Study P5 English Simple, Perfect, and Continuous Tenses - Geniebook

Simple, Perfect And Continuous Tenses

In this article, we will be learning about Tenses as per the Primary 5 English level. We will be covering the following subtopics:

  • Understand the definition and use of various verb tenses 
  • Visualise how verb tenses reflect the past, present, and future
  • Apply our understanding of tenses to answer commonly confusing questions
     

What are tenses?

Tenses involve the use of verbs to indicate timee.


Image Source: Daniel Lim
 

By looking at the tense indicated by the verb or other contextual clues in a sentence, we can identify when the actions in the sentence occurred.

Let’s look at some examples. 

When do you think the actions are occurring?

 

Example:

I studied all the topics for the test, yesterday.

It is a past tense by looking at the action verb studied. Yesterday indicates that the event started in the past and finished in the past.

 

Example:

I study in my bedroom every day.

By looking at the verb “study”, it is clear that the event is in the present. It is also happening in the present as is represented by the word “every day”.

When we look at tenses, we look at the location of an action in time. Often, it indicates whether the action is in the present or past.

Usually, due to the form of the verb, we can tell whether the incident or action takes place in the past or present.

When we talk about the future, we often use the modal verb ‘will’ to add to our verb. 


 

A Closer Look At Tenses

Let’s look at the various types of tenses.

 

Simple Present Tense

I learn English almost everyday 

And it is not as easy as it seems

The simple present tense is used when an event happens every day or consistently for a very long time.

 

Present Continuous Tense

And now verbs are coming up in my dreams

Present continuous tense is when an event is happening continuously but in the present, and will continue to happen until an unknown/unspecified moment in the future.


Image Source: Daniel Lim
 

 

Past Progressive Tense = Past Continuous Tense

It has past tense + verb with ‘ing’

I was learning about the past progressive

 

Simple Past Tense

It has just the ‘ed’ form of the verb. The simple plain past tense. For example:

But that didn’t last

And I always turned aggressive

For up jumped the simple past

 

Past Perfect Tense

For past perfect, you have to only look for the word ‘had’.

I had expected to be a little faster

The past perfect I had wanted to get

 

Conditional - if

If the conditional had not made me upset

 

Present Perfect Tense

In this we use ‘have/has’ + verb 

I have attempted my questions nicely.

 

Present Perfect Continuous tense = Present Perfect Progressive Tense

In this we use the ‘has/have’ + verb with ‘ing’

I have been attempting to improve myself by self-analysis.

 

Writing About The Future

Will - Future; Going to - Future

They say the future won’t either be easy

Of that sentence, I’m quite certain 

But I’m going to make an effort, really

I don’t want it to be another burden

 

But the thing that keeps me going

As I’m fighting with each tense

Is that maybe in the future

It will perhaps make some kind of sense


Image Source: Daniel Lim
 

 

Simple Present Tense:

It is used for an action that is happening right now or regularly.

He cleans the house.

She exercises regularly.

We have a lesson next Monday.

 

We also can use a simple present for something that has been scheduled for the future.

 

Present Continuous Tense:

It is used for an action that is happening right now and may continue.

You are attending classes on Geniebook.

I am playing football tomorrow.

Be careful! You are going to fall! 

We also can use the same form to express plans/ intentions for the future or make predictions based on the evidence we see in the present.

Generally, the form of the tense looks like this:

be (am/is/are) + verb-ing

 

Present Perfect Tense:

It is used for an action that happened in an unspecified time in the past and connects or continues until the present.

I have written this novel for months.

He has thrown away his opportunity.

I have lived here for years.

Generally, the form of the tense looks like this:

has/ have + past participle 

Examples of past participle: thrown, written, flown

Some verbs in the past participle look like a verb in the past tense.

 

Present Perfect Continuous Tense:

It is used for an action that began in the past and continues in the present or just finished in the present/ recently.

I have been learning English.

He has been writing for the last 10 minutes.

Generally, the form of the tense looks like this:

has/ have + been + verb-ing 

verb-ing = present participle 


 

Practice Questions - Present tense

 

Question 1:

Let’s test your understanding of present tenses and the 4 different aspects found under the present tense.

Johnny is exhausted these days. For the last two years, Johnny __________ consistently for next week’s tournament.

 

  1. train
  2. trains
  3. has trained
  4. has been training 

 

Answer:

4) has been training

Explanation:

Option 4 is the correct answer.

The question says that the training started in the past. For the past two years, he was training. But has his training ended? No. The tournament is still to take place in the future. So, he still has to continue his training.

If we choose option 3 - has trained….This implies that his training started in the past till the present and will end anytime now. But that is not true. The tournament for which he is training is still to happen in the future. So we will use the Present Perfect Continuous tense.


 

Question 2:

Let’s test your understanding of present tenses and the 4 different aspects found under the present tense.

Every day, Sandra __________ 7 glasses of water so she will not feel dehydrated.

 

  1. drinks
  2. is drinking
  3. has drunk 
  4. has been drinking

 

Answer:

1) drinks

Explanation:

Option 1 is the correct answer.

It is happening now and will happen in the future too. So, we will use Simple Present Tense.


 

Question 3:

Let’s test your understanding of present tenses and the 4 different aspects found under the present tense.

__________ at the airport already?
 

  1. Will they arrive
  2. Will they be arriving 
  3. Have they arrived
  4. Have they been arriving

 

Answer:

3) have they arrived

Explanation:

Option 3 is the correct answer.

The word ‘already’ in the question indicates that the action has been completed. That is why Options 1 & 2 are not correct because they talk about the future.

Option 4 is not correct because it is present perfect continuous. They cannot keep arriving….they have already arrived there. The action is already completed and is not still going on. Thus, we use Present Perfect Tense.


 

Question 4:

Let’s test your understanding of present tenses and the 4 different aspects found under the present tense.

John and Jack  __________ football together in the park now.

 

  1. play
  2. are playing 
  3. have played
  4. have been playing 

 

Answer:

2) are playing

Explanation:

Option 2 is the correct answer.

‘Now’ is the clue that the action is still happening in the present and will continue in the near future.


 

Question 5:

Let’s test your understanding of present tenses and the 4 different aspects found under the present tense.

Do you think she __________ to switch schools next year?

 

  1. go
  2. is going
  3. has gone
  4. has been going

 

Answer:

2) is going

Explanation:

Option 2 is the correct answer.

We are talking about the future….clue is ‘next year’.


 

Simple Past Tense:

I wrote a composition yesterday.

The last time I drove a car was last week.

He read an interesting book the other day.

It is used for an action that occurs or has been completed in the past. 

It can also be used to describe habits in the past or facts that are no longer true.

Generally, the form of the tense looks like this:

verb-ed, but be careful of irregular verbs

 

Simple Past Continuous Tense:

He was knocking on the door repeatedly, yesterday.

They were celebrating his birthday last week.

It is used for a continuing action that occurred in the past. 

It can also be used to describe what was happening at a moment in time in the past. (like a snapshot of that moment.)

Generally, the form of the tense looks like this:

was/ were + verb-ing

 

Past Perfect Tense:

They had eaten dinner up to the point the cake arrived.

She had gone to school every day until that fateful day.

It is used for an action that was completed or happened for a period of time up to a certain point in the past. Or to show the order of two past events.

Generally, the form of the tense looks like this:

had + past participle 

Examples of past participle: thrown, written, flown

Some verbs in the past participle look like a verb in the past tense.

 

Past Perfect Continuous Tense:

The child had chocolate fudge all over his mouth as he had been eating cake.

She had been waiting for hours before the bus finally arrived.

It is used for an action that was completed over a period of time before some point in the past, with an emphasis on duration. 

It can also be used to describe an action that was the cause of something in the past.

Generally, the form of the tense looks like this:

had + been + verb-ing

verb-ing = present participle

 

Practice Questions: Past tense

 

Question 1:

Let’s test your understanding of past tenses and the 4 different aspects found under the past tense.

When I left home, I __________ my mom of my whereabouts.

 

  1. inform
  2. had informed 
  3. was informing 
  4. had been informing

 

Answer:

2) had informed

Explanation:

Option 2 is the correct answer.

‘When I left home’--- that exact moment I had informed my mother about my whereabouts. So it is Past Perfect tense.


 

Question 2:

Let’s test your understanding of past tenses and the 4 different aspects found under the past tense.

Last year, James __________ to clean his room every day.

 

  1. decide
  2. had decided
  3. was deciding 
  4. had been deciding 

 

Answer:

2) had decided

Explanation:

Option 2 is the correct answer

‘Last year’ - the action of making a decision happened in the past. So we use Past perfect tense.


 

Question 3:

Let’s test your understanding of past tenses and the 4 different aspects found under the past tense.

They  __________ the football game as a family, last weekend.

 

  1. was watching 
  2. were watching 
  3. had watched
  4. had been watching

 

Answer:

2) were watching

Explanation:

Option 2 is the right answer.

The action started in the past and is still continuing.

The event of watching the football game with family happened last weekend and they still would like to see the match as a family. So we use Past perfect tense.


 

Question 4:

Let’s test your understanding of past tenses and the 4 different aspects found under the past tense.

When my dad parked the car, we __________ the ticket already.

 

  1. collect
  2. had collected 
  3. were collecting 
  4. had been collecting

 

Answer:

2) had collected

Explanation:

There are two events which happened in the past.

  1. Dad parking the car
  2. Collecting the tickets - as indicated by the ‘already’. It implies that the action has just finished in the near future.


 

Talking About The Future:

He will speak to her soon.

I will be revising those topics later.

Often, we use modal verbs like will, would, may, might, can, could, shall, or should to indicate when we discuss the possibility of an action that is to happen.

We may also use verbs like a plan, want, mean or expect to indicate future plans or desires.

Similarly, words that indicate a time in the future such as tomorrow soon or later can also be used, too!

 

Practice Questions - Future tense

 

Question 1:

Let’s test your understanding of using verbs or words to describe the future.

Tomorrow, my family and I __________ visiting my grandmother in Yishun.

 

  1. am
  2. are
  3. will
  4. will be

 

Answer:

4) will be

Explanation:

Option 4 is the correct answer.

‘Tomorrow’ - is indicative of sometime in the future. The action is happening in the future.


 

Question 2:

Let’s test your understanding of using verbs or words to describe the future.

We __________ a match against our opponent next week.

 

  1. play
  2. playing
  3. will be playing
  4. have played

 

Answer:

3) will be playing

Explanation:

Option 3 is the correct answer.

“Next week” is indicating that the match is going to happen sometime in the future.

 

 

Question 3:

Let’s test your understanding of using verbs or words to describe the future.

We __________ to attend a new school soon.

 

  1. have planned
  2. had planned
  3. planning
  4. plan

 

Answer:

4) plan

Explanation:

Option 4 is the correct answer. When you have ‘future tense’, keep it simple. Stick to the present tense.


 

Question 4:

Let’s test your understanding of using verbs or words to describe the future.

I __________ stay home, today. I have yet to make a decision.

 

  1. will
  2. can
  3. shall
  4. may
     

Answer:

4) may

Explanation:

Option 4 is correct.

Will -  is future, indicates a certainty that an action will be done

Can - is the ability - indicates the possibility that an action could occur

Shall - is like demand - The general usage of 'shall' is similar to  'will', but we use shall if the subject is 'I' or we.

May - is like considering an option - indicates the possibility that an action is being considered.


 

Question 5:

Let’s test your understanding of using verbs or words to describe the future.

If I am not mistaken, we __________ home in time for lunch.

 

  1. will be
  2. shall be
  3. would be
  4. should be

 

Answer:

4) should be

Explanation:

Option 4 is the correct answer.

“If I am not mistaken” - this indicates that the person is unsure

Will be - is used when you are sure of the plan.

Shall be - when we are unsure, we do not use shall.

Would be - it has an element of the past in it. But the action is happening in the future in the question.


 

Conclusion

In this article, we learnt about the simple present, past and future tenses as per the Primary 5 English level. We covered the following subtopics:

  • Verb tenses indicate the time an action or incident occurred
  • Most tenses and their aspects occur in the present or past
  • To write about the future, we can include a number of words. This includes modal verbs like will or shall or words that help us indicate time


 

Continue Learning
Synthesis & Transformation : Reason Relative Pronouns: Who, Whom & Whose
Vocabulary: Synonyms & Word Substitution Pronouns: Demonstrative, Possessive & Reflexive
Editing: Sharpening Your Understanding Synthesis & Transformation: Reported Speech
Verbs: Modals & Interrogatives Synthesis & Transformation - Active And Passive Voice
Character Development: ALTOS & Creating A Memorable Character Grammar Cloze - Revision
Expand Your Vocabulary: Different Ways To Express Speech, Hearing & Seeing Comprehension & Question Tags
The Difference in Some Clozes Perfect Tense & Common Tense Errors
Interrogative Words & Modal Verbs Prepositions - All Types
Comprehension - Factual Questions Simple, Perfect And Continuous Tenses

 

Resources - Academic Topics
Primary
Primary 1
Primary 2
Primary 3
Primary 4
Primary 5
English
Synthesis & Transformation : Reason
Relative Pronouns: Who, Whom & Whose
Vocabulary: Synonyms & Word Substitution
Pronouns: Demonstrative, Possessive & Reflexive
Editing: Sharpening Your Understanding
Synthesis & Transformation: Reported Speech
Verbs: Modals & Interrogatives
Synthesis & Transformation - Active And Passive Voice
Character Development: ALTOS & Creating A Memorable Character
Grammar Cloze - Revision
Expand Your Vocabulary: Different Ways To Express Speech, Hearing & Seeing
Comprehension & Question Tags
The Difference in Some Clozes
Perfect Tense & Common Tense Errors
Interrogative Words & Modal Verbs
Prepositions - All Types
Comprehension - Factual Questions
Simple, Perfect And Continuous Tenses
+ More
Maths
+ More
Science
+ More
Primary 6
Secondary
Secondary 1
Secondary 2
Secondary 3
Secondary 4
+ More
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