Discussion in 'REFINING WRITING' started by Wolk, Apr 26, 2017.

  1. This resource's aim is to give a quick overview of all the tenses in the English language.
    Each tense will be described with how it should be used, an example, and occasionally a personal note. How to form the tense will not be discussed.

    I do not know how helpful this is to native speakers, but I find myself questioning which tense to use sometimes, so it will at least be helpful for myself. :P


    Simple Past

    True to its name and very common in storytelling. Use this whenever something was done at a point in the past.

    He took the cake.
    She shot him.

    Past Perfect

    Similar in every aspect to the Simple Past, except that it is even further in the past. It is usually combined with a consequence of that action.

    I tried to open the door, but she had locked it.
    => She locked it before I tried to open the door.

    When I got out, she had already removed the body.
    => She removed the body before I got out.
    Opposed to the Simple Past
    I tried to open the door, but she locked it.
    => She locked the door when I tried to open it.

    When I got out, she removed the body.
    => She removed the body when I got out.
    Past Continuous

    Again, very similar to the Simple Past. However, the Past Continuous describes actions that happened during a timespan in the past instead of a point.

    She was looking for the cake when I found her.
    The demons were hiding from her.

    Past Perfect Continuous

    Describes something that happened before the past and was happening until another point in the past. It is like the Past Continuous, except that it is based on the Past Perfect.

    The demons had been waiting for her, but they fled.
    I had been meaning to tell a joke, so I told it to her.


    Simple Present

    The Simple Present describes an action in the present without a definite end, as well as regular occurences.

    She kills demons professionally.
    She dislikes my jokes.

    Present Perfect

    This tense is used to describe an action that happened at an indefinite point in the past, or an action that is still ongoing.

    I have found the cake.
    She has grown annoyed since she started looking for it.

    Present Continuous

    Using the Present Continuous indicates that something is happening at the moment and may (or may not) continue further, or when something happens frequently. Use this only with temporary actions.

    I am running to her to give her the cake.
    She is looking at me gleefully.

    Present Perfect Continuous

    When describing something that is still ongoing or something that has ended recently, this tense is used.

    I've been doing a lot of push-ups and sit-ups, and I drink plenty of juice.
    She has been doing that since she was born.


    Simple Future

    As it says, this is for things that haven't happened yet. "Will" is more formal than "going to".

    She will eat that cake.
    I'm not going to stop her.

    Future Perfect

    In case something is done before a point in the future, this tense is used.

    I could not stop her if I tried, because she will have eaten the cake before I get to her.
    She will have killed all demons by tomorrow.

    Future Continuous

    Much like all other continuous forms, it indicates an ongoing action, but in the future.

    Tomorrow, we will be dancing.
    She will be looking for another cake shortly after.

    Future Perfect Continuous

    For describing an action that will be happening until a certain point in the future.

    She will have been killing demons for 10 years tomorrow.
    I will have been finding cakes for exactly as long.
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  2. This is a great resource. Thanks for the effort!