will": it is many other things. A few basic grammatical rules applying to modal verbs Modal verbs are NEVER used with other auxiliary verbs such as do, does, did etc. The negative is formed simply by adding "not" after the verb; questions are formed by inversion of the verb and subject: You should not do that. Could you pick me up when I've finished?
Modal verbs NEVER change form: you can never add an "-s" or "-ed", for example. Modal verbs are NEVER followed by to, with the exception of ought to.
Uses of Modal Auxiliary Verbs. WILL: - Making personal predictions. • I don't think the Queen will ever abdicate. - Talking about the present with certainty (making deductions).
Reassuring someone. Don't worry! You'll settle down quickly, I'm sure. Making a decision. I'm very tired. I think I'll stay at home tonight. Making a semi-formal request. Will you open the window, please?
• Don't bother ringing: they'll have left for their 10 o'clock lecture.
Offering to do something. You stay there! I'll fetch the drinks.
- Talking about the past with certainty
Insistence; habitual behaviour. Damn! My car won't start. I'll have to call the garage.
• I'm sure you will have noticed that attendance has fallen sharply.
Making a promise or a threat. If you don't finish your dinner off, you'll go straight to bed!
SHALL: Shall is a form of will, used mostly in the first person. Its use, however, is decreasing, and in any case in spoken English it would be contracted to "-ll" and be indistinguishable from will.
The only time you do need to use it is in questions, when:
Making offers ď‚§ Shall I fetch you another glass of wine?
ď‚§ Shall we go to the cinema tonight?
MAY & MIGHT: May is sometimes a little bit "more sure" (50% chance); whereas might expresses more doubt (maybe only a 30% chance). They can also sometimes be used for talking about permission, but usually only in formal situations.
Talking about the present or future with uncertainty She may be back in her office: the lecture finished ten minutes ago.
Talking about the past with uncertainty I'm surprised he failed. I suppose he might have been ill on the day of the exam.
MAY Talking about things that can happen in certain situations If the monitors are used in poorly lit places, some users may experience headaches. Each nurse may be responsible for up to twenty patients. With a similar meaning to although â€˘ The experiment may have been a success, but there is still a lot of work to be done.
MIGHT Saying that something was possible, but did not actually happen â€˘ You saw me standing at the bus stop! You might have stopped and given me a lift!
WOULD As the past of will, for example in indirect speech "The next meeting will be in a month's time" becomes He said the next meeting would be in a month's time.
Polite requests and offers (a 'softer' form of will) Would you like another cup of tea? In conditionals, to indicate 'distance from reality': imagined, unreal, impossible situations
If I ruled the world, every day would be the first day of Spring.
Can and Could Talking about ability Can you speak Mandarin? (present) She could play the piano when she was five. (past) Making requests Can you give me a ring at about 10? Could you speak up a bit please? (slightly more formal, polite or 'softer') Asking permission Can I ask you a question? Could I ask you a personal question? (more formal, polite or indirect) Reported speech Could is used as the past of can. He asked me if I could pick him up after work. General possibility You can drive when you're 17. (present).
MUST Necessity and obligation Must is often used to indicate 'personal' obligation; what you think you yourself or other people/things must do. If the obligation comes from outside (eg a rule or law), then have to is often (but not always) preferred: I really must get some exercise. Strong advice and invitations I think you really must make more of an effort. Saying you think something is certain
This must be the place - there's a white car parked outside.
Giving advice • You shouldn't be drinking if you're on antibiotics. Obligation: weak form of must • The university should provide more sports facilities. Deduction • The letter should get to you tomorrow - I posted it first class.
Things which didn't or may/may not have happened • I should have renewed my TV licence last month, but I forgot.
Ramirez Menjivar, Iris Yanet