TenseSignal wordsUseFormExamples affirmativeExamples negativeExamples interrogative
Simple Present or Present Simple
  • every day
  • sometimes
  • always
  • often
  • usually
  • seldom
  • never
  • first … then
  • something happens repeatedly
  • how often something happens
  • one action follows another
  • things in general
  • with the following verbs (to love, to hate, to think, etc.)
  • future meaning: timetables, programmes
infinitive (he/she/it) + -swork.don’t work.Do I work?
He works.He doesn’t work.Does he work?
go.don’t go.Do I go?
He goes.He doesn’t go.Does he go?
Progressive or
Present Continuous
  • now
  • at the moment
  • Look!
  • Listen!
  • something is happening at the same time of speaking or around it
  • future meaning: when you have already decided and arranged to do it (a fixed plan, date)
to be (am/are/is) + infinitive + -ingI‘m working.I‘m not working.Am I working?
He‘s working.He isn’t working.Is he working?
I‘m going.I‘m not going.Am I going?
He‘s going.He isn’t going.Is he going?
Simple Past or Past Simple
  • last …
  • … ago
  • in 1990
  • yesterday
action finished in the past, mostly connected with an expression of time (no connection to the present)
  • regular: infinitive + -ed
  • irregular: 2nd column of table of irregular verbs
worked.didn’t work.Did I work?
He worked.He didn’t work.Did he work?
went.didn’t go.Did I go?
He went.He didn’t go.Did he go?
Progressive or
Past Continuous
  • an action happened in the middle of another action
  • someone was doing sth. at a certain time (in the past) – you do not know whether it was finished or not
was/were + infinitive + -ingwas working.wasn’t working.Was I working?
He was working.He wasn’t working.Was he working?
was going.wasn’t going.Was I going?
He was going.He wasn’t going.Was he going?
  • just
  • yet
  • never
  • ever
  • already
  • so far
  • up to now
  • since
  • for
  • recently
  • you say that sth. has happened or is finished in the past and it has a connection to the present
  • action started in the past and continues up to the present
have/has + past participle*have worked.haven’t worked.Have I worked?
He has worked.He hasn’t worked.Has he worked?
have gone.haven’t gone.Have I gone?
He has gone.He hasn’t gone.Has he gone?
Present Perfect Progressive or Present Perfect Continuous
  • all day
  • the whole day
  • how long
  • since
  • for
  • action began in the past and has just stopped
  • how long the action has been happening
  • emphasis: length of time of an action
have/has + been + infinitive + -inghave been working.haven’t been working.Have I been working?
He has been working.He hasn’t been working.Has he been working?
have been going.haven’t been going.Have I been going?
He has been going.He hasn’t been going.Has he been going?
Simple Past Perfect or Past Perfect (Simple)
  • already
  • just
  • never
  • mostly when two actions in a story are related to each other: the action which had already happened is put into Past Perfect, the other action into Simple Past
  • the past of Present Perfect
had + past participle*had worked.hadn’t worked.Had I worked?
He had worked.He hadn’t worked.Had he worked?
had gone.hadn’t gone.Had I gone?
He had gone.He hadn’t gone.Had he gone?
Past Perfect Progressive or Past Perfect Continuous
  • how long
  • since
  • for
how long something had been happening before something else happenedhad + been + infinitive + inghad been working.hadn’t been working.Had I been working?
He had been working.He hadn’t been working.Had he been working?
had been going.hadn’t been going.Had I been going?
He had been going.He hadn’t been going.Had he been going?
will – future
  • predictions about the future (you think that sth. will happen)
  • you decide to do sth. spontaneously at the time of speaking, you haven’t made a decision before
  • main clause in type I of the if clauses
will + infinitiveI‘ll work.won’t work.Will I work?
He‘ll work.He won’t work.Will he work?
I‘ll go.won’t go.Will I go?
He‘ll go.He won’t go.Will he go?
going to – future
  • when you have already decided to do sth. in the future
  • what you think what will happen
to be (am/are/is) + going to + infinitiveI‘m going to work.I‘m not going to work.Am I going to work?
He‘s going to work.He‘s not going to work.Is he going to work?
I‘m going to go.I‘m not going to go.Am I going to go?
He‘s going to go.He‘s not going to go.Is he going to go?
Future Progressive or Future Continuous
  • An action will be in progress at a certain time in the future. This action has begun before the certain time.
  • Something happens because it normally happens.
will + be + infinitive + ingI‘ll be working.won’t be working.Will I be working?
He‘ll be working.He won’t be working.Will he be working?
I‘ll be going.won’t be going.Will I be going?
He‘ll be going.He won’t be going.Will he be going?
Simple Future Perfect or Future Perfect Simplesth. will already have happened before a certain time in the futurewill + have + past participle*I‘ll have worked.won’t have worked.Will I have worked?
He‘ll have worked.He won’t have worked.Will he have worked?
I‘ll have gone.won’t have gone.Will I have gone?
He‘ll have gone.He won’t have gone.Will he have gone?
Future Perfect Progressive or Future Perfect Continuous
  • sth. will already have happened before a certain time in the future
  • emphasis: length of time of an action
will + have + been + infinitive + ingI‘ll have been working.won’t have been working.Will I have been working?
He‘ll have been working.He won’t have been working.Will he have been working?
I‘ll have been going.won’t have been going.Will I have been going?
He‘ll have been going.He won’t have been going.Will he have been going?
Conditional Simple
  • sth. that might happen
  • main clause in type II of the Conditional sentences
would + infinitivewould work.wouldn’t work.Would I work?
He would work.He wouldn’t work.Would he work?
would go.wouldn’t go.Would I go?
He would go.He wouldn’t go.Would he go?
Conditional Progressive or Conditional Continuous
  • sth. that might happen
  • emphasis: length of time of an action
would + be + infinitive + ingwould be working.wouldn’t be working.Would I be working?
He would be working.He wouldn’t be working.Would he be working?
would be going.wouldn’t be going.Would I be going?
He would be going.He wouldn’t be going.Would he be going?
Conditional Perfect
  • sth. that might have happened in the past (It’s too late now.)
  • main clause in type III of the if clauses
would + have + past participle*would have worked.wouldn’t have worked.Would I have worked?
He would have worked.He wouldn’t have worked.Would he have worked?
would have gone.wouldn’t have gone.Would I have gone?
He would have gone.He wouldn’t have gone.Would I have gone?
Conditional Perfect Progressive or Conditional Perfect Continuous
  • sth. that might have happened in the past (It’s too late now.)
  • emphasis: length of time of an action
would + have + been + infinitive + ingwould have been working.wouldn’t have been working.Would I have been working?
He would have been going.He wouldn’t have been going.Would he have been working?
would have been going.wouldn’t have been going.Would I have been going?
He would have been going.He wouldn’t have been going.Would he have been going?