In the overview of tenses, we list all the English tenses, along with examples of their construction and tips on correct usage.
- he goes
he is going
he has gone
he will go
With the simple present, we describe actions that are taking place in the present, happen once or repeatedly, happen one after the other, are generally true, or are predetermined by, for example, a train schedule.
- She often goes to the cinema.
The present progressive is the continuous form of the present tense. In English, we use it to describe actions that are taking place in the current moment and/or only temporarily.
- We are standing in front of the cinema.
We use the simple past to describe actions that took place in the past, that happened once or repeatedly.
- We were at the cinema yesterday.
With the past progressive in English, we emphasise the passing of time or process of an event in the past.
- They were waiting in front of the cinema.
The present perfect simple indicates that an action just took place and is still influencing the present.
- She has bought the tickets.
The present perfect progressive indicates that an action has lasted until the present moment, with emphasis on the process or passing of time.
- We have been queuing for the tickets for half an hour.
The past perfect simple is used for actions that took place before a certain point in the past.
- Before they went to the cinema, they had booked their tickets.
We use the past perfect progressive to emphasise the length of an action that took place before a certain point in the past.
- Before they got their tickets, they had been queuing for half an hour.
The future tense with will in English expresses a spontaneous decision, a supposition, or an event in the future that can’t be influenced.
- I will go to the cinema tonight.
The future tense with going to in English expresses a logical conclusion or a future action that is already prepared or planned.
- Jane and I are going to the cinema tonight.
With the future I progressive we emphasise the progress or length of time of an action that will take place in the future.
- At 9 pm we will be watching the film.
We use the future II simple to indicate that an action will have been completed by a certain point in the future.
- They will have returned from the cinema by 11 pm.
With the future II progressive we emphasise the process or length of time of an action until a certain point in the future.
- In two more minutes we will have been queuing for half an hour.
The conditional I tense is mostly used in Type II if-clauses. The conditional I expresses an action that could take place under other circumstances.
- He would go to the cinema with us if he had time.
The Conditional II is mostly used in Type III Conditional Sentences. The Conditional II expresses an action that might have taken place under other conditions in the past.
- If we had booked tickets in advance, we wouldn’t have had to queue.