Verb tense drills – 8 tenses

Use these flashcards to practice the verb tenses:  present simple, present continuous, present perfect, present perfect continuous, past simple, past continuous, future simple, and future continuous.  (N) means negative.  (Q) means question.

In this drill the verb is they come.

Verb tense drill G

  • Present simple
    They come
  • Present perfect
    They've come
  • Future simple (N)
    They won't come
  • Past simple (Q)
    Did they come?
  • Present perfect continuous
    They've been coming
  • Present continuous (N)
    They aren't coming
  • Past continuous (Q)
    Were they coming?
  • Present simple (Q)
    Do they come?
  • Future continuous (Q)
    Will they be coming?
  • Past simple
    They came
  • Present perfect (N)
    They haven't come
  • Future simple
    They'll come
  • Present continuous
    They're coming
  • Past continuous (N)
    They weren't coming
  • Present perfect continuous (Q)
    Have they been coming?
  • Future continuous (N)
    They won't be coming
  • Past simple (N)
    They didn't come
  • Present perfect (Q)
    Have they come?
  • Future simple (Q)
    Will they come?
  • Present simple (N)
    They don't come
  • Future continuous
    They'll be coming
  • Past continuous
    They were coming
  • Present continuous (Q)
    Are they coming?
  • Present perfect continuous (N)
    They haven't been coming

Verb tense drill H

In this drill the verb is I grow.

  • Present simple
    I grow
  • Future simple (Q)
    Will I grow?
  • Present perfect continuous
    I've been growing
  • Past continuous (N)
    I wasn't growing
  • Present continuous (Q)
    Am I growing?
  • Present perfect (N)
    I haven't grown
  • Future continuous
    I'll be growing
  • Past simple
    I grew
  • Present perfect continuous (Q)
    Have I been growing?
  • Past continuous
    I was growing
  • Present simple (N)
    I don't grow
  • Future simple
    I'll grow
  • Past simple (Q)
    Did I grow?
  • Present continuous (N)
    I'm not growing
  • Future continuous (Q)
    Will I be growing?
  • Past simple (N)
    I didn't grow
  • Present perfect
    I've grown
  • Future simple (N)
    I won't grow
  • Present perfect continuous (N)
    I haven't been growing
  • Past continuous (Q)
    Was I growing?
  • Present simple (Q)
    Do I grow?
  • Present perfect (Q)
    Have I grown?
  • Future continuous (N)
    I won't be growing
  • Present continuous
    I'm growing

Verb tense drill I

In this drill the verb is it takes.

  • Present simple
    It takes
  • Future continuous
    It will be taking
  • Past simple (Q)
    Did it take?
  • Present continuous (N)
    It isn't taking
  • Present perfect
    It has taken
  • Present perfect continuous (Q)
    Has it been taking?
  • Future simple (N)
    It won't take
  • Present simple (Q)
    Does it take?
  • Past continuous (Q)
    Was it taking?
  • Past simple
    It took
  • Present perfect (N)
    It hasn't taken
  • Future continuous (Q)
    Will it be taking?
  • Present continuous
    It's taking
  • Future simple (Q)
    Will it take?
  • Present perfect continuous (N)
    It hasn't been taking
  • Past continuous
    It was taking
  • Past simple (N)
    It didn't take
  • Present continuous (Q)
    Is it taking?
  • Future simple
    It'll take
  • Present simple (N)
    It doesn't take
  • Future continuous (N)
    It won't be taking
  • Past continuous (N)
    It wasn't taking
  • Present perfect (Q)
    Has it taken?
  • Present perfect continuous
    It's been taking

Verb tense drills – 6 tenses

Use these flashcards to practice the verb tenses:  present simple, present continuous, past simple, past continuous, future simple, and future continuous.  (N) means negative.  (Q) means question.

In this drill the verb is we have.

Verb tense drill D

  • Present simple
    We have
  • Future continuous
    We will be having
  • Past simple (Q)
    Did we have?
  • Future simple (N)
    We won't have
  • Present continuous (N)
    We aren't having
  • Past continuous
    We were having
  • Future continuous(Q)
    Will we be having?
  • Past simple (N)
    We didn't have
  • Present continuous
    We are having
  • Future simple (Q)
    Will we have?
  • Present simple (Q)
    Do we have?
  • Future simple
    We will have
  • Present continuous (Q)
    Are we having?
  • Past continuous (N)
    We weren't having
  • Past simple
    We had
  • Future continuous (N)
    We won't be having
  • Present simple (N)
    We don't have
  • Past continuous (Q)
    Were we having?

Verb tense drill E

In this drill the verb is he makes.

  • Present simple
    He makes
  • Future simple (N)
    He won't make
  • Past continuous (Q)
    Was he making?
  • Present continuous
    He's making
  • Past simple (Q)
    Did he make?
  • Future continuous
    He'll be making
  • Present simple (N)
    He doesn't make
  • Past continuous (N)
    He wasn't making
  • Present continuous (Q)
    Is he making?
  • Future continuous (Q)
    Will he be making?
  • Past simple
    He made
  • Future simple
    He'll make
  • Present simple (Q)
    Does he make?
  • Future continuous (N)
    He won't be making
  • Past continuous
    He was making
  • Present continuous (N)
    He isn't making
  • Future simple (Q)
    Will he make?
  • Past simple (N)
    He didn't make

Verb tense drill F

In this drill the verb is you eat.

  • Present simple
    You eat
  • Present continuous (N)
    You aren't eating
  • Future continuous (Q)
    Will you be eating?
  • Past simple
    You ate
  • Future simple
    You will eat
  • Past continuous (N)
    You weren't eating
  • Present continuous (Q)
    Are you eating?
  • Future continuous
    You will be eating
  • Past simple (N)
    You didn't eat
  • Future simple (Q)
    Will you eat?
  • Present simple (Q)
    Do you eat?
  • Past continuous
    You were eating
  • Future continuous (N)
    You won't be eating
  • Past continuous (Q)
    Were you eating?
  • Present simple (N)
    You don't eat
  • Past simple (Q)
    Did you eat?
  • Future simple (N)
    You won't eat
  • Present continuous
    You are eating?

Verb tense drills – 5 tenses

Verb tense drill A

Use these flashcards to practice the verb tenses:  present simple, present continuous, past simple, past continuous, and future simple.  (N) means negative.  (Q) means question.

In this drill the verb is I go.

  • Present simple
    I go
  • Future simple (N)
    I will not go
  • Present continuous (Q)
    Am I going?
  • Past simple
    I went
  • Past continuous
    I was going
  • Present continuous (N)
    I am not going
  • Past simple (Q)
    Did I go?
  • Present simple (N)
    I don't go
  • Future simple (Q)
    Will I go?
  • Present simple (Q)
    Do I go?
  • Past continuous (N)
    I wasn't going
  • Future simple
    I will go
  • Past continuous (Q)
    Was I going?
  • Present continuous
    I am going
  • Past simple (N)
    I didn't go

 

Verb tense drill B

In this drill the verb is she does.

  • Present simple
    She does
  • Past continuous (N)
    She wasn't doing
  • Future simple (Q)
    Will she do?
  • Past simple (N)
    She didn't do
  • Present simple (Q)
    Does she do?
  • Present continuous
    She is doing
  • Future simple
    She will do
  • Present continuous (N)
    She isn't doing
  • Past simple
    She did
  • Past continuous (Q)
    Was she doing?
  • Future simple (N)
    She won't do
  • Past simple (Q)
    Did she do?
  • Present continuous (Q)
    Is she doing?
  • Present simple (N)
    She doesn't do
  • Past continuous
    She was doing

 

Verb tense drill C

In this drill the verb is you see.

  • Present simple
    You see
  • Future simple (Q)
    Will you see?
  • Past simple (N)
    You didn't see
  • Past continuous
    You were seeing
  • Present continuous (N)
    You aren't seeing
  • Future simple (N)
    You won't see
  • Present continuous (Q)
    Are you seeing?
  • Past simple
    You saw
  • Past continuous (N)
    You weren't seeing
  • Present simple (Q)
    Do you see?
  • Future simple
    You will see
  • Present continuous
    You are seeing
  • Past simple (Q)
    Did you see?
  • Past continuous (Q)
    Were you seeing?
  • Present simple (N)
    You don't see

Past perfect tense

The past perfect is a verb tense that is learned by students at an advanced level.  It is used for an action that happened before another action in the simple past.  Look at these two examples:

Examples:
When I got home, my roommate went to bed.
(My roommate went to bed after I got home.)

When I got home, my roommate had gone to bed.
(My roommate went to bed before I got home.)

The past perfect is most often used in a sentence with a verb in the simple past or a time in the past.  The word already is often used to emphasize that the action in the past perfect tense occurred before the action in the simple past tense.

Examples:
The movie had already started by the time we arrived.
She hadn’t made up her mind until late last night.
Had you read the book before you saw the movie?

Sometimes the past perfect can be the only verb in a sentence, but it refers to an action that is already stated.

Examples:
“Why was Johnny sad?  Did you punish him for something?”
“Yes, he had drawn pictures all over the wall in the living room.”
(Drawing pictures was before being punished.)

“Why didn’t your son run in the race?”
“He had broken a toe the day before.”
(Breaking a toe was before not running in the race.)

Generally speaking, the past perfect is used less and less in today’s English, especially when it’s already clear which action happened before the other.  This is especially true with the words: before, after and until.  With these 3 words and sometimes with the word when, it’s clear which action happened first.  Therefore, it’s not necessary to use the past perfect, and most English speakers use the simple past.

Examples:
He had finished all his homework before he went to bed.
He finished all his homework before he went to bed.  (also correct)
(It’s clear that finishing his homework is before going to bed.)

After he had fallen asleep on the sofa, his wife turned off the light.
After he fell asleep on the sofa, his wife turned off the light.  (also correct)
(It’s clear that his falling asleep is before his wife’s getting into bed.)

She didn’t go to bed until she had done all her chores.
She didn’t go to bed until she did all her chores.  (also correct)
(It’s clear that doing all her chores is before going to bed.)

He started practicing his guitar as soon as he had gotten home.
He started practicing his guitar as soon as he got home.  (also correct)
(It’s clear that getting home is before practicing his guitar.)

When the children had finished their homework, they put their books away.
When the children finished their homework, they put their books away.
(It’s clear that finishing their homework is before putting their books away.)

BUT when it is not clear which action happened first, you must use the past perfect for the first action.

When the movie finished, everyone had left the theatre.  (Leaving the theatre was before the movie finished.)
When the movie finished, everyone left the theatre.  (Leaving the theatre was after the movie finished.)
(It’s not clear which action happened first, so the past perfect is used in the first example.)

When two actions happen at the same time or almost the same time, use the simple past for both actions.

Examples:
When I arrived at work, I turned on the lights.  (Arriving at work and turning on the lights is at almost the same time.)
She screamed when she opened her present.  (Screaming and opening her present are at the same time.)

In reported speech when you add the words showing that a speaker said something, those words become the second action, and if the other action is in the simple past, it is changed to the past perfect because it happened before the person reported it.

Examples:
He said, “I crashed the car into a tree.”
He said that he had crashed the car into a tree.
(Crashing the car is before saying it.)

She told him, “You left the milk out last night.”
She told him that he had left the milk out last night.
(Leaving the milk out is before telling him.)

We asked them, “Did you win the game?”
We asked them if they had won the game.
(Winning the game is before asking them.)

Also in reported speech, if the original verb in quoted speech is in the present perfect, it is changed to the past perfect.

Examples:
He said, “My brother has been home all week with the flu.”  (quoted speech)
He said that his brother had been home all week with the flu.  (reported speech)

She told me, “I’ve seen that movie four times.”  (quoted speech)
She told me that she had seen that movie four times.  (reported speech)

We asked her, “Have you ever gone abroad?”  (quoted speech)
We asked her if she had ever gone abroad.  (reported speech)

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Past continuous tense

The Past Continuous

The past continuous (or past progressive) is used for long actions that were already happening at a certain time or when another shorter action happened.  The shorter action or time happens in the middle (or at the end) of the longer action.  It is formed by using was or were and the present participle (-ing).  The shorter-action verb is in the simple past.

Examples:
At eight o’clock last night, she was studying in her bedroom.
(Studying is the long action; eight o’clock is a time in the middle of that action.)

They were swimming in the lake when it started to rain.
(Swimming is the long action; started is the short action in the middle.)

We were having dinner when someone knocked on the door.
(Having dinner is the long action; knocked is the short action in the middle.)

Were you sleeping when the earthquake happened?
(Sleeping is the long action; happened is the short action in the middle.)

When the verb go is used in the past continuous, it means that the action was planned but never happened.

Examples:
I was going to wash the car this weekend, but I was too busy
It was going to be a surprise birthday party, but she found out about it.
We were going to invite you, but you got sick and had to stay home.

When used with always, the past continuous means that the person did the action again and again.

Examples:
My mother was always reading a book.
The boys were always leaving their dirty clothes on the floor.
Her sister was always borrowing her clothes.
My best friend was always doing something crazy.

When making a request or an invitation with wondering, you can also use the past continuous.

Examples:
We were wondering if you’d help us with our applications.   (request)
I was wondering if you’d like to come to a party with me this Saturday night.  (invitation)

A good way to understand the past continuous and how it is different from the simple past is to look at one verb used in both tenses.  Notice that when the verb is used in the simple past, there is only one action.  The action can be long but nothing else happens in the middle or end of it

Examples:
We ate dinner at six o’clock last night.
We were eating dinner when the phone rang.
They lived in Abbottsford five years.
They were living in Abbottsford, when their car broke down.
I studied all night long.
I was studying when I fell asleep.
She had a big party at her parents’ house.
She was having a big party at her parents’ house when someone started a fire.

 

The use of: when, while, and as.

Use while and as before the past continuous, not the simple past.

Examples:
While his brother was trying to study, John started to play the piano.
As we were getting ready to leave, the police arrived at the door.
Peter washed the car while his wife was making dinner.
I saw a beautiful rainbow as I was walking to work this morning.

Use when before the past continuous or the simple past.

Examples:
When I saw the accident, I was walking home.
I saw the accident when I was walking home.
When she entered the classroom, the teacher was already teaching.
She entered the classroom when the teacher was already teaching.

 

Sometimes 2 long actions can happen at the same time.  When this happens, use the past continuous for both actions.

Examples:
Her husband was polishing the car while she was doing the dishes.
As his brother was driving the car, he was surfing the Internet on his laptop.

Notice in the above examples, there is a comma ( , ) after adverb clauses (starting with whenwhile, and as) if they are at the beginning of a sentence but no comma if they are at the end.

If actions are in sequence (1st action, then 2nd action, then 3rd action), then use the simple past only.

Examples:
I got up, made myself some breakfast and sat outside to eat it.
She finished the dishes, watered the plants, and vacuumed the living room carpet.

Because there is usually something else that happens during a long action (the past continuous), verbs that are used this way have to be verbs that take time to happen.  In other words, only long verbs can be used in the past continuous.  Therefore, verbs like drop, stop, begin, start, finish, and end are usually not in the past continuous because they take no time.  They are very fast and short.

Examples:
She began to read the letter from her grandmother.
They dropped me off early at the airport.
We stopped to have coffee on our way home.

 

There are also some verbs that are not used in the past continuous tense (or any other continuous tense) because they are non-action verbs.  In other words, because there’s no action, the following verbs cannot be used in the past continuous:

be                   believe              belong             exist                forget               hate

have*             hear                  know               like                   love                 need

own                possess            prefer              remember       see                understand       want

* when “have” means “possess,” not when “have” means “experience.”

Examples:
My parents had three children, two boys and a girl. (possessed)
(We were having a wonderful time at the party.) (were experiencing)
I didn’t understand her strong accent.
Do you believe he’ll graduate in three years?
He knows she is not coming over.

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Verb tenses explained

PRESENT TENSES:

present simple I eat

Used for habitual actions (things you do all the time):

I eat bananas almost everyday.
We usually get up late on Saturdays.

Used for facts:

The sun rises early in the summer.
Water boils at 100 degrees celsius.

Used for opinions:

He is very shy with women.
You eat like a pig.

present continuous:   I am eating / I’m eating

Used for actions happening now:

Be quiet.  I am listening to the news.
Hurry!  I’m waiting for you.

Used for actions started in the past but not yet finished:

Im reading a really good book.  
We’re painting all the bedrooms in the house.

Used for actions in the future (when the future is stated):

We are leaving for San Francisco tomorrow morning.
On Sunday they are playing a game against Vancouver. 

present perfect:  I have eaten / I’ve eaten

Used for past actions when the time is not stated:

We have seen that movie several times.
I’ve met you somewhere before.

Used for actions that happen a number of times:

We have eaten at that restaurant at least five times.
I’ve made that mistake many times.

Used for actions that started in the past and are still happening now:

I have known him since we were both children.
I’ve worked for that company for thirteen years.

Present perfect continuous:  I have been eating / I’ve been eating

Used for actions that started in the past and are still happening now:

(This is the same use for the last present perfect (above), so they are both correct in this situation.  However, I personally prefer the present perfect continuous for these kinds of actions.)

I’ve been thinking about moving to California.
She’s been spending a lot of time with her boyfriend.

PAST TENSES:

past simple:  I ate

Used for an action or actions that are finished in the past:

(There’s usually a time stated when these actions happened.)

I ate a banana for breakfast yesterday.
I saw him three times last week.

past continuous:  I was eating

Used for actions that were happening when another, shorter action happened:

(The shorter action is in the past simple.)

I was reading the newspaper when someone knocked on the door.
He was shoveling show when he hurt his back.

Used for actions that were happening at a certain time:

What were you doing at 3:00 in the afternoon?
At midnight I was getting ready for bed.

past perfect:  I had eaten / I’d eaten

Used for an action that happened before another action in the past:

(The word “already” is often used.)

His roommate had already gone to bed when he got back to his apartment
We had already eaten by the time the fireworks started.

Used for actions that happened before a certain time in the past:

I had already finished by dinner time last night.
She had gone to bed by that time.

past perfect continuous:  I had been eating / I’d been eating

Used for an action that was happening when another action happened:

(Most often used with “since” or “for”)

(The other action is in the simple past.)

They had been waiting since noon when she finally arrived an hour later.
We had been dating for three months before I found out she smoked.

FUTURE TENSES:

future simple:  I will eat / I’ll eat

Used for a single action in the future:

I will call you as soon as I get home.
She says she’ll be here at 9:00.

future continuous:  I will be eating / I’ll be eating

Used for a future action that is already happening when another action happens:

(The other action is in the present simple.)

They will be waiting for you when you arrive at the airport.
We’ll be doing our homework when you get home.

Used for a future action that is already happening at a certain time:

At midnight on December 31, I’ll probably be sleeping.
What will you be doing at 8:00 tonight?

Used for long actions in the future:

We’ll be working in the lab all afternoon.
Don’t make any plans because you’ll be painting the house all weekend.

future perfect:  I will have eaten / I’ll have eaten

Used for a future action that happens before another future action:

(The other future action is in the present simple.)

By the time you arrive, I will have finished my work.
After we see Skyfall, we will have seen all the James Bond movies.

Used for a future action that happens before a future time:

At midnight I will have already arrived home.
She told me she will have finished all the preparations by 6:00 pm.

future perfect continuous:  I will have been eating / I’ll have been eating

Used for a future action that will have been happening for a certain time when another action happens:

(The other future action is in the present simple.)

(Most often used with “since” or “for”)

When you arrive, I will have been painting since morning.
She will have been seeing him for three years when you visit next Spring.

Used for a future action that will have been happening for a certain time at a future time:

By this time next year, I will have been working there for ten years.
They will have been living here for twenty years next September.

 

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There are more verb tense exercises in the Exercise section of this website.

© 2013 Ambien Malecot