Tenses

Business English Tenses

The three main tenses in English are:
present – past – future.

These three tenses are divided into four aspects namely:
the simple, the progressivethe perfect and the  perfect progressive.

Tenses
Usage
Triggers
Example

Simple Present

facts – planned actions – habits – expressions of emotion

always -every day – normally – often – seldom – sometimes – usually

Frank lives in England but he always goes on holiday to Germany.

Present Progressive

happens at the moment of speaking – temporary actions

now – right now – at the moment – presently – just (now)

I am working on my computer right now.

Simple Past

completed action in the past – habits in the past – ongoing action in the past – past facts – generalizations in the past

when – yesterday – 3 minutes ago – in 1964 – the other day – last friday 

In 1974, she travelled to Berlin and afterwards she visited her friend in London.

Past Progressive

interrupted action in the past – actions taking place at the same time – specific time as interruption – setting a scene for another action

while – as long as 

She came, while I was cleaning the house.

Present Perfect

experiences – changes – incomplete actions –  continuous actions until now – simultaneous actions in different times 

already – ever – just – not yet – never – so far – till now/up to now

I have never been in Brisbane yet. She has already started the project.

Present Perfect Progressive

continuous actions until now – an action that stopped just now or is still going on – completed actions that have an influence the present – 

recently – all day – lately – for 4 years – since 1954 – the whole week

Recently, I’ve been waiting for her about 1 hour. 

He has been having a great advantage.

Past Perfect

completed action in the past – stressing the importance of the action in the past 

already – just – never – not yet – once – until that day – by – then

I had already finished my homework by then.

Past Perfect Progressive

completed action in the past – stressing the time span or the procedure of an action 

for – since – the whole day – all day

She has been doing it all day.

Future I Simple

(will/going to)

‘will’- expression of spontaneous actions or promises 

‘going to’ – expression of plans

‘will’ or ‘going to’ expression of predictions

in a year – tomorrow – next week

It will rain tomorrow

I am going to visit my friend next year.

Future I Progressive

 

interrupted action in the future – specific time as interruption in the future – actions happening at the same time in the future – feelings in the future 

by Monday – in a week

I will have finished this project by Monday.

Future II Simple

an action that will be completed in a set time in the future  

by Monday – in a week

I will have finished this project by Monday.

Future II Progressive

an action that will take place before a definite time in the future – stress on the procedure of an action

for ….. the last couple of hours – all day long

If you come, I will have been waiting for hours.

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