Which English tenses do I need to learn? | English Time Ask Elo

by Jun 11, 2019English Grammar Tips, English Time Ask Elo

Which English tenses do I need to learn? | English Time Ask Elo

 

Elo Kasia

 

English Time Ask Elo (09/06/2019)

 

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Which English tenses do I need to learn? | English Time Ask Elo

 

Asked by @ Egide Sabumukiza  (Community Leaner)

 

Which English tenses do I need to learn? | English Time Ask Elo

 

Answered by Elo Kasia

 

Elo Kasia is the English Mentor for  Which English tenses do I need to learn English Grammar and Speaking Academy”  now.

 

 

Which English tenses do I need to learn | English Time Ask Elo

Which English tenses do I need to learn | English Time Ask Elo

 

 

? Question Time: Which English tenses do I need to learn? | English Time Ask Elo

 

? @ Egide Sabumukiza, Thank you for your question.

 

? As usual, I will try to explain the difference using simple language and plenty of examples.

 
 
 
 

Many students are confused about English tenses. What is a tense? Tense is the form of a verb (verbs express action) that shows the time something happens.

 

Tense can be shown by changing the spelling of a verb. For example, be can become am, is, and are in present tense, and was and were in past tense. Future tense is shown by adding will before the verb. For example, be becomes will be in future tense.

 

Although we are taught at school that English has 12 tenses, only some of them are used regularly. In fact, 5 main tenses account for 95% of all usage in spoken English!

 

Which tenses are used most often? Present Simple, Past Simple, Future Simple, Present Perfect, Present Continuous. The Present Simple tense accounts for almost 60% of all usage with Past Simple at almost 20% and Future Simple at 8%.

 

5 Most Common English Verb Tenses

  1. Simple Present – 57.51%
  2. Simple Past – 19.7%
  3. Simple Future – 8.5%
  4. Present Perfect – 6.0%
  5. Present Progressive – 5.1%

(source )

In order to communicate, we need to be able to talk about the present, the past and the future. My advice is master these tenses first: learn how to ask questions (yes/no and questions words), memorise short answers (remember – the clue is always in the question), practise as much as you can with different verbs, constructions and sentences before moving on to more difficult ones. Bear in mind that you are going to need them 95% of the time!

So, below, a short explanation of the most common tenses and how to use them when talking about the present, the past and the future.

Talking about the present. In English, there are two ways of talking about the present.

1. We talk about things which are always true (I live in the UK. I am a teacher. I love tomatoes.), and our routine activities, that is, things we do every day, always, usually, sometimes, rarely or never.

2. We talk about things happening now, at the moment of speaking or around now.

1. Things which are generally true, facts, and things we do regularly in our lives. (This tense is called Present Simple)

  1. I work in an office.
  2. BBC stands for British Broadcasting Corporation.
  3. My sister gets up at 5 o’clock every day.
  4. We don’t read books anymore, we never have time.

 

2. Things happening NOW, or around now. (This tense is called Present Continuous or Present Progressive)

  1. I’m sitting at my desk now.
  2. I’m not working this week, I’m on annual leave.
  3. Sandra is finishing her exams this month.

 

Talking about the past. There are two main ways in which we talk about the past.

1. To talk about a specified time in the past and the action is finished/ completed. (Past Simple)

  1. I talked to him on the phone yesterday.
  2. I went to the shop last Monday.

 

2. To talk about unspecified time in the past (there is usually some connection with now) or something that has just happened or finished.(Present Perfect)

  1. I have never been to China. (up to now)
  2. She has never eaten snails. (up to now)
  3. I’ve finished my homework. Can I go to play now? (just completed)

 

Talking about the future. There are two main ways in which we talk about the future.

1. To talk about plans and intentions. (Present Continuous – although it is a present tense, it is very often used for the future)

  1. We are going to the cinema tonight.
  2. Is he driving to the shops this afternoon?

 

2. To talk about something decided at the moment of speaking or to predict the future.

 

  1. I will go and talk to him now! I can’t believe he said that.
  2. People will live even longer in 50 years’ time.

 

So these are the tenses you will need 95% of the time. There are only 5 of them, so make sure you know them well before you progress to the more demanding ones. Of course, you will become familiar with other tenses as you learn and that would allow you to express yourself better with time.

Last week, we learnt some of the most common tenses, this week we will continue posting grammar explanations and a lot of exercises to give you a chance to practise.

 
 
 
 
 
Which English tenses do I need to learn Elo Kasia is the Community Mentor for English Grammar and Speaking Academy”  and Director at Eloquent Learning Online School www.eloquentlearning.com.

 

Elo Kasia

Director at Eloquent Learning - A Professional Education Company Located In UK. , Strategy Partner of Chatsifieds.com

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