How to Use the Correct Tense in English

Learning verb tenses is one of the most important tasks in any language learning. There are a number of resources at the site that will help you learn tense rules, practice using verbs in different tenses, read sample sentences in a variety of tenses, teach tenses in class, and more.


These explanation resources provide the rules for each tense, as well as examples of proper tense use. Use the time expression commonly used with the tense, as well as the example sentences to help you get started.

Present Simple Every day – When do you get up? / Tom usually eats lunch at home.
Present Continuous Now – She’s watching TV at the moment. / I’m not working, I’m reading a newspaper.
Past Simple Yesterday – They went on vacation last July. / Where did you meet Tim?
Past Continuous Yesterday, at X o’clock They were watching TV at 5 o’clock yesterday. / What were you doing when he came home?
Present Perfect Since / For – I’ve lived here a long time. / Have you ever seen that film?
Past Simple vs. Present Perfect I’ve lived here for many years. vs. I lived there before I moved to New York.
Present Perfect Continuous Since / For + Time – We’ve been working since 8 this morning. / What has she been doing recently?
Past Perfect Already – They had already eaten when she arrived. / Had you finished the report by the time he asked for it?
Future with Will Tomorrow, Next week – We’ll get together next week. / Will you be able to come tomorrow?
Future with Going to Tomorrow, Next year, semester, etc. – They’re going to study Russian next semester. / Where are you going to stay?
Future Perfect By, By the time – I’ll have finished by the time he arrives. / Will you have done the work by six?
Future Continuous At X o’clock, This time next year, month, week / What will you be doing this time next year? – She’ll be working tomorrow at 10 o’clock.
Conditional Forms If questions – What would you do if you had enough time? / If she is in town, she’ll come to the meeting.

Alternate Conditional Forms

Modal Forms Asking Permission, Giving Advice, etc. – May I help you? / He should see a doctor.
Modal Verbs of Probability Stating guesses – He must have stayed at home today. / She might be downstairs.