English for Everyone

<b>English for Everyone</b>
Learn and Master English Everyday and Everywhere!

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Use Tenses Correctly

To write well, you need to know how to use English tenses correctly. Tenses are difficult to many because in many languages tenses are not used to express "time" or the "relationship of sequence"; instead, adverbs, such as "yesterday", "tomorrow", "soon" etc. are used.

To learn how to use English tenses correctly, you must have a perception of the "time" element.
Let's take a looks at present tense, present continuous tensepresent perfect tensepast tense, and past perfect tense with the following examples:

PAST<----------------------------------------------------->PRESENT

lived in Texas.   *                            

had lived in Texas for more than 20 years.  *****       

I moved to Ohio 5 years ago.  *                                  Now, I live in Ohio.

                                                                                     I am living in Ohio. **

                                                                     I have lived in Ohio for 5 years. *****

"I lived in Texas" (past tense): an action in the past; it was a fact. (*)

"I had lived in Texas for more than 20 years." (past perfect tense): an action that "continued" (****)for some time in the past.
"I moved to Ohio 5 years ago" (past tense): an action in the past; it was a fact (*)

"Now I live in Ohio." (present tense): an action in the present; it is a fact. (*)

"I am living in Ohio." (present continuous tense): an action in the present, and it may continue for some time into the near future.**

"I have lived in Ohio for 5 years." (present perfect tense): an action in the past that has continued into the present, and will probably continue into the near future. *****

Hopefully, the above examples have demonstrated how you should use some of the English tenses correctly.

Stephen Lau

Read my book Effective Writing Made Simple. Click here for the digital, and here for the paperback edition.

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