TOEFL IBT – Simple Aspect & Progressive Aspect

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) aspect into three tenses: past progressive, present progressive, and future progressive.

 

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

 Affirmative

 Negative

 Interrogative

 I danced

 I didn’t dance

 Did I dance?

 You danced

 You didn’t dance

 Did you dance?

 He/she/it danced

 He/she/it didn’t dance

 Did he/she/it dance?

 We danced

 We didn’t dance

 Did we dance?

 You danced

 You didn’t dance

 Did you dance?

 They danced

 They didn’t dance

 Did 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

 Affirmative

 Negative

 Interrogative

 I dance

 I don’t dance

 Do I dance?

 You dance

 You don’t dance

 Do you dance?

 He/she/it dances

 He/she/it doesn’t dance

 Does he/she/it dance?

 We dance

 We don’t dance

 Do we dance?

 You dance

 You don’t dance

 Do you dance?

 They dance

 They don’t dance

 Do 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 refers to an action that happens 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

 Affirmative

 Negative

 Interrogative

 I will dance

 I will not dance

 Will I dance?

 You will dance

 You will not dance

 Will you dance?

 He/she/it will dance

 He/she/it will not dance

 Will he/she/it dance?

 We will dance

 We will not dance

 Will we dance?

 You will dance

 You will not dance

 Will you dance?

 They will dance

 They will not dance

 Will they dance?

 

 

Tips:

  • The negative contraction of “shall” is “shan’t.” It is used in British English, but almost never in American English.
  • The contraction of “will not” is “won’t.”

 

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

 Affirmative

 Negative

 Interrogative

 I was dancing

 I was not dancing

 Was I dancing?

 You were dancing

 You were not dancing

 Were you dancing?

 He/she/it was dancing

 He/she/it was not dancing

 Was he/she/it dancing?

 We were dancing

 We were not dancing

 Were we dancing?

 You were dancing

 You were not dancing

 Were you dancing?

 They were dancing

 They were not dancing

 Were 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

 Affirmative

 Negative

 Interrogative

 I am dancing

 I am not dancing

 Am I dancing?

 You are dancing

 You are not dancing

 Are you dancing?

 He/she/it is dancing

 He/she/it is not dancing

 Is he/she/it dancing?

 We are dancing

 We are not dancing

 Are we dancing?

 You are dancing

 You are not dancing

 Are you dancing?

 They are dancing

 They are not dancing

 Are 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 be going on 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

 Affirmative

 Negative

 Interrogative

 I will be dancing

 I will not be dancing

 Will I be dancing?

 You will be dancing

 You will not be dancing

 Will you be dancing?

 He/she/it will be dancing

 He/she/it will not be dancing

 Will he/she/it be dancing?

 We will be dancing

 We will not be dancing

 Will we be dancing?

 You will be dancing

 You will not be dancing

 Will you be dancing?

 They will be dancing

 They will not be dancing

 Will they be dancing?

 

 

Tips:

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