Grammar bank

GRAMMAR BANK

The present

Present simple (I walk)
The present simple is used for general facts about the present descriptions, habits, routines, and schedules.

Turkey has a population of around 72 million. (general fact)
This new model looks very modern. (description)
I start work at 7.30. (routine)
The ferry leaves Milazzo at 8.00. (schedule)

The present simple is used for stative verbs.
These are verbs used to describe ways of thinking, possession, and senses (taste, hear, feel, etc.).

I don’t like long meetings. (way of thinking)
The parent company owns four subsidiaries. (possession)
I like your velvet coat. It feels lovely. (sense)

Present continuous (I am walking)
The present continuous is used to talk about actions at the time of speaking, actions happening around now, and temporary actions.

He’s eating lunch at the moment.
(time of speaking)
I’m working

on a project in Lincoln far six months.
(happening around now)
The company is waiting for news of the takeover.
(temporary actions)

It is also used to express irritation at an annoying situation that often happens.
He’s always working from home when I need to speak to him!
It is used to talk about the future to refer to definite future arrangements.
I’m meeting Pekka from head office at three this afternoon.

Present perfect (I have walked)
The present perfect is used for actions which took place in the past.
But it is used to describe actions in unfinished time periods, or for actions that have very recently finished.
It may be used to report news.
I have worked here for fifteen years.
(unfinished time period =fifteen years ago to now)
We haven’t heard any news.
(unfinished time period = from start of waiting to now)
Tom’s been to Lisbon five times. (unfinished time period = Tom’s entire life up to now)
I’ve just sent the report!
Now I can relax.
(very recently finished)
The managing director has resigned! (news)

The present perfect continuous
The present perfect continuous (I have been working) is used in a similar way to the present perfect.
It is preferred when we want to emphasize how long an action has taken.
Andrea’s been cycling around Chile for six months.
The present perfect continuous is often used to talk about a past action with a visible present result.
He has been working non-stop for forty-eight hours and he looks like he’ll fall asleep any minute.
(past action = working non-stop, present result = he looks like he’ll fall asleep)

The past

Past simple (I walked)
The past simple is used for actions that happened in finished time periods.
I worked in La Coruna for five years in the 1980s.
(finished time period = the 1980s)
Kai spoke to the suppliers yesterday.
(finished time period = yesterday)

Past continuous (I was walking)
The past simple is the most common tense used for past actions.
The past continuous is often used with the past simple to emphasize background information, and longer actions.
When I arrived in Sweden, the wind was blowing and the snow was falling heavily. (= background information, weather)
Fabio dropped all his papers while he was giving his presentation. (shorter action = dropped papers, longer action = was giving his presentation)

Past perfect (I had walked)
The past simple is the most common tense used for past actions.
The past perfect is used with the past simple to show earlier actions.
When I got back to the room, I discovered he had left.
Often, however, the past simple is used in both cases.



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