Quick English Grammar


Present Simple


I usually play squash on Tuesdays.

We don't eat toast for breakfast.

Do you like watching soccer?

He/she/it likes milk.

He/she/it doesn't eat red meat.

Does he/she/it sleep well?

I am a Business English student.

He/she/it isn't always happy.

Are you/we/they from Australia?

Key ideas

general information / facts

state verbs (know, like)


*** Do verbs ***

+ first form

- don't / doesn't + infinitive

? do / don't / doesn't + infinitive

*** he/she/it + -s ***

(except for can/could etc.)


*** Be verbs ***

Am/is/are + noun/adjective

Present Continuous


I am learning English at the moment.

You/they/it aren't eating right now.

Is he/she/it working today? 

Key ideas

now or around now

verbs of change


*** Verb form ***

Verb to be (am/is/are) +main verb + -ing

! state verbs don't have a continuous form (-ing)

Past Simple


I played squash last Tuesday.

We didn't eat lunch yesterday.

Did he watch the soccer last night?


I was a good student at High School.

I/he/she/it wasn't happy on Friday.

Was she at the party last Tuesday?


They were friendly when I met them.

Yo weren't at my party last week.

Were you/we/they born in Australia?

Key ideas

finished actions in finished time (e.g. 1987, last May, 5 minutes ago)

finished/completed processes


*** Do verbs ***

+ second form

- didn't + infinitive

? did / didn't + infinitive


*** Be verbs ***

was/were + noun/adjective


! Use only Past Simple to say that one thing happened after another !

Past Continuous


While I/he/she/it was going for a walk a car hit a tree nearby.

I/he/she/it wasn't watching as you took the photo.

Was I/he/she/it playing with the ball when it got lost?


You/we/they were watching TV at eight o'clock last night.

You/we/they weren't listening while I was giving the speech.

Were you/we/they looking for your baby when the police rang?

Key ideas

something was happening around a point in time in the past

something you were already doing when something else happened


*** Verb form ***

Verb to be (was/were) + main verb + -ing


! Use Past Simple and Past Continuous together to say that something happened in the middle of something else, e.g.: „Matt phoned while we were having dinner.“

Present Perfect Simple


I/you/we/they have killed the cat.

I/you/we/they have not been happe for some time.

Have I/you/we/they ever seen a UFO?


He/she/it has finished the homework.

He/she/it has never run a marathon.

Has he/she/it ever eaten snails?

Key ideas

unfinished open time: life experience (have you ever?)

finished actions of states in unfinished time

news / one time only / it's the 1st, 2nd, 10th time...

once-only actions or states with a result now

negative sentences


*** Verb form ***

Have/has + 3rd form (past participle)


! Take care of irregular verbs !

! Use Present Perfect for news, use it together with just/already/yet !

! Use Present Perfect when the situation has a connection to know !

Present Perfect Continuous


I/you/we/they have been playing golf for three years.

I/you/we/they haven't been getting on very well with Peter recently.

How long have you/we/they been living here?


He/she/it has been doing her homework for two hours.

He/she/it has not been running well since last year.

Has he/she/it been behaving today?

Key ideas

continuous of repeated actions or processes from the past up to now.

recent continuous actions or processes with a result now (finished or unfinished)


*** Verb form ***

Have been/Has been + main verb + -ing

Past Perfect Simple


He/she/it ate the kangaroo after we had killed it.

He/she/it had never run a marathon before the one in Hamburg in 2002.

Had I/you/we/they ever watched a video of a movie before it was shown in the cinema?

Key ideas

actions or processes that finished before another action in the past

states (e.g. know, like)


*** Verb form ***

Had + 3rd form

Past Perfect Continuous


I/you/we … had been playing golf for years before I/you/we … won a game.

They hadn't been getting on very well before they split up.

How long had I/you/he/she/it/we/they been living here before the move?

Key ideas

repeated or continuous actions or processes before or up to another action or time in the past

repeated or continuous actions or processes (finished or unfinished) with a past result


*** Verb form ***

Had been + main verb + -ing

Creative Commons Lizenzvertrag
Quick English Grammar von Jens Breimaier ist lizenziert unter einer Creative Commons Namensnennung - Nicht-kommerziell - Weitergabe unter gleichen Bedingungen 4.0 International Lizenz.
Beruht auf dem Werk unter http://www.jens-online.com/quick-english-grammar/.
Über diese Lizenz hinausgehende Erlaubnisse können Sie unter http://www.jens-online.com/quick-english-grammar/ erhalten.