Tense, Aspect & Voice

In English, there are 3 tenses and 4 aspects:
 
Tense             Aspect
Past               Simple
Present          Continuous/Progressive
Future            Perfect
                      Perfect Continuous
Find an example of each tense/aspect in this story:
Yesterday, while I was relaxing at home, I started to watch a tv series that my friends had been talking about for ages, but I had never seen before.
I'm still watching it now!  It's amazing, and I've watched 5 seasons so far. I've been watching it for 24 hours now, and in 24 more hours, I will have watched 10 seasons.
There are 20 seasons in total, so I'll be sitting here for a while.  In the end, I will have been watching tv for 4 days, and I'll probably regret it!
(Bonus question: which tense/aspect appears twice?)
 

The Past Simple

5 Tips to Help You Use The Past Simple Correctly

Past Simple: Examples of Connected Speech

As discussed in the video, here are some examples of a regular past simple verb (‘played’) followed by words beginning with vowels:

Past Simple Speaking Game!

Practise the Past Simple with this fun speaking game!

You can play it alone (try recording yourself to check your use of the past simple) or play with friends!

Don't forget that you can use the verb lists above to help you check the form of irregular verbs and the pronunciation of the '-ed' for regular verbs.

If you need a 'die' (plural: 'dice'), you can use an online one here: 

https://www.random.org/dice/?num=1

       DOWNLOAD FOR FREE HERE:

Past Simple Boardgame.png
 

The Past Continuous

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The Past Continuous is used for a variety of reasons.

It is used to talk about something that was in progress when it was interrupted by another event: "I was taking a shower when I heard the doorbell."

It can also be used to describe what we were doing at a particular point in time: "At 3pm yesterday, I was washing my hair. I wasn't robbing a bank!"

We can describe 2 actions that were in progress at the same time: "The dog was watching the aliens while the woman was watching the sunset."

We form the Past Continuous using 'was/were' (which one depends on the subject) + verb+'ing'.

 

The Past Perfect

One use of the past perfect is to talk about something that happened BEFORE another past event mentioned in the same sentence. You could also say, "Santa had forgotten him, SO the dog felt sad."

We form the Past Perfect using 'had' + V3 (Past participle)

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The Past Perfect Continuous

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As with the Past Perfect, we use the Past Perfect Continuous is to talk about something that happened BEFORE another past event mentioned in the same sentence.

 

We use the past perfect continuous instead of the past perfect (simple) to emphasise that it happened over a period of time.

The good news is that it's always:

                                  'had been' + verb(+ing) 😎

 

The Present Continuous

We can use the Present Continuous (or Present Progressive) to talk about things happening right now.  For example: you are reading this!

We form the Present Continuous like this: 

                 'am/are/is' + verb+'-ing'

Use the picture to make sentences using the Present Continuous!

 

The Present Perfect

The Present Perfect is used to introduce past experiences into a conversation. 🙂

It is formed using 'have' (present simple form) + V3 (past participle), e.g. 'I have crashed' or 'I've lived'. 👍

After we have introduced the topic, we then use the Past Simple to ask questions or give more information about this topic, e.g. 'When did you eat fugu?' > 'I ate it 9 years ago.' 🐡

We can the Present Perfect to talk about things that started in the past but have not finished yet. 🙂

In contrast, we use the Past Simple to talk about finished things, e.g. 'I lived in Malaysia from 2012 to 2015' or 'I lived in Malaysia for 3 years'. 😎

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The Present Perfect Continuous

The present perfect continuous (or present perfect progressive) is used in much the same way as the present perfect: to talk about actions that started in the past and continue to the present, and for recently stopped actions that have some kind of effect on the present. 🤯

We can often use either the present perfect or the present perfect continuous interchangeably. We use the present perfect continuous when we want to emphasise that the action has been going on for a long time (as in the picture), or to emphasise that the action is temporary ("I've been taking some time off work recently."). 😎

It is formed like this: have/has + 'been' + verb+'ing' 👍

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Future time clauses with present tenses

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There are many words or phrases that can be used before present tense verbs to talk about the future. 😎

We can use present simple with some expressions:
'I will study English as soon as I get home';
'I will study English the moment I get home
'I will study English when I get home';
'I will study English until I go to bed;
'I'll study English before I watch tv'. 👍

We can use present perfect in the same way if we want to emphasise that the action will be completed first:
'I will watch TV after/when/once I've studied some English';
'I will watch TV as soon as I've finished studying'. 👍

If you want to be really fancy, you can use 'by the time'+present perfect, future perfect (continuous), e.g. 'By the time you finish reading this, you will have learned more about future time clauses' or 'by the time I graduate, I will have been studying for 4 years'. 😎

 

The Passive Voice

The most important thing in a sentence is usually the subject of that sentence.  However, that thing might not be doing the action and might be having the action done to it.

For example, you could say, "Somebody stole the Mona Lisa."  However, the Mona Lisa is the most important thing in this sentence, so we should say, "The Mona Lisa was stolen."

To form The Passive, we use 'be' (in the correct tense) + V3 (Past participle)

The Passive is used (see what I did there?) more in Academic English than in regular English.

 

Relative Clauses

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Defining relative clauses provide essential information. If the woman just said 'That is the tree', you wouldn't know what she was talking about.
Conversely (good word 😉), you can remove a non-defining relative clause from a sentence and it will still makes sense ('This laptop is awesome for multi-player RPGs and FPSs'). Note that commas are used for non-defining relative clauses but not defining relative clauses.

Non-defining relative clauses are a great way to give extra information in a sentence or to paraphrase yourself.

For example, "One of my favourite foods is cottage pie, which is a British dish of mashed potato and beef." or, "I come from Bristol, which is in the south-west of England."

 

Conditionals

 

Embedded questions

Embedded questions are questions put inside (embedded in) longer questions. We often do this to sound more polite (see the 'Polite Requests' tip). 🙂

Note that the structure of the original question changes when it is embedded.

 

We do NOT say, "Do you know what is it?" 🧐

Another example: "

How much does it cost?" 》"

Can please tell me how much it costs?" (

NOT "Can you please tell me how much does it cost?") 😉

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Answers

Tense and Aspect

Yesterday, while I was relaxing at home, I started to watch a tv series that my friends had been talking about for ages, but I had never seen before.
I'm still watching it now!  It's amazing, and I've watched 5 seasons so far. I've been watching it for 24 hours now, and in 24 more hours, I will have watched 10 seasons.
There are 20 seasons in total, so I'll be sitting here for a while.  In the end, I will have been watching tv for 4 days, and I'll probably regret it!

Past Simple - I started

Past Continuous - I was relaxing

Past Perfect - I had never seen

Past Perfect Continuous - My friends had been talking

Present Simple - It's / There are (2 examples!)

Present Continuous - I'm still watching

Present Perfect - I've watched

Present Perfect Continuous - I've been watching

Future Simple - I'll probably regret

Future Continuous - I'll be sitting

Future Perfect - I will have watched

Future Perfect Continuous - I will have been watching

Present Perfect Game

I've never jumped of a 10-metre diving board.  I'm scared of heights!

 

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