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Table of English Tenses

tense Affirmative/Negative/Question Use Signal Words

always, every , never,


Simple A: He speaks. action in the present taking normally, often, seldom,
Present N: He does not speak. place regularly, never or several sometimes, usually
Q: Does he speak? if sentences type I (If
times Italk, )
facts
actions taking place one after
another
action set by a timetable or
schedule
Present A: He is speaking. at the moment, just, just
Progressive N: He is not speaking. action taking place in the now, Listen!, Look!,
Q: Is he speaking? moment of speaking now, right now

action taking place only for a


limited period of time
action arranged for the future
Simple Past A: He spoke. yesterday, 2 minutes
N: He did not speak. action in the past taking ago, in 1990, the other
Q: Did he speak? place once, never or several times day, last Friday
if sentence type II (If
actions taking place one after Italked, )
another
action taking place in the middle of
another action
Past A: He was speaking. while, as long as
Progressive N: He was not speaking. action going on at a certain time in
Q: Was he speaking? the past
actions taking place at the same
time
action in the past that is interrupted
by another action
Present A: He has spoken. already, ever, just, never,
Perfect N: He has not spoken. putting emphasis on the result not yet, so far, till now,
Simple Q: Has he spoken? up to now
action that is still going on
action that stopped recently
finished action that has an
influence on the present
action that has taken place once,
never or several times before the
moment of speaking
Present A: He has been speaking. all day, for 4 years, since
Perfect N: He has not been speaking. putting emphasis on the course or 1993, how long?, the
Progressive Q: Has he been speaking? duration (not the result) whole week

action that recently stopped or is


still going on
finished action that influenced the
present
Past A: He had spoken. already, just, never, not
Perfect N: He had not spoken. action taking place before a certain yet, once, until that day
Simple Q: Had he spoken? time in the past if sentence type III (If
Ihad talked, )
sometimes interchangeable with
past perfect progressive
putting emphasis only on
the fact (not the duration)
Past A: He had been speaking. for, since, the whole day,
Perfect N: He had not been speaking. action taking place before a certain all day
Progressive Q: Had he been speaking? time in the past
sometimes interchangeable with
past perfect simple
putting emphasis on the duration
or course of an action
Future I A: He will speak. in a year, next ,
Simple N: He will not speak. action in the future that cannot be tomorrow
Q: Will he speak? influenced If-Satz Typ I (If you ask
her, she will help you.)
spontaneous decision assumption: I think,
probably, perhaps
assumption with regard to the
future
Future I A: He is going to speak. in one year, next week,
Simple N: He is not going to speak. decision made for the future tomorrow
Q: Is he going to speak?
conclusion with regard to the
(going to)
future
Future I A: He will be speaking. in one year, next week,
Progressive N: He will not be speaking. action that is going on at a certain tomorrow
Q: Will he be speaking? time in the future
action that is sure to happen in the
near future
Future II A: He will have spoken. by Monday, in a week
Simple N: He will not have spoken. action that will be finished at a
Q: Will he have spoken? certain time in the future
Future II A: He will have been speaking. for , the last couple of
Progressive N: He will not have been action taking place before a certain hours, all day long
speaking. time in the future
Q: Will he have been speaking?
putting emphasis on the courseof
an action
Conditional A: He would speak. if sentences type II
I Simple N: He would not speak. action that might take place (If I were you, I would
Q: Would he speak? go home.)
Conditional A: He would be speaking.
I N: He would not be speaking. action that might take place
Progressive Q: Would he be speaking? putting emphasis on
the course/ duration of the action
Conditional A: He would have spoken. if sentences type III
II Simple N: He would not have spoken. action that might have taken place (If I had seen that,
Q: Would he have spoken? in the past Iwould have helped.)

Conditional A: He would have been speaking.


II N: He would not have been action that might have taken place
Progressive speaking. in the past
Q: Would he have been speaking?
puts emphasis on
the course / duration of the action