Learn English

On this page I explain some of the most commonly-used tenses for everyday English. Bear in mind that these are simple, easy-to-understand and brief no substitute for learning English with a teacher!

The present simple is used for events which do not change or are true regularly.

  • My name is Fred
  • I am a vegetarian
  • I live in Germany
  • I go on holiday

This tense can be used with words and phrases like:

  • “Every hour / week / year”
  • Always / never
  • Often / rarely
  • Sometimes / usually

 The present progressive  is used for events which are happening now or temporarily.

  • I am eating lunch
  • I am staying in a hotel
  • I am not going on holiday

This tense can be used with words and phrases like:

  • “This week / month/ year”
  • Right now
  • Temporarily
  • At the moment

The present perfect  is used for events which happened in the past but are important now.

  • I have eaten lunch
  • I have been to China
  • I have drunk too much coffee

It can also be used to show duration for events which started in the past and are not finished.

  • I have worked here since 2010
  • They have been married for 15 years

This tense can be used with words and phrases like:

  • “For 8 years” or “since  January”
  • Recently
  • “This week / month/ year”
  • Never / ever

 The past simple is used for events which happened in the past and are not important now.

  • I was a vegetarian
  • I lived in Germany
  • I went on holiday

This tense can be used with words and phrases like:

  • Yesterday
  • “Last week / month / year”

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