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?
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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)

Pour vous aider dans votre préparation TOEFL, nous avons conçu des fiches de révisions grammaire TOEFL spécifiques à l’examen. Nous vous conseillons de consulter les fiches en anglais pour vous mettre en immersion dans la langue. Cependant pour les apprenants qui auraient plus de difficultés nous avons également conçu des fiches en français.

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