Tense and aspect, although they are two different categories, always appear together. There are six tenses and two aspects in English.
|progressive (or continuous)|
With reference to tense and aspect, we can speak about the following structures in practical usage. All English Tenses with Examples!
(Note: progressive aspect is often called continuous.)
(present tense + common aspect)
1. Usual, regular action:
- I usually go fishing at weekends.
- She never puts milk in her tea.
- My father plays the violin.
- We sometimes go to the cinema on Friday.
- Do you ever walk in the wood?
2. General existence; stating a fact:
- An ostrich has two legs.
- The earth goes round the sun.
- Water is liquid at room temperature.
3. Dramatic narrative (theatre, sports, etc. events):
- Johnson takes the ball, he bounces it to the floor, then he throws and scores two points.
(present tense + progressive aspect)
1. Action happening now:
- I’m watching a film on TV now.
- Watch out, a car’s coming.
- Are the boys sleeping upstairs?
2. Action happening about this time, but not necessarily now:
- He‘s studying Spanish and German.
- They‘re going to a business course.
- Are you visiting museums in our city?
3. Definite arrangement in the near future:
- I‘m travelling to Paris tomorrow.
- My son is taking his girlfriend to dinner tonight.
- Where are you going on holiday this year?
(past tense + common aspect)
Actions, events in the past:
- I had lunch with Mrs Robinson yesterday.
- Mother didn’t go to work on Tuesday.
- Where did you do the shopping this morning?
- She didn’t travel anywhere last year.
(past tense + progressive aspect)
Action in progress in the past:
- I was working in the garden when my sister arrived.
- We were watching a film at ten last night.
- She was playing with the kids from eight to nine.
Present Perfect Simple
(present perfect tense + common aspect)
1. Action with a result:
- Sorry, I‘ve parked at the wrong place.
- Have you printed the letters (yet)?
- We haven’t done the rooms yet.
- He has already repaired the lawn-mower.
2. Action in incomplete time:
- Our friends have visited us four times this summer.
- I haven’t been to the cinema lately.
- Have you been on holiday this year?
3. Action in the past without saying when:
- Jane has already been to Italy.
- Have you ever swum in this lake?
- Where have you been?
4. Action beginning in the past and still continuing:
- The Simpsons have lived here for eight years.
- He has driven a car since 2002.
- How long have you worked here?
Present Perfect Progressive
(present perfect tense + progressive aspect)
Action beginning in the past and still continuing (with the progress emphasized):
- They‘ve been staying in this hotel for ten days.
- He has been mowing the lawn all this morning.
- What have you been doing lately?
Past Perfect Simple
(past tense + common aspect)
Action in the past before another:
- She said she had written three letters the day before.
- They had lived in York before they moved to Liverpool.
- Had you locked the door before you left?
Past Perfect Progressive
(past perfect tense + progressive aspect)
Action in the past before another (with the progress emphasized):
- He said he had been mowing the lawn all that morning.
- They had been working for the same company for a long time before they changed jobs.
- How long had they been living in York before they moved to Liverpool?
(future tense + common aspect)
Fact, action or event in the future:
- I will be thirty years old next year.
- We‘ll meet them at the station at six.
- How will you cross the channel?
(future tense + progressive aspect)
Action in progress at a given time of the future:
- This time tomorrow we will be flying to Los Angeles.
- What will you be doing at six tomorrow?
- I‘ll be playing tennis from seven to nine.
Future Perfect Simple
(future perfect tense + common aspect)
Action completed by a given time of the future:
- I will have done this work by the end of next week.
- Will they have arrived by the time we return?
- She will have taken three exams by next Tuesday.
Future Perfect Progressive
(future perfect tense + progressive aspect)
Action completed by or still in progress at a given time of the future (with the progress emphasized):
- We will have been staying here for a week tomorrow.
- How long will you have been living here by this time next year?
- I‘ll have been playing the guitar for ten years by next year.
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