I have had a few requests recently to provide more examples of sentences as they are used across all the English tenses. This is useful to show how and why we might use the different tenses to describe the same situation. One example was given in my timeline (I go school…) and you can go into detail about why we use the different tenses in my book – but for here, let’s just look at 4 different sentences across all 12 aspects of English. Continue reading
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One of the things Brighton is most famous for, and a common sight in any great English seaside resort, is piers. Following on from my brief tale of Walking on the Beach, then, the subject of piers is a good topic for our next spot the mistake reading exercise. Again, the passage below contains mistakes that focus on the rules of the English tenses and verb use. These are designed to be tricky! Continue reading
An excellent way to test your understanding and boost confidence in learning English is to approach a full text and see if you can spot the mistakes. This is especially challenging if you don’t know where the mistakes are – as to decide if a sentence is incorrect, you need to know what makes a sentence correct! With that in mind, this is the first in a series of reading exercises to practice this skill.
In the following reading exercise, see if you can identify 14 mistakes. The number of mistakes in each paragraph is indicated in brackets. Your only clues is that all the mistakes are something to do with English tenses. The answers are given below. This is a true story about Worthing beach. Continue reading
The following quiz was originally posted on Goodreads – it’s a quick exercise to test understanding of different tense forms. The questions are based on the 12 basic English tense forms. Complete the following sentences using the appropriate tense form. In the given context, one answer is correct for each question. Continue reading
Since I published The English Tenses Practical Grammar Guide, I have been working on an exercise book to accompany it, 101 English Tenses Exercises. Containing no less than 101 exercises to really drill all the rules of the tenses. I need your help, though – my original idea was to exercise each lesson in the book, following a similar structure. It’s the wrong approach, it’s too complicated and simply not fun!
So, if you have a spare few minutes, I’d like to ask for some feedback. What English grammar exercises would you like to see? What are your favourite types of English exercise? Which do you like least?
On my site, I usually post gap fill exercises – either with individual sentences (e.g. this future tenses exercise) or in the form of a reading text (e.g. The Christmas Mess). These would be the bulk of the exercises in the book. Are there other styles you’d prefer to see?
I’m dividing the exercises into grammar themes (e.g. Past Simple or Past Continuous?) and more general themes for mixed tense exercises, which can build specific vocabulary (for example Christmas vocabulary). What topics would you like to see most?
Please comment below or contact me here if you have any thoughts on my upcoming project. After all, above all else I am trying to write something that is both enjoyable and useful to you!
Following on from the quick exercises for negative simple statements, this exercise will test understanding of negative simple question forms. Negative simple questions are formed by placing do, did or will before the subject and not after the subject, or by forming a negative contraction, don’t, didn’t, won’t before the subject. If we’re asking a question of the person who made the statement, any first person statements should be changed to second person (i.e. I -> you, we -> they). The following exercise has 15 negative statements in mixed tenses that can be converted to negative questions. The answers are given below the exercise. Continue reading
Questions are formed in the simple tenses by using either do, does, did or will before a bare infinitive, or with the verb to be. The following exercise will help you practice converting simple statements into question form in the past, present and future. Use the example sentences to make questions – while these cover simple tense forms, the sentences are not necessarily easy. And remember, first person questions (I, we) should be converted to the second person (you, they)!
- The red bird flew through the trees.
- Did the red bird fly through the trees?
I was recently contacted with a question about my Mixed Tenses Exercise, which demonstrates that different tenses can fit into the same sentence structure. The question came from the past simple use in the first example, I played tennis every Tuesday this month. In a sentence with an ongoing time, such as this month, it may seem strange to refer to complete action with the past simple. This is a prime example of a situation where the present perfect is appropriate – to show a complete action that has the ability to influence the ongoing time period. So why is the past simple also appropriate? Continue reading
“The most realistic approach to aide in understanding the English tenses.” – Meg, Amazon review
Want to know why we say “I am reading this book now”, but not “I am being happy now”? What about “We’re going to the park” or “We will be going to the park”? “I had been studying” or “I was studying”?
This guide explains these differences and many more – with a detailed look at how the rules for the English tenses are actually used (and abused!) by English speakers in real life.
The English Tenses: Practical Grammar Guide uses a flexible approach to English grammar to explore how native English speakers commonly use each tense, comparing uses. It is designed to help English learners, teachers and speakers alike, to fully understand the structure of our language and its adapted uses. It can be used as an aide alongside core texts, as a reference or a standalone self-study guide. It is available now in PDF from this website, or in paperback and electronic forms from Amazon.
” I have yet to find a more approachable, intuitive, practical resource that delivers on its promise of tangible, palpable success.” – Stephen Thergesen, TESOL teacher
What’s included in The English Tenses: Practical Grammar Guide?
- Past Simple
- Past Continuous
- Past Perfect
- Past Perfect Continuous
- Present Simple
- Present Continuous
- Present Perfect
- Present Perfect Continuous
- Future Simple (will, “going to” and present simple and continuous uses)
- Future Continuous
- Future Perfect
- Future Perfect Continuous
- Time Clauses