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SIMPLE FORMS

1) Present Simple:

a) actions in general - something happens all the time or repeatedly (e.g. habit or custom) +
frequency adverbs: always, never, sometimes, ever, usually, often:

I usually work from 8am to 6pm.

b) actions in general - something is true in general:

The earth goes round the sun.

c) promises, suggestions, apologies, advice, insistence, agreement, refusal, begging, etc. (less
common, rather formal = an event which happens at the moment of speaking):

I promise I won’t be late.


I suggest…
I apologise…
I advise…
I insist…
I agree…
I refuse…
I beg…

d) special meanings:

- future time - fixed or planned events:

Tomorrow is Jane’s birthday.

- past time - the Historic Present used in telling stories (more exciting and like real life):

So she comes in, and says ‘Hello everybody’.

2) Past Simple:

- regular v irregular verbs (List of Irregular Verbs)

- forms: V-ed / V III


did not (didn’t) + V I

a) something which happened at a definite time in the past, or a series of actions:

I met him last year.

b) something which could not happen (or would be unlikely) in the present or future (unreal
present or future time):
If I owned a house, I would look after it properly.
Would you mind if I borrowed your pen?
3) Future Simple:
a) prediction (i.e. describing something known, expected to happen in the future):

It will be windy tomorrow.

b) decision about the immediate future:

- Which handbag do you want? - I’ll take the brown one, please.

PERFECT FORMS

1) Present Perfect:

a) there is a connection with now - the action in the past has a result now (usually, new
information):

The road is closed. There has been an accident.

b) + just = very recent events


+ already, still, yet = recent events or states
+ for, since = something which began in the past and has not changed

Have you just arrived? (= a short time ago)


Have you already arrived? (= sooner than expected)
Have you arrived yet? (expected to happen)

c) a period of time that continues from the past until now (+ ever, never = general experience):

I have never had a car.

d) + today, this evening/year (when these periods are not finished at the time of speaking):

I have drunk four cups of coffee today.

2) Past Perfect:

a) something that happened before a moment or another thing in the past:

When I arrived there, they had already gone home.

b) unreal past states and events:

If you had been born in Finland, you would have been Finnish.

3) Future Perfect:

a) an action will already be complete before a time in the future:

The film will have already started by the time we get to the cinema.
PROGRESSIVE FORMS

1) Present Continuous:

a) the action is happening now, at the time of speaking; it includes the time leading up to and
following the present moment, and is temporary:

She is driving to work.

e.g. I am doing something = I am in the middle of it; I’ve started doing it and I haven’t finished
yet.

Don’t disturb him! He’s having a shower.

b) the action is not necessarily happening at the time of speaking.

She wants to go to Italy, so she’s learning Italian.

c) + today, this week/year etc. (periods around now)

- You’re working hard today. - Yes, I have a lot to do.

d) changes happening around now, especially with the following verbs: get, change, become,
increase, rise, fall, grow, improve, begin, start

My English is getting better.

e) + always = unlimited period; the speaker is annoyed about something which keeps on
happening:

You’re always biting your nails.

2) Past Continuous:

a) the action or situation had already started before a certain time, but has not finished; it was in
progress in the past, i.e. it continued for a temporary period, but not up to the present:

I was doing something = I was in the middle of doing something at a certain time.

This time last year I was living in Brazil.

b) often, it is used together with the Past Simple to say that something happened in the middle of
something else:

Jane phoned while we were having dinner.

c) unreal present (in If-Clause):

I would be happier if I were losing weight.


3) Future Continuous:

a) I will be doing something = I will be in the middle of doing it:

This time next week I’ll be on holiday.

b) complete actions in the future:

I will be going away this summer.

PERFECT CONTINUOUS FORMS

1) Present Perfect Continuous:

a) an activity that has recently stopped or just stopped (an activity in the recent past); there is a
connection with now:

I have been running for half an hour.

b) an activity which is not finished; an action or activity which began in the past and has
continued up to the present:

He has been writing the story of his life.

(v Present Perfect: He has written the story of his life. = he has finished it)

c) actions repeated over a period of time:

She has been playing tennis since she was eight.

d) when the action has no adverbial, it often means that the results of the activity can still be
seen:

It’s been raining. (The streets are wet.)

* Present Perfect v Present Perfect Continuous

Who has eaten my sandwich? (The plate is empty.)


Who’s been eating my sandwich? (Some is left.)

It has snowed every winter for years. (A repeated occurrence)


It has been snowing all day. (A continuing activity)

I’ve read your book. (I have finished it.)


I’ve been reading your book. (I have not finished it.)

2) Past Perfect Continuous:


a) an action that had been happening for a period of time before something else happened in the
past:

We had been playing tennis for half an hour when the rain started.

3) Future Perfect Continuous:

a) an action that will be happening for a period of time before something else happened in the
future:

I shall have been finished writing my paper by the time you arrive.

FUTURE FORMS

1) WILL, SHALL

a) I will… = I decide to do something at the time of speaking:

Oh, I’ve left the door open; I’ll go and shut it.

b) offering / agreeing / promising / asking somebody to do something:

That bag looks heavy; I’ll help you with it.


Will you, please, …?

c) shall I/we…? = ask somebody’s opinion (especially in offers or suggestions):

Shall I open the window?

2) Present Continuous:

a) I am doing something tomorrow = I have already decided and arranged to do it

I am going to the theatre on Saturday evening.


b) an action just about to begin:

I am tired. I am going to bed now.

3) Present Simple:

a) timetables, programmes, etc. (for public transport, cinema, etc.):

My train leaves at 8:15 am.

b) future plans if they are fixed like a timetable (although the Present Continuous is more usual
for personal arrangements):
I start my new job on Monday.

4) BE GOING TO

I am going to do something = I have already decided to do something, I intend to do it:

I am not going to watch the late film, I am going to have an early night.

5) TO BE ABOUT TO + Verb, TO BE ON THE POINT OF + Verb-ing (near future):

He is about to announce the results.


He is on the point of announcing the results.

6) TO BE TO = fixed arrangements (made by someone else):

He is to go into hospital tomorrow.

EXERCISES

I. Supply the correct tense form of the verb in brackets.

1. I…………………… (be born) in 1977.


2. I …………………… (ride) through the woods yesterday afternoon.
3. Oh no, the Hook family …………………… (arrive)! They’re over there by the window
talking to Reverend White.
4. A compass …………………… (point) north.
5. Oh dear, I feel dreadful. I think I …………………… (faint).
6. I …………………… (write) my thesis all year, but I don’t think I’ll complete it until
after Christmas.
Look at that giraffe! It …………………… (rub) its neck against that tree.
7. They …………………… (build) that new car park all year. Will they ever finish it, do
you think?
8. Tony Blair …………………… (is) Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.
9. A: As you can see, Ahmed is cooking tonight. B: Well, it certainly ……………………
(smell) wonderful!
10. The famine …………………… (last) until 1997.
11. A: Mummy, why daddy …………………… (run) up and down making that funny
squawking noise? B: Well, he obviously …………………… (believe) he’s a bird, dear.
12. Next year we …………………… (have) our old Rolls Royce for 20 years.
13. Hey, that guy is climbing out on to the roof! Oh God, he …………………… (jump)!
Someone stop him!
14. A: Damn, I’ve left my wallet at home! B: Don’t worry. I …………………… (lend) you
some money.
15. A: Are you all right? Do you think you can get up? B: No, I think I ……………………
(break) my leg! Call an ambulance!
16. Light …………………… (travel) faster than sound.
17. Ronny, the phone …………………… (ring). Can you get it?
18. I …………………… (know) Mr Goodman since my childhood.
19. A: Did you book my flight? B: No, I forgot. I …………………… (call) the airport now.
20. At the time of last week’s gas attack on the Tokyo underground thousands of commuters
…………………… (return) from work.
21. The Earth …………………… (rotate) on its axis at a slight angle.
22. A: Oh dear, there goes my last bus. B: Don’t worry. I …………………… (drive) you
home.
23. I …………………… (decorate) my house all week, but I don’t think I’ll complete it
until Sunday.
24. E-mail …………………… (be) available at this university since 1992.
25. Damn, my computer …………………… (crash)! All that work for nothing!
26. A: Did you reserve some tickets for tomorrow’s concert? B: No, I forgot. I
…………………… (ring) the concert hall now.
27. Next week Miss Quimble …………………… (be) the headmistress of the school for 10
years.
28. A: Why is your husband already putting on his coat? B: Well, he obviously
…………………… (think) it’s time for us to leave.
29. I …………………… (hate) carrots since my schooldays.
30. They …………………… (repair) the motorway all year. Will they ever finish it, do you
think?
31. Pass me a handkerchief, quickly! I think I …………………… (sneeze).
32. At the time of last night’s accident on the M1 motorway, thousands of supporters
…………………… (drive) home from the football match.
33. That plane is flying far too low! It …………………… (crash) into the mountain!
34. Next year we …………………… (know) the Jenkins family for 20 years.
35. Look at that dog! It …………………… (chase) its own tail!
36. Oh God, our daughter …………………… (swallow) our wedding ring! Shall we call a
doctor?
37. I …………………… (walk) past the library yesterday evening when I saw my new
French teacher.
The tap …………………… (drip) in the bathroom, dear. Could you go and turn it off
properly?
38. A thermometer …………………… (measure) temperature.
39. What’s that tune you’re playing? It …………………… (sound) very familiar.

II. Put the verbs in brackets into the tense indicated. Choose between the simple aspect and the
continuous aspect.

Jenny and Francesca, two friends, are talking.


1. J: So what is it that ……………………. (worry - present) you?
2. F: Well, I just ……………………. (not see - present) a way out of my problems with
my boss.
3. J: Why? What……………………. (go on - present perfect)?
4. F: Well, we ……………………. (go out - past) for dinner about a month ago and I
……………………. (think - present) he ……………………. (assume - past) that I
…………………….(be interested - past) in going out with him regularly, but I'm not.
5. J: ……………………. (you/tell - past) him that?
6. F: Yes, of course I have, but he just ……………………. (not seem - present) to
understand. Take yesterday for example. I……………………. (work - past) hard on my
monthly report when he ……………………. (come up - past) to me
and……………………. (put - past) his arm round my shoulder. I really
……………………. (not like - present) him doing that.
7. J: No, of course. I ……………………. (suppose - present) he ……………………. (not
believe - present) you're not interested in him.
8. F: No. And he ……………………. (get - present) worse all the time. And
I……………………. (get - present) more and more fed up with it. In fact I
……………………. (think - present) of leaving.
9. J: But ……………………. (you really want - present) to leave?
10. F: Well no, but I ……………………. (not want - present) to be treated like this. Oh
well, he's not here today, thank goodness. He ……………………. (attend - present) a
conference in
11. Birmingham. I ……………………. (expect - present) he ……………………. (talk -
present) to all the attractive women and ……………………. (try - present) to find
someone to have dinner with.
12. J: I can tell you really ……………………. (dislike - present) him.

III. Fill in the blanks with the proper form of the verb (either Present Simple or Continuous):

1. Cuckoos …………………………… nests. They …………………………… the nests of


other birds. (not build, use)
2. You can’t …………………………… Tom now. He …………………………… a bath.
(see, have)
3. He usually …………………………… coffee but today he ………………………… tea.
(drink 2x)
4. What she …………………………… in the evening? – She usually
………………………… cards or …………………………… TV. (do, play, watch)
5. I ………………………… out now as it ……………………………and I
…………………………… an umbrella. (not go, rain, not have)
6. The last train …………………………… the station at 11:30pm. (leave)
7. He usually …………………………… quickly so I …………………………… him.
(speak, not understand)
8. Ann …………………………… a dress for herself at the moment. She
…………………………… all her own clothes. (make 2x)
9. I …………………………… my sunglasses today as the sun is very strong. (wear)
10. Joan …………………………… busy at the moment. He …………………………… the
sitting-room. (be, redecorate)
11. You ………………………… yourself? – Oh yes, I ………………………… myself very
much. I …………………………… to stay to the end. (enjoy 2x, want)
12. How you …………………………… to work as a rule? – I usually
…………………………… by bus, but today I …………………………… in John’s car.
(get, go 2 x)
13. Why you …………………………… on your coat? – I …………………………… for a
walk. You …………………………… with me? (put, go, come)
14. How much we …………………………… him? You …………………………… to pay
him? (owe, intend)
15. Mary usually …………………………… languages very quickly, but she can’t
…………………………… modern Greek. (learn 2x)
16. You …………………………… this necklace? I …………………………… it to my
daughter for her birthday tomorrow. (like, give)
17. I always …………………………… and, if I …………………………… too much
supper, I …………………………… nightmares. (dream, eat, have)
18. The milk …………………………… sour. You …………………………… milk a long
time? (smell, keep)
19. These workmen …………………………… never satisfied; they always
…………………………… (be, complain)
20. What you …………………………… for? – I …………………………… for my change;
the boy just …………………………… it. (wait 2x, get)

IV. Put the verbs in brackets into the Present Simple or Present Continuous.

1. Debbie …………………………(work) as an administrator at the university. She


………………………… (organise) all the timetables and teaching schedules. She
………………………… (work) very long hours at the moment because it's the start of the
academic year but she ………………………… (go) on a short holiday at the end of the month.

2. Simon and Sylvia ………………………… (stay) in a cottage in the Yorkshire Dales this
month. The cottage ………………………… (belong) to a cousin of Sylvia's but the cousin is
away: she ………………………… (cycle) around Norfolk for a few weeks. Simon and Sylvia
often ………………………… (use) the cottage when Sylvia's cousin is away. They
really………………………… (enjoy) being in the middle of the countryside.

3. The International School for Languages …………………………… (do) very well at the
moment. About two hundred students ……………………………(take) evening classes this
term. Many of them …………………………… (need) to learn a new language to improve their
job prospects but some of them ……………………………(learn) a new language purely for
pleasure. The European languages …………………………… (be) very popular but Japanese
and Russian ………………………… (get) more popular too. The school
……………………………(provide) good learning facilities and …………………………
(organise) a range of study tours.

4. The world population …………………………… (still increase) rapidly. Many people in the
world …………………………… (already starve) and many more …………………………
(suffer) from malnutrition. The population ………………………… (grow) fastest in the poorest
countries where people ………………………… (need) to have children to look after them in
their old age and where many of their children ………………………… (die) at a very young
age.

V. Put the verbs in brackets into the Past Simple or Past Continuous.

Here he ……………………. (be), Davey Stark, the big rock star. It ……………………. (be)
the end of an exhausting two-hour concert. The fans ……………………. (scream) and
……………………. (shout). They ……………………. (want) Davey, their hero. His face
……………………. (pour) with sweat, his hair ……………………. (drip) and his heart
……………………. (thump) violently. But he ……………………. (love) these moments at the
end of a concert. He always ……………………. (feel) powerful and in control. He
……………………. (decide) to do one more song for the crowd: one of his most popular. When
he ……………………. (start) singing, the crowd ……………………. (go) wild. By the end of
the song, they ……………………. (all/dance) and ……………………. (clap) their hands.
When Davey ……………………. (leave) the stage, he ……………………. (be) exhausted but
exhilarated. But when he ……………………. (get back) to the dressing room, he
……………………. (open) the door and ……………………. (see) that two men
……………………. (wait) for him. They ……………………. (lock) the door behind Davey.
He ……………………. (shout) for his bodyguard Bernard, but no-one …………………….
(come). The two men ……………………. (tie) his hands behind his back, …………………….
(blindfold) and ……………………. (gag) him. Davey ……………………. (can hear) Bernard
in the next room. Bernard ……………………. (talk) to someone and he …………………….
(say) terrible things about Davey. He ……………………. (say) that Davey …………………….
(deserve) it. ……………………. (Deserve) what? What ……………………. (he/mean)? What
……………………. (go on)? Why 3……………………. (not someone tell) him what
……………………. (happen)?

VI. Put the verbs in brackets into the Past Simple or Past Perfect Simple.

James ……………………. (sit) outside the office waiting for the interview. He
……………………. (feel) so nervous that he ……………………. (not know) what to do with
himself. The person who ……………………. (go in) before him ……………………. (be) in
there for nearly an hour. And she ……………………. (look) so confident when she
……………………. (go) in. Not like James. He ……………………. (feel) sure that she
……………………. (already get) the job. The problem ……………………. (be) that he
……………………. (want) this job so much. It ……………………. (mean) everything to him.
He ……………………. (think) about it such a lot before the day of the interview. He
……………………. (imagine) himself performing brilliantly at the interview and being offered
the job immediately. But now here he ……………………. (be) feeling terrible. He
……………………. (cannot remember) all those things he ……………………. (plan) to say.
At that moment, he ……………………. (almost decide) to get up and leave. But no - he
……………………. (have to do) this. He ……………………. (spend) so much time thinking
about it that he ……………………. (cannot give up) like that. His hands …………………….
(be) hot and sticky and his mouth ……………………. (feel) dry. Finally the door of the office
……………………. (open). The woman who ……………………. (go in) an hour earlier
……………………. (come out) looking very pleased with herself. She …………………….
(smile) sympathetically at James. At that moment James ……………………. (hate) her.
The managing director then ……………………. (appear) at the office door.
‘Would you like to come in now, Mr Davis? I’m sorry to have kept you waiting.’
James ……………………. (suddenly wish) that he ……………………. (go) home after all. He
……………………. (get up), legs shaking and forehead sweating and …………………….
(wonder) whether he ……………………. (look) as terrified as he ……………………. (feel).

VII. Rewrite the following passages putting the verbs into the Present Perfect Simple or Past
Simple.

1. News has just come in (just come in) that there ……………………. (be) an air crash
somewhere off the south coast of England. There ……………………. (be) 120 passengers and
crew on the plane and it is understood that no survivors ……………………. (be found).
Apparently the plane ……………………. (go) mysteriously out of control and
……………………. (plunge) into the sea. Relatives of most of the passengers and crew
……………………. (now be informed) and many of them ……………………. (set off) for the
sea rescue base, but they ……………………. (not be given) much hope. Most of the passengers
……………………. (be) on business.

2. Despite the problems that the government ……………………. (have) in the last two years, it
……………………. (somehow manage) to stay in power. There ……………………. (be) a
number of scandals involving government ministers, including one rumour about the Prime
Minister himself. It is said that he ……………………. (promise) gifts to certain Members of
Parliament in exchange for their vote before he ……………………. (be elected) leader. In spite
of all this, the government ……………………. (maintain) its position in Parliament and
……………………. (claim) that this ……………………. (be) the most successful term of
office that a government ……………………. (ever have).This is rather surprising as they
……………………. (come) to power with only a small majority.

VIII. Rewrite the following passage, making all the necessary tense changes.

It's 10 o'clock at night. The offices of 'The Daily News' are buzzing with excitement. The
deadline for the paper is in half an hour and they are frantically trying to finish the front page.
Everyone has been working all evening without a break. Some of the journalists have been at the
office since early morning. They have all been trying to get an exclusive story, to find out
something that no other journalist has discovered. The main story is a big one. The Prime
Minister has resigned. Everyone knows that his government has had lots of problems in the last
year but his resignation is nonetheless a big surprise. Rumours have been going round all day
about the real reasons for the announcement. Some say that he has been involved in some
financial scandal. Others say that he has been seeing another woman. All the papers have been
working all day to get the best story. And they've been doing their best to find out what the other
papers have said. The whole day has been very tense. Suddenly the editor asks everyone to be
quiet. There is a telephone call from the Prime Minister's office.

Example: It was 10 o'clock at night. The offices of 'The Daily News' were buzzing with
excitement.

IX. Put the verbs into the be going to future or the shall/will future. If both tenses are possible,
choose the one that is most appropriate for the context. With the verbs to go or to come use the
present continuous as future instead of the be going to future.

Two friends, Jack and David, are talking.


1. J: Have you decided what you ……………………. (do) this weekend?
2. D: Yes, we ……………………. (have) a quiet day on Saturday and then on Sunday we
……………………. (take) a bus up into the mountains and do some walking. And we
……………………. (probably book into) a hotel there for the night. What about you?
……………………. (you/do) lots of work as usual?
3. J: Well, no. Mark phoned last night about coming down this weekend.
4. D: Really?
5. J: Yes, he ……………………. (come) on Friday.
6. D: Oh, I'd like to see him. I think I ……………………. (phone him up) tonight and
arrange something.
7. J: Well, we're planning to spend the day on the beach on Saturday. We
……………………. (do) some swimming and sunbathing. I just hope the weather
……………………. (be) warm enough. And then on Saturday night we
……………………. (see) that new film with Tom Cruise.
8. D: Well, as I've got nothing planned, I ……………………. (join) you at the beach on
Saturday then, if that's OK.
9. J: Of course it is. I……………………. (pick you up) from your flat some time after
breakfast.
10. D: Oh thanks. ……………………. (I/bring) a picnic?
11. J: Yes. Why not? I tell you what: Mark and I ……………………. (make) some
sandwiches and ……………………. (you/bring) some salad and fruit?
12. D: Yes, fine. I ……………………. (do) that. Good. That ……………………. (save) us
all the cost of eating out. And what about the film? What time …………………….
(you/see) that?
13. J: We ……………………. (see) the early showing at 6.00 and then we
……………………. (try out) that new disco in town.
14. D: Right. Well, I think I ……………………. (spend) the evening at home with Sarah.
J: O.K. So I ……………………. (see) you on Saturday morning, probably at around 10
o'clock.
15. D: Fine.

X. Where possible, put the verbs in brackets into the Present Simple. Where this is not possible,
use the will future.

A teacher is giving some students the details of a forthcoming trip.

The coach ……………………. (leave) here at 9.00 a.m., and we ……………………. (arrive) at
the field study centre before lunch. When we ……………………. (get) there, you
……………………. (be shown) to your rooms and ……………………. (be given) time to
unpack. Lunch ……………………. (be served) in the dining-room at 12.30 precisely so make
sure you ……………………. (not get) there late. When lunch ……………………. (finish), it
……………………. (be) time to get ready for our first activity: a walk down to the beach to
look at the rock pools. Nets, magnifying glasses and containers ……………………. (be
provided) by the centre. It the weather ……………………. (be) fine, we …………………….
(stay) on the beach for the whole of the afternoon. Otherwise, we ……………………. (go back)
to the centre after an hour or two and watch a video on seashore life. You …………………….
(be expected) to keep a written record of everything that you ……………………. (find) and we
……………………. (look) at all the records when we ……………………. (get back) to school
at the end of the week. Mr McNeill, the field study supervisor, is very knowledgeable and I'm
sure that he ……………………. (help) you to identify anything that you …………………….
(not recognize). Supper ……………………. (be served) at 6.00, and at 8.00 there
……………………. (be) an evening activity. On the first night, Mr McNeill
……………………. (plan) to go on a moonlight walk with us to look for bats. It is important
that you ……………………. (stay) together on this walk. Please don't wander off. It
……………………. (not be) easy for us to find you if you ……………………. (get lost) in the
dark. Behave sensibly and I'm sure you ……………………. (all have) a wonderful time.