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Grammar Reference

Mixed tenses

Present simple and present continuous:

We use the present continuous for things that are happening now and for temporary situations. We often use time expressions like at the moment, this week, these days.

We're staying in a fantastic hotel in Goa this week.

What are you doing these days?

I hope you aren't working too hard.

We use the present simple for things that we do regularly and for permanent situations. We often use adverbs of frequency and time expressions like every day, on Saturdays.

I swim every day before breakfast.

Jake doesn't get up that early though.

It usually begins around June.

Past simple and present perfect:

We use the past simple tense when an action or situation happens and finishes in the past. We usually say or know when it happens.

We arrived two days ago.

I didn't realise before that it usually begins around June.

Did you manage to book that hotel while there was a cheap offer? 

We use the present perfect in several ways.

1) to talk about our experiences in the past. We don't say when these happened because we are interested in the experience, not the time or date. We often use the words ever and never

Have you ever been here?

I've never been to Goa. 

2) to talk about situations that started in the past and are continuing now. We sometimes ask a question with how long + the present perfect and we answer it with the words for or since.

How long has Mia been in Goa?

She's been there for two days. / She's been there since Wednesday.

It's been really hot since then. 

3) to say whether an action has happened or not at the present time. The words just, already and yet are very common with this use of the present perfect.

I've already done some sunbathing. ­

We haven't seen much yet.

The sun's just disappeared!

Present continuous and be going to for future

We use the present continuous to talk about the future when we have made an arrangement to do something. Perhaps we have already booked tickets for something.

We’re coming home next Wednesday.

We use be going to + infinitive for future plans.

We’re going to visit the Saturday Night Market tomorrow.
Are you going to go to Egypt in September?

We also use be going to for something that we expect to happen because we know that it is very likely. We can’t use the present continuous in this way.

They say that the rainy season is going to start soon.


Examples of form

Present simple

• I/We/You/They swim.

• He/She/It swims.

• I/We/You/They do not swim.

• He/She/It does not swim.

Present simple questions

• Do I/we/you/they swim?

• Does he/she/it swim?

Present continuous

• I am swimming.

• He/She/It is swimming.

• We/You/They are swimming.

• I am not swimming.

• He/She/It is not swimming.

• We/You/They are not swimming.

Present continuous questions

• Am I swimming?

• Is he/she/it swimming?

• Are we/you/they swimming?

Past simple

• I/He/She/It/We/You/They started.

• I/He/She/It/We/You/They did not start.

Past simple questions

• Did I/he/she/it/we/you/they start?

Present perfect

• I/We/You/They have started.

• He/She/It has started

• I/We/You/They have not started.

• He/She/It has not started.

Present perfect questions

• Have I/we/you/they started?

Going to + infinitive

• I am going to stay.

• He/She/It is going to stay.

• We/You/They are going to stay.

• I am am not going to stay.

• He/She/It is not going to stay.

• We/You/They are not going to stay.

Going to questions

• Am I going to stay?

• Is he/she/it going to stay?

• Are we/you/they going to stay?