Grammar is an important part to master in order to improve your TOEFL score. Remember, Preparation is the key to success !

We can divide the simple aspect into three tenses: simple past, simple present, and simple future. Likewise, we can divide the progressive (also called continuous tense) aspect into three tenses: past progressive, present progressive, and future progressive.

Test My Level For Free

On GlobalExam you will learn English online to perfection! We have dedicated grammar sheets for revising every aspect of English grammar specific to any English exams such as the IELTSTOEICTOEFLCAEFCEBRIDGEBULATS (Linguaskill) or even BRIGHT ENGLISH. Indeed, we have gathered a complete list of grammar worksheets on numerous topics:

How Many Aspects and Tenses Does the English Language Have?

In english, there are three verb tenses: Past, Present, and Future. These tenses are divided into four aspects: The Simple, Progressive, Perfect, and Perfect Progressive.

The following tables explain all three tenses in each aspects:

The "Simple Aspect" Tenses
Examples
The simple aspect is used to describe facts and habits.
Simple Present TenseThe turtle eats lettuce.
Simple Past TenseThe turtle ate lettuce.
Simple Future TenseThe turtle will eat lettuce.
The "Progressive (or Continuing) Aspect" Tenses
Examples
The progressive aspect describes ongoing actions that began.
Present Progressive TenseThe turtle is eating lettuce.
Past Progressive TenseThe turtle was eating lettuce.
Future Progressive TenseThe turtle will be eating lettuce.
The "Perfect (or Complete) Aspect" Tenses
Examples
The perfect aspect describes completed actions.
Present Perfect TenseThe turtle has eaten lettuce.
Past Perfect TenseThe turtle had eaten lettuce.
Future Perfect TenseThe turtle will have eaten lettuce.
The "Perfect Progressive Aspect" Tenses
Examples
The perfect progressive aspect describes the end of an ongoing action.
Present Perfect Progressive TenseThe turtle has been eating lettuce.
Past Perfect Progressive TenseThe turtle had been eating lettuce.
Future Perfect Progressive TenseThe turtle will have been eating lettuce.

Simple Tenses in English: Past, Present and Future Explained

Simple Past

The simple past tense is used to talk about a completed action that has already happened.

When a simple past verb is negative, the simple past form of the verb becomes the base form of the verb (the infinitive without to).

Examples

  • I walked to school.
    I did not walk to school.

  • Yesterday, I rode my bike.
    Yesterday, I did not ride my bike.

  • Did he call you?
    Didn’t he call you?

HOWEVER:

  • I was in South Africa last year.
    I was not in South Africa last year.

Regular Verbs – Simple Past
AffirmativeNegativeInterrogative
I dancedI didn’t danceDid I dance?
You dancedYou didn’t danceDid you dance?
He/she/it dancedHe/she/it didn’t danceDid he/she/it dance?
We dancedWe didn’t danceDid we dance?
You dancedYou didn’t danceDid you dance?
They dancedThey didn’t danceDid they dance?

Tips:

  • If you are dealing with a regular verb (walk, play, cook), you only need to add –ed to make it past tense in the affirmative.
  • If you are dealing with an irregular verb (go, think, eat), you just need to know the past tense form!

Simple Present

The simple present tense can be used to describe a habit, a general truth, a constant situation; to give instructions; or to talk about a future situation.

Examples

  • I bite my nails. (habit)- The Earth is round. (general truth)
  • Bring a #2 pencil to the exam on Friday. (instructions)
  • I am a teacher. (constant situation)
  • We go to Starbucks every morning. (repeated action)
  • I will try to see you before I leave. (future situation)
  • Am I too hard on myself? (habit)
Regular Verbs – Simple Present
AffirmativeNegativeInterrogative
I danceI don’t danceDo I dance?
You danceYou don’t danceDo you dance?
He/she/it dancesHe/she/it doesn’t danceDoes he/she/it dance?
We danceWe don’t danceDo we dance?
You danceYou don’t danceDo you dance?
They danceThey don’t danceDo they dance?

Tips:

  • The simple present is not always used to express events happening right now!
  • Regular verbs in the third person singular affirmative always end in –s! (he cooks, she sees, one writes)

Simple Future

The simple future tense expresses actions that happen in the future with certainty. To form the future tense, use will/shall + base form of the verb (the infinitive without to). Shall is mostly used in British English, with the first person (I or we), or to express determination (One day you shall know the truth). Shall is rarely used in American English.

Affirmative:

  • I will see.
  • I shall see.

Negative:

  • They will not go.

Interrogative:

  • Will she leave?

Interrogative Negative:

  • Won’t she leave?
Regular Verbs – Simple Future
AffirmativeNegativeInterrogative
I will danceI will not danceWill I dance?
You will danceYou will not danceWill you dance?
He/she/it will danceHe/she/it will not danceWill he/she/it dance?
We will danceWe will not danceWill we dance?
You will danceYou will not danceWill you dance?
They will danceThey will not danceWill they dance?

Tips:

  • The negative contraction of “shall” is “shan’t.”
  • The contraction of “will not” is “won’t.”

Progressive Tenses in English: Past, Present and Future Explained

Past Progressive

The past progressive tense shows a continuing action that was happening sometime in the past for a limited duration of time while something else was happening. This tense is formed with the auxiliary verb to be in the past tense + the present participle of the verb (ending in –ing).

Examples

  • Was he gardening all morning?
  • I lost my earring while I was dancing.
  • We were driving all day yesterday.
Regular Verbs – Past Progressive
AffirmativeNegativeInterrogative
I was dancingI was not dancingWas I dancing?
You were dancingYou were not dancingWere you dancing?
He/she/it was dancingHe/she/it was not dancingWas he/she/it dancing?
We were dancingWe were not dancingWere we dancing?
You were dancingYou were not dancingWere you dancing?
They were dancingThey were not dancingWere they dancing?

Tips:

  • The past progressive tense can also be used to describe an action that happens often in a critical way.
  • Joachim was always lecturing his son.

Present Progressive

The present progressive tense is used to describe a continuing action that is going on right now. It is formed with the auxiliary verb to be in the present tense + the present participle of the main verb (ending in –ing).

Examples

  • We are walking to school.
  • Winter is arriving too quickly.
  • Is she being good to him?
Regular Verbs – Present Progressive
AffirmativeNegativeInterrogative
I am dancingI am not dancingAm I dancing?
You are dancingYou are not dancingAre you dancing?
He/she/it is dancingHe/she/it is not dancingIs he/she/it dancing?
We are dancingWe are not dancingAre we dancing?
You are dancingYou are not dancingAre you dancing?
They are dancingThey are not dancingAre they dancing?

Tips:

This tense can also be used to describe an action that is going to happen in the future. In these cases, it is usually modified with a time word.
She is moving back to Berlin this fall.

Future Progressive

The future progressive tense indicates a future action that will occur continuously. This tense is formed with the modal will + be + the present participle of the main verb (ending in –ing).

Examples

  • We will be sleeping when you get home.
  • This time next week, I will be relaxing in the Bahamas.
  • Will we be spoiling ourselves if we go to that 5-star restaurant?
Regular Verbs – Future Progressive
AffirmativeNegativeInterrogative
I will be dancingI will not be dancingWill I be dancing?
You will be dancingYou will not be dancingWill you be dancing?
He/she/it will be dancingHe/she/it will not be dancingWill he/she/it be dancing?
We will be dancingWe will not be dancingWill we be dancing?
You will be dancingYou will not be dancingWill you be dancing?
They will be dancingThey will not be dancingWill they be dancing?

Tips:

There is no future progressive for the verb to be! (ex. I will be being)

Boost Your English Grammar Skills Online With GlobalExam

If you are planning to pass the TOEFL, IELTS, or any other language test, you need to study, prepare, and train to guarantee your success and a score that will get you anywhere in the world.

We recommend you to join GlobalExam because not only will you study English, but also train you for your upcoming test by putting you in real-life conditions to ensure you are well prepared before your test date.

GlobalExam was specially designed to mirror the format, content, style, and time of your upcoming exam. It is all organized in a fun, user-friendly platform that will motivate you every day to study harder, and allow you to train at your own pace.

As soon as you sign up, you will have access to:

  • Study sheets and revision to boost your grammar and vocabulary.
  • Training mode to test your knowledge.
  • Mock exams to practice in real-life conditions.
  • Statistics and competencies to point out your weaknesses and strengths while learning.
  • Revision sheets to study whenever you want.
  • Revision planning mode to help you be guided on the exercises.

Let’s together make your dream come true! Join GlobalExam now.

Test My Level For Free