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Grammar rules for Tenses: competition exams

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Grammar rules for Tenses

Grammar rules for Tenses

Indefinite Tense

Simple Present

FORM                    [VERB] + s/ es

 USE 1                      Repeated  Actions

Use the Simple Present to express the idea that an action is repeated or usual. The action can be a habit, a hobby, a daily event, a scheduled event, or something that often happens.

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Examples:

  • We work very hard at Pinnacle.
  • She does not play tennis.
  • Does he play tennis?
  • The train leaves every morning at 8 AM.
  • The train does not leave at 9 AM.
  • When does the train usually leave?
  • She always forgets her purse.
  • He never forgets his wallet.
  • Every twelve months, the Earth circles the Sun.
  • Does the Sun circle the Earth?

USE 2                     Facts or Generalizations

The Simple Present can also indicate the speaker believes that a fact was true before, is true now, and will be true in the future. It is not important if the speaker is correct about the fact. It is also used to make generalizations about people or things.

Examples:

  • Cats like milk.
  • Birds do not like milk.
  • Do pigs like milk?
  • California is in America.
  • California is not in the United Kingdom.
  • Windows are made of glass.
  • Windows are not made of wood.

USE 3                     Scheduled Events in the Near Future

Speakers occasionally use Simple Present to talk about scheduled events in the near future. This is most commonly done when talking about public transportation, but it can be used with other scheduled events as well.

Examples:

  • The train leaves tonight at 6 PM.
  • The bus does not arrive at 11 AM, it arrives at 11 PM.
  • When do we board the plane?
  • The party starts at 8 o'clock.
  • When does class begin tomorrow?

USE 4                     Newspaper headlines

Simple present tense is also used for newspaper headlines. Although the news reported is already done but the simple present is used.

Example:             Sachin receives the Bharat Ratna.

Use 5                     Exclamatory sentences beginning with here and there

For exclamatory sentences beginning with here and there we use the simple present tense.

Eg :         Here comes the school bus.

There goes the cat under the car.

Use 6     Live commentary

The present simple is often used for running commentaries. This provides an ongoing narrative, describing events as they happen, which is especially common for sports.

Eg :         The ball hits the net, and she loses the point.

Important note

Note the two sentences given below.

1              I don’t know what do they pay him for his work.

2              What do they pay him for his work?

In the first sentence a question is not being asked. But in the second sentence a question is being asked. When we ask a question the sentence structure is-

Wh word + helping verb + subject + Main Verb (MV) +……………………..

But in simple assertive sentences the subject is used before the Helping Verb (HV) –

Subject + HV + MV +……….

Eg           Ravi is playing the piano.

In negative sentences we use do not and does not. And with do not and does not first form of the verb is used.

Simple Past

FORM                    Verb in the past tense is used.

Grammar rules for Tenses

USE 1                      Completed Action in the Past

Use the Simple Past to express the idea that an action started and finished at a specific time in the past. Sometimes, the speaker may not actually mention the specific time, but they do have one specific time in mind.

Examples:

  • I saw a movie yesterday.
  • I didn't see a play yesterday.
  • Last year, I travelled to Japan.
  • Last year, I didn't travel to Korea.
  • Did you have dinner last night?
  • She washed her car.
  • He didn't wash his car.

USE 2                      A Series of Completed Actions

We use the Simple Past to list a series of completed actions in the past. These actions happen 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and so on.

Examples:

I finished work, walked to the beach, and found a nice place to swim.

He arrived from the airport at 8:00, checked into the hotel at 9:00, and met the others at 10:00.

Did you add flour, pour in the milk, and then add the eggs?

USE 3                      Duration in Past

The Simple Past can be used with a duration which starts and stops in the past. A duration is a longer action often indicated by expressions such as: for two years, for five minutes, all day, all year, etc.

Examples:

  • I lived in Brazil for two years.
  • Sheila studied Japanese for five years.
  • They sat at the beach all day.
  • They did not stay at the party the entire time.
  • We talked on the phone for thirty minutes.

USE 4                      Habits in the Past

The Simple Past can also be used to describe a habit which stopped in the past. It can have the same meaning as "used to." To make it clear that we are talking about a habit, we often add expressions such as: always, often, usually, never, when I was a child, when I was younger, etc.

Examples:

  • I studied sanskrit when I was a child.
  • He played the violin.
  • He didn't play the piano.
  • Did you play a musical instrument when you were a kid?
  • She worked at the movie theater after school.
  • They never went to school, they always skipped class.

USE 5                      Past Facts or Generalizations

The Simple Past can also be used to describe past facts or generalizations which are no longer true.

Examples:

  • She was shy as a child, but now she is very outgoing.
  • He didn't like tomatoes before.
  • Did you live in India when you were a kid?
  • People paid much more to make cell phone calls in the past.

Usage of do/does and did apart from the main verb in assertive sentences.

Look at the two sentences given below.

1              I did inform the police.                                      2              I informed the police.

Both the sentences are in the simple past tense and in the first sentence did is used apart from the main verb. Did is used here simply to make it more emphasizing and lay stress. Do/does and did are used to lay more stress if they are used apart from the main verb.

But in the sentence given below did is used as the main verb.

He did yoga in the morning.

Simple Future

FORM : Will          [will/shall + verb]

Examples:

  • You will help him later.
  • Will you help him later?
  • You will not help him later

USE 1                     "Will" to Express a Voluntary Action

"Will" often suggests that a speaker will do something voluntarily. A voluntary action is one the speaker offers to do for someone else.

Examples:

  • I will send you the information when I get it.
  • I will translate the email, for Mr Smith.
  • Will you help me move this heavy table?
  • Will you make dinner?
  • I will not do your homework for you.

USE 2                      "Will" to Express a Promise

"Will" is usually used in promises.

Examples:

  • I will call you when I arrive.
  • If I am elected President, I will make sure everyone has access to inexpensive health insurance.
  • I promise I will not tell him about the surprise party.
  • Don't worry, I'll be careful.
  • I won't tell anyone your account number.

Grammar rules for Tenses

USE 3                     "Be going to" to Express a Plan

"Be going to" expresses that something is a plan . It expresses the idea that a person intends to do something in the future. It does not matter whether the plan is realistic or not.

Examples:

  • He is going to spend his vacation in Hawaii.
  • She is not going to spend her vacation in Hawaii.
  • I'm going to be an actor when I grow up.
  • Michelle is going to begin medical school next year.
  • They are going to drive all the way to Alaska.
  • Who are you going to invite to the party?

No Future in Time Clauses

Like all future forms, the Simple Future cannot be used in clauses beginning with time expressions such as: when, while, before, after, by the time, as soon as, if, unless, etc. Instead of Simple Future, Simple Present is used.

Examples:

When you will arrive tonight, we will go out for dinner. (Not Correct)

When you arrive tonight, we will go out for dinner. (Correct)

Continuous tense

Present Continuous

FORM    [am/is/are + present participle]

USE 1      Something that is happening Now

Present Continuous is used with to express the idea that something is happening now, at this very moment.

Examples:

  • You are learning English now.
  • Are you sleeping?
  • I am sitting.
  • What are you doing?
  • Why aren't you doing your homework?
  • Please be quiet the students are giving an exam.

USE 2     Longer Actions in Progress Now

Use the Present Continuous to say that we are in  the process of doing a longer action which is in  progress;  however, we might not be doing it at this  exact time of speaking.

Examples:

  • I am attending classes at Pinnacle to clear SSC CGL exam.
  • I am reading the book.
  • I am not reading any books right now.

USE 3     Near Future (Planned Action)

Sometimes, speakers use the Present Continuous to indicate that something will or will not happen in the near future.

Examples:

  • I am meeting some friends after work.
  • Is he visiting his parents next weekend?
  • Isn't he coming with us tonight?

USE 4     Repetition and Irritation with "Always"

The Present Continuous with words such as "always" or "constantly" expresses the idea that something irritating or shocking often happens. Notice that the meaning is like Simple Present, but with negative emotion. Remember to put the words "always" or "constantly" between "be" and "verb+ing."

Examples:

  • He is constantly talking. I wish he would shut up.
  • I don't like them because they are always complaining.

Use 5     The present continuous is also used to show something which is happening before or after a given time.

  • When I reach home my children are watching television.
  • When I reach office everyone is doing their work.

Past Continuous

FORM                    [was/were + present participle]

USE 1     Interrupted Action in the Past

Use the Past Continuous to indicate that a longer action in the past was interrupted. The interruption is usually a shorter action in the Simple Past.

Examples

  • I was watching TV when she called.
  • When the phone rang, she was writing a letter.
  • What were you doing when the earthquake occurred?
  • I was listening to music, so I didn't hear the fire alarm.
  • You were not listening to me when I told you to turn the oven off.

USE 2     Specific Time  as an Interruption

In USE 1, described above, the Past Continuous is interrupted by a shorter action in the Simple Past. However, you can also use a specific time as an interruption.

Examples:

  • Last night at 6 PM, I was eating dinner.
  • At midnight, we were still driving through the desert.
  • Yesterday at this time, I was sitting at my desk at work.

IMPORTANT       In the Simple Past, a specific time is used to show when an action began or finished. In the Past Continuous, a specific time only interrupts the action.

Examples:

  • Last night at 6 PM, I ate dinner.
  • I started eating at 6 PM.
  • Last night at 6 PM, I was eating dinner.
  • I started earlier; and at 6 PM, I was in the process of eating dinner.

USE 3                     Parallel Actions

When you use the Past Continuous with two actions in the same sentence, it expresses the idea that both actions were happening at the same time. The actions are parallel.

Examples:

  • I was studying while he was making dinner.
  • While Anita was reading, Anu was watching television.
  • Were you listening while he was talking?
  • I wasn't paying attention while I was writing the letter, so I made several mistakes.
  • What were you doing while you were waiting?
  • Tanu wasn't working, and I wasn't working either.
  • They were eating dinner, discussing their plans, and having a good time.

USE 4                      Atmosphere

In English, we often use a series of parallel actions to describe the atmosphere at a particular time in the past.

Example:

When I walked into the office, several people were busily typing, some were talking on the phones, the boss was giving directions, and customers were waiting to be helped. One customer was screaming at the secretary and waving his hands. Others were complaining to each other about the bad service.

While vs. When

When you talk about things in the past, "when" is most often followed by the verb tense Simple Past, whereas "while" is usually followed by Past Continuous. "While" expresses the idea of "during that time." They have similar meanings, but they emphasize different parts of the sentence.

Examples:

I was studying when she called.

While I was studying, she called.

Future Continuous

Future Continuous has two different forms: "will be doing " and "be going to be doing." Unlike Simple Future forms, Future Continuous forms are usually interchangeable.

FORM :                 Future Continuous with "Will" [will be + present participle]

Examples:

  • You will be waiting for her when her plane arrives tonight.
  • Will you be waiting for her when her plane arrives tonight?
  • You will not be waiting for her when her plane arrives tonight.

FORM :                 Future Continuous with "Be Going To " [am/is/are + going to be + present participle]

Examples:

  • You are going to be waiting for her when her plane arrives tonight.
  • Are you going to be waiting for her when her plane arrives tonight?
  • You are not going to be waiting for her when her plane arrives tonight.

Note : It is possible to use either "will" or "be going to" to create the Future Continuous.

USE 1     Interrupted Action in the Future

Use the Future Continuous to indicate that a longer action in the future will be interrupted by a shorter action in the future.

Examples:

  • I will be watching TV when she arrives tonight.
  • I will be waiting for you when your bus arrives.
  • I am going to be staying at the Madison Hotel, if anything happens and you need to contact me.
  • He will be studying at the library tonight, so he will not see Jennifer when she arrives.

Note:  Notice in the examples above that the interruptions are in Simple Present rather than Simple Future. This is because the interruptions are in time clauses, and you cannot use future tenses in time clauses.

In the Simple Future, a specific time is used to show the time an action will begin or end. In the Future Continuous, a specific time interrupts the action.

USE 2     Parallel Actions in the Future

When you use the Future Continuous with two actions in the same sentence, it expresses the idea that both actions will be happening at the same time. The actions are parallel.

Examples:

  • I am going to be studying and he is going to be making dinner.
  • Tonight, they will be eating dinner, discussing their plans, and having a good time.
  • While Indu is reading, Tina will be watching television.

Notice "is reading" because of the time clause containing "while." (See Explanation Below)

USE 4      Atmosphere in the Future

In English, we often use a series of Parallel Actions to describe atmosphere at a specific point in the future.

Example:

When I arrive at the party, everybody is going to be celebrating. Some will be dancing. Others are going to be talking.

A few people will be eating pizza, and several people are going to be having cold drinks.

Like all future tenses, the Future Continuous cannot be used in clauses beginning with time expressions such as: when,

while, before, after, by the time, as soon as, if, unless, etc. Instead of Future Continuous, Present Continuous is used.

Examples:

While I am going to be finishing my homework, she is going to make dinner. Not Correct

While I am finishing my homework, she is going to make dinner. Correct

PERFECT   TENSE

Present Perfect

FORM                    [has/have + past participle]

USE 1                     Unspecified Time Before Now

The Present Perfect is used to say that an action happened at an unspecified time before now.  The exact time is not important. The Present Perfect cannot be used with specific time expressions  such as: yesterday, one year ago, last week, when I was a child, when I lived in Japan, at that moment,  that day, one day, etc. We can use the Present Perfect with unspecific expressions such as: ever, never, once, many times, several times, before, so far, already, yet, etc.

Examples:

  • I have seen that movie twice.
  • I think I have met him once before.
  • There have been many earthquakes in Japan.

What is unspecified time?

The concept of Present Perfect can be associated to the following topics-

Use 1                       Experience

It can be used to describe your experience.

Examples:

I have been to France. (This sentence means that you have had the experience of being in France. Maybe you have been there once, or several times.)

  • I have been to France three times.
  • I have never been to France.
  • I think I have seen that movie before.
  • He has never travelled by train.
  • Ravi has studied two languages in school.

Use  2   The Present Perfect is used to talk about change that has happened over a period of time .

Examples:

  • You have grown since the last time I saw you.
  • The government has become more interested in cleaning the Ganga.
  • My English has really improved since I joined Pinnacle.

Use 3                      Accomplishments

We often use the Present Perfect to list the accomplishments of individuals and humanity. As we cannot mention a specific time there.

Examples:

  • Man has walked on the Moon.
  • Our son has learned how to read.
  • Doctors have cured many deadly diseases.
  • India has sent a mission to Mars.

Use  4      A not completed Action You Are Expecting

We often use the Present Perfect to say that an action which we expected has not happened.  Using the Present Perfect suggests that we are still waiting for the action to happen.

Examples:

  • James has not finished his homework yet.
  • He hasn't mastered English , but he tries to communicate in english.
  • The rain hasn't stopped.

Use  5     Multiple Actions at Different Times

The Present Perfect is also used to talk about several different actions which have occurred  in the past at different times. Present Perfect suggests the process is not complete and more actions are possible.

Examples:

  • The army has attacked that city five times.
  • I have had four quizzes and five tests so far this semester.
  • We have had many major problems while working on this project.
  • She has talked to several specialists about her problem, but nobody knows why she is sick.

Note:    "Last year" and "in the last year" are very different in meaning. "Last year" means the year before now, and it

is considered a specific time which requires Simple Past.

"In the last year" means from 365 days ago until now. It is not considered a specific time, so it requires Present Perfect.

 Past Perfect

FORM    [had + past participle]

USE 1     Completed Action Before Something in the Past

The Past Perfect expresses the idea that something occurred before another action in the past. It can also show that something happened before a specific time in the past.

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Examples:

  • I did not have any money because I had lost my wallet.
  • Tony knew Hisar so well because he had visited the city several times.
  • Had they ever studied Chinese before they moved to China?
  • She understood the movie because she had read the book.
  • We were not able to get a hotel room because we had not booked in advance

USE 2   We use the Past Perfect to show that something started in the past and continued up until another action in the past.

Examples:

  • We had had that car for ten years before it broke down.
  • They felt bad about selling the house because they had owned it for more than forty years.

Sentence structure

1)            1 st action (Past perfect)           before             2nd action ( simple past)

Eg           I had reached the examination hall before the exam started.

2)            2 nd action (Simple past)           after            1 st action (past perfect)

Eg           I reached the examination hall after the exam had started.

3)             By the time ,   2nd action (simple past),  1 st action (past perfect)

Eg           By the time the match started everyone had taken their seats.

FUTURE PERFECT
Where is future perfect used?

It is used to express an action which will occur in future and is thought to be completed in future. It is often used with a time expression beginning with by: by then, by that time, by midnight, by the end of the year ..........

For example, “I will have reached Delhi by midnight”.

It shows a sense of completion of an action (reach) which will occur in future (midnight).

Rules.

1)            Helping verb “will have” is used in the sentence.

2)            3rd form of verb or past participle form of verb is used as main verb in sentence.

Structure of sentence

1)           Positive sentence

Subject + helping verb + main verb (past participle) + object

Subject + will have + 3rd form of verb or past participle + object

Examples

  • She will have finished the work by Wednesday.
  • I will have left for home by the time he gets up.
  • You will have started a job.

2)            Negative sentence

  • Subject + Not (between helping verbs) + main verb (past participle) + object

Subject + will not have + 3rd form of verb or past participle + object

Examples

  • She will have finished the work by Wednesday.
  • I will not have completed the work by the time he gets up.
  • You will not have started the work by this weekend.

3)           Interrogative sentence

  • Helping verb + Subject + helping verb + main verb (past participle) + object
  • Will + Subject +have + 3rd form of verb or past participle + object

Examples

Will she have finished the work by Wednesday?

Will I have left for home by the time he gets up?

Will you have started a job?

USAGE

USE 1     Completed Action Before Something in the Future

The Future Perfect expresses the idea that something will occur before another action in the future. It can also show that something will happen before a specific time in the future.

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Examples:

By next November, I will have received my promotion.

Will she have learned enough english to communicate before she moves to New York?

By the time I finish this course at Pinnacle, I will have perfected my English.

REMEMBER :  No Future in Time Clauses

By the time I will finish ( Incorrect ) this course, I will have perfected my English. (Do not use future tense. Use simple present tense)

By the time I finish this course, I will have perfected my English.(correct)

Like all future forms, the Future Perfect cannot be used in clauses beginning with time expressions such as: when, while, before, after, by the time, as soon as, if, unless, etc. Instead of Future Perfect, Present Perfect is used.

PERFECT CONTINUOUS TENSE

Present perfect continuous tense

Example: There is paint on Rani ’s clothes. She has been painting her bedroom.

Has been painting is the present perfect continuous.

Where is the present perfect tense used?

When an activity begun in the past and is still going on at the time of speaking we use the present perfect tense.

Sentence structure

Positive sentences         Sub+ has/have+ been + verb (ing)  + object + Since/for + time.

Negative sentences       Sub+ has/have+ not + been + verb (ing)  + object + Since/for + time.

Difference between present perfect and present perfect continuous

The present perfect tense is used to denote completion. The present perfect continuous tense is used to show continuity.

Examples:

  • They have been waiting for the bus for the last hour.
  • She has been working at that company for three years.
  • What have you been watching on tv for the last 30 minutes?
  • Ramesh has been studying at the university since June.
  • We have been waiting here for over two hours.
  • Why has the doctor not been coming to the clinic for the last three days?

Usage of for and since

For is used for the total time and since is used with the starting time. If it is given for what total time period the activity continued then we use for. But if the starting time for the activity is given when it began is given we use since.

Eg I have been studying for five hours (For is used as total time is given)

I have been studying since 5 O’ clock in the morning.

For +  Numeral adjective+ Minutes/hours/days/weeks/months/years/decades/centuries.

For a long period/long time/moment/while/hours/weeks/years .

Since + Name of a day  (eg Monday)/month/year/time/yesterday/name of a season/name of a festival/name of an event.

Since + Stages of Life /parts of the day.

Past perfect continuous

The Past Perfect Continuous is used to show that something started in the past and continued up until another time in the past. This is related to the Present Perfect Continuous; however, the duration does not continue until now, it stops before something else in the past.

Examples:

  • They had been talking for over an hour before Ravi arrived.
  • She had been working at that company for three years when it went out of business.
  • How long had you been waiting to get on the bus?
  • Mike wanted to sit down because he had been standing all day at work.

Sentence structure

Positive sentences         Sub + Had + been + Verb + Ing + Object + For/since + Time

Negative sentences       Sub + Had +not + been + Verb + Ing + Object + For/since + Time

Usage 1               Cause of Something in the Past

Using the Past Perfect Continuous before another action in the past is way to show cause and effect.

Examples:

Grammar rules for Tenses 

He was tired because he had been jogging.

Sam gained weight because he had been overeating.

Future Perfect Continuous

We use the Future Perfect Continuous to show that something will continue up until a particular event or time in the future. In Future Perfect Continuous, the duration stops at or before a reference point in the future.

Examples:

They will have been talking for over an hour by the time Thomas arrives.

She is going to have been working at that company for three years when it finally closes.

James will have been teaching at the university for more than a year by the time he leaves for Asia.

How long will you have been studying when you graduate?

We are going to have been driving for over three days straight when we get to Anchorage.

Sentence structure

Positive sentences         Subject + Shall/will + Have + been  + verb + ing + object + for/since+ time

Negative sentences       Subject + Shall/will +not + Have + been + verb + ing + object + for/since+ time