English Grammar: Past Continuous Tense

During our Business English courses, many people question the importance of grammar in spoken English, while some fervently support it. I guess this question can be reserved for other times. Today we are going to take a look at past continuous tense and its applications in spoken English.

Past Continuous Tense expresses the activities which were going on in past but have ended now, that are in present. These sentences are formed with the help of an auxiliary verb and giving the main verb an ‘ing’ ending.

Verb

In Past Continuous Tense, -ing form of the verb is used. Past form is transferred to auxiliary verb.

Make a statement

A statement in past continuous tense is constructed in following ways.

Subject

Auxiliary Verb

Main Verb

Object

You, we, they

were

cooking

food

I, He, she, it

was

cooking

food

You , we, they

were

not

cooking

food

I, He, she, it

was

not

cooking

food

Structure for a statement, in general, can be:

Subject + past form of “to be” + Verb-ing + Object (positive statement)

Subject + past form of “to be” + not + Verb-ing + Object (negative statement)

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While forming an interrogative sentence, auxiliary verb precedes subject in general. The following can be used of past continuous tense in interrogative sentences.

Auxiliary Verb

Subject

Main Verb

Object

Were

you, we, they

cooking

food?

Was

I, he, she, it

cooking

food?

Were

you, we, they

not

cooking

food?

Was

I, he, she, it

not

cooking

food?

Now there are few situations where the past continuous tense is used.

Continuous actions in past

It states a continuous action which is either supported or is interrupted by any other activity of the past

  • I was bathing when you called.
  • I was doing household chores before I came in hostel.
  • I was reading when you dropped the ball.
  • He was completing his masters before getting into a job.

Simultaneous Occurrences

It describes any two activities that have occurred in the past simultaneously.

  • They were traveling in the bus when the flood broke.
  • It started raining when I planned to go cycling.
  • It was beaming with light when I opened it.
  • He was bleeding when I took him to the hospital.

Re-occurrences

It describes the occurring and re-occurring event of past.

  • He was doing the same mistake every time.
  • He was practicing the sum repeatedly.
  • The principal was taking frequent rounds.
  • The lever was going up and down repeatedly.

 

 

 

 

English Grammar: Present Continuous Tense

During our English speaking courses, many people question the importance of grammar in spoken English, while some fervently support it. I guess this question can be reserved for other times. Today we are going to take a look at Present Continuous Tense and its applications in spoken English.

Present Continuous Tense is basic tense with shows the continuity of the activity in past, in general, used to talk about now.

Verb

In Present Continuous Tense, -ing is added at the end of the base form of a verb.

Make a statement

A statement in Present Continuous Tense is constructed in following ways.

Subject

Auxiliary Verb

Main Verb

Object

 you, we, they

are

drinking

coffee

He, she, it

is

drinking

coffee

you , we, they

are

not

drinking

coffee

He, she, it

is

not

drinking

coffee

Structure for a statement, in general, can be:

Subject + Auxiliary Verb + Main Verb -ing + Object (positive statement)

Subject + Auxiliary Verb + no, not, never + Main Verb-ing + Object (negative statement)

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While forming an interrogative sentence, auxiliary verb precedes subject in general. The following can be used of present continuous tense in interrogative sentences.

Auxiliary Verb

Subject

Main Verb

Object

Are

you, we, they

drinking

coffee?

Is

he, she, it

drinking

coffee?

Are

you, we, they

not

drinking

coffee?

Is

he, she, it

not

drinking

coffee?

 

Now there are few situations where the present continuous tense is used.

Current Occurrence:

We use this tense for expressing the activities that are happening now, that is current occurrence of the activity. I am watching Big Bang theory on the television. This is the application of the present continuous tense that the action of watching the television is going on NOW.

He is fixing the car.

They are going to a party.

I am going for a walk.

Is he reaching in time?

Activity that is going on and may finish in fixed period

We use this tense when there is a temporary activity going on and is tend to get over in a fixed period of time.

Rena is visiting her aunt’s place for a week.

They are going to a camp for a day.

He is coming back after 2 hours

I am starting a foreign tour for a week

Planning and deciding future activities.

It also helps in planning and deciding the future activities.

We are planning to go swimming tomorrow.

He is planning to switch career.

I am planning a vacation next week.

They are deciding to go rafting.

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English Grammar: Simple Future Tense

During our English speaking courses, many people question the importance of grammar in spoken English, while some fervently support it. I guess this question can be reserved for other times. Today we are going to take a look at Simple present tense and it applications in spoken English.

Simple future tense is a basic tense, in general used to talk about possibilities or intentions in general.

Verb

In simple future tense, first form of verb is used with Auxiliary verb: will or shall. Now, Victorian English suggests us to use only shall with first person. This is no longer followed by majority. In order to understand their modern day usage, please follow our blog here.

Make a statement

A statement in simple Future Tense is constructed in following ways.

Subject

Auxiliary Verb

Main Verb

Object

I, you, we, they

will

play

cricket

He, she, it

will

play

cricket

I, you , we, they

will

not

play

cricket

He, she, it

will

not

play

cricket

Structure for positive statement in general can be:

Subject + Auxiliary Verb + first form of Verb + Object (positive statement)

Subject + Auxiliary Verb + not + first form of Main Verb + Object (negative statement)

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While forming interrogative sentence, auxiliary verb precedes subject in general. Following can be use of Simple Future Tense in interrogative sentences.

Auxiliary Verb

Subject

Main Verb

Object

Will

I, you, we, they

play

cricket?

Will

He, she, it

play

cricket?

Will

not

I, you, we, they

play

cricket?

Will

not

He, she, it

play

cricket?

In general structure of interrogative sentence can be

Auxiliary verb + Subject + first form of Main verb + Object ? (positive question)

Auxiliary verb + not + Subject + first form of Main verb + Object ? (negative question)

Applications of Simple Future Tense

There are many applications of Simple Future Tense. Following is a list of the applications in general.

1.     Express a voluntary action.

A voluntary action is one, the speaker offers to do for someone else. We use “will” to respond to someone else’s complaint or request for help. We also use “will” when we request that someone help us or volunteer to do something for us. Similarly, we use “will not” or “won’t” when we refuse to voluntarily do something.

I will send you the information when I get it.

I will translate the email, so Mr. Subhash can read it.

Will you help me move this heavy table?

Will you make dinner?

2.     Promise

Your promises to complete a particular action must be expressed in Simple Future Tense.

I will call you when I arrive.

I will prepare a tasty cake on your birthday.

I promise I will not tell anybody about the party.

Don’t worry, I’ll be careful.

3.     Prediction

Predictions about future canbe presented in Simple Future Tense.

The year 2015 will be a very interesting year.

Narendra Modi will be the next Prime Minister.

The movie “Two States” will win several Awards.

4.     Plans

You may express your plans using Simple Future Tense.

I will start my journey at 5.10 in morning.

I will meet you at station at around 7 O’clock.

She will reach home in time.

English Grammar: Simple Past Tense

During our English speaking courses, many people question the importance of grammar in spoken English, while some fervently support it. I guess this question can be reserved for other times. Today we are going to take a look at Simple present tense and its applications in spoken English.

Simple past tense is a basic tense, in general, used to talk about what happened in past.

Verb

In simple past tense, the second form of a verb is used. In cases of regular verbs –ed is added at the end. You need to pay attention in using the right form in case of irregular verbs. For example, the second form of the verb for sleep is ‘slept’. In case, if you are using an auxiliary verb, past form is transferred from the main verb to auxiliary as follows.

Make a statement

A statement in simple past tense is constructed in following ways.

Subject

Auxiliary Verb

Main Verb

Object

I, you, we, they

liked

coffee

He, she, it

liked

coffee

I, you , we, they

did

not

like

coffee

He, she, it

did

not

like

coffee

Structure for a positive statement in general can be:

Subject + second form of Verb + Object

(positive statement)

Subject + Auxiliary Verb + not + first form of Main Verb + Object

(negative statement)

Ask a question

While forming an interrogative sentence, auxiliary verb precedes subject in general. The following can be used of simple past tense in interrogative sentences.

Auxiliary Verb

Subject

Main Verb

Object

Did

I, you, we, they

like

coffee?

Did

He, she, it

like

coffee?

Did

not

I, you, we, they

like

coffee?

Did

not

He, she, it

like

coffee?

In general structure of interrogative sentence can be

Auxiliary verb + Subject + first form of Main verb + Object ?

(positive question)

Auxiliary verb + not + Subject + first form of Main verb + Object ?

(negative question)

Applications of Simple past tense

There are many applications of simple past tense. Following is a list of the applications in general.

1. Talk about an action that started and finished at a specific time in the past.

Your activities of the past, which started at a specific time in the day and ended at a specific time, must be described in Simple past tense. Following are examples

We saw a movie in city pride yesterday.

I talked to my friends on the cell phone.

She didn’t attend the speaking class.

He didn’t wash the car.

2.     List series of actions

Your series of actions that happened in a particular attempt or trip or endeavor, must be described in Simple past tense.

I finished the office work, caught the bus & came back to the home.

She put on the track suit and went for jogging.

The maid cleaned the utensils, washed the clothes and cooked the food.

Did you affix the post stamps & post the letter?

3.     Narrating duration

While narrating about the duration you spent doing something can be described in simple past tense.

I lived in Pune for about ten years

She studied German in just six months.

The maid didn’t turn up on Sunday.

He worked with Infosys for 4 years.

4.     Talk about habits of the past

You can discuss habits of the past using simple past tense

I always participated in the school gathering.

She often played guitar in the party.

He never played any sport in the school life.

Did you ever study sincerely in your childhood?

English Grammar: Simple present tense

During our English speaking courses, many people question the importance of grammar in spoken English, while some fervently support it. I guess this question can be reserved for other times. Today we are going to take a look at Simple Present Tense and it supplications in spoken English.

Simple present tense is basic tense, in general, used to talk about now.

Verb

In Simple Present Tense, a basic form of a verb is used. It changes based on the subject by adding -s/-es at the end in case subject used is third person singular.

Make a statement

A statement in simple present tense is constructed in following ways.

Subject

Auxiliary Verb

Main Verb

Object

I, you, we, they

like

coffee

He, she, it

likes

coffee

I, you , we, they

do

not

like

coffee

He, she, it

does

not

like

coffee

Structure for a positive statement, in general, can be:

Subject + Verb + Object (positive statement)

Subject + Auxiliary Verb + not + Main Verb + Object (negative statement)

Ask a question

While forming an interrogative sentence, auxiliary verb precedes subject in general. The following can be used of simple present tense in interrogative sentences.

Auxiliary VerbSubjectMain VerbObject

Do

I, you, we, they

like

coffee?

Does

He, she, it

like

coffee?

Do

not

I, you, we, they

like

coffee?

Does

not

He, she, it

like

coffee?

In general structure of interrogative sentence can be

Auxiliary verb + Subject + Main verb + Object ? (positive question)

Auxiliary verb + not + Subject + Main verb + Object ? (negative question)

Applications of Simple present tense

There are many applications of simple present tense. Following is a list of the applications in general.

1.     Mentioning facts

All facts which are indisputable are stated in Simple present tense. It doesn’t matter if they have already happened in past. What matters is if they happened yesterday, happening today and will happen tomorrow? Following are examples

The sun rises in the east.

People need food.

It snows in winter.

The sky isn’t green.

2.     Talking about habits

While talking about your daily habits you may use Simple present tense.

Do you pray GOD every day?

I play tennis every Tuesday.

We often go to the cinema.

She gets up at seven o’clock every day.

3.     Narrating about books, films, and sports

While narrating about the book you just read or films you just watched or game that you just saw, simple present tense comes handy. This is because you are trying to recreate the magic for your friends and want them re-live the experience.

The hero dies at the end of the film.

A young man travels through Europe, where he meets different people.

In this book, an army invades Britain.

The main character is very a young student and works in a bookshop.

4.     Discussing a fixed timetable or plan

Simple present tense is used in discussing routine timetables or plans.

School begins at 11.30 am tomorrow.

Our train leaves at eleven.

What time does the film start?

The train arrives at seven, it leaves at seven thirty.

5.     Expressing thoughts, feelings, and states

Thoughts and feelings are always mentioned in simple present tense since you are in that moment.

It matters a great deal to him to win the game.

They feel a lot of loyalty to the company.

Ramesh doubts the truth of his statement.

She deeply regrets saying those nasty things about him.

6.     Newspapers and headlines

Headlines employ simple present tense in order to recreate the event in your imagination.

Police discover many more dead bodies.

Something wrong in Jet Crash, expert says.

Police begin a campaign to run down Naxalites.

Drunk gets nine months imprisonment.

7.     For instructions and directions

Have you ever read instructions on your shampoo bottle, they are always in simple present tense.

Mix the flour & water together, then add sugar.

Go straight on & take your first right.

Open your books and read loudly.

Park your vehicle here.

8.     In declaration or promise

I declare this pet show open.

I promise you, I won’t do anything stupid.

I assure you everything will be all right.

I announce the program is over.

 

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Usage of will and shall

Hello!

Today we shall look into difference, as far as usage is concerned, between will and shall. Most of us remember from school grammar classes that there is a difference between the two but hardly anyone can precisely tell it. Let’s have a look…

Shall is traditionally used with first person pronouns I and we. Will, on the other hand is used with first person pronouns.

I shall water the plants.

You will water the plants.

The distinction between two is blurring and the two are almost used interchangeably. New usage directs us two use will in cases where we wish to added sense of determination. Let’s take a look at following sentences..

I will go to his office and kick him.

I shall go to his office to see if he is there.

You will go to school.

You shall go to school.

This is even applicable in negative context.

I won’t go to school.

I shall not go to school.

It’s Legal

But, there are certain exceptions too. In cases where determination or duty, mostly in legal form, is to be defined, shall must be used.

You shall not leave the office before 6 p.m.

I shall take care of children.

Employees shall obey the anti-smoking policy in the office promises.

Ask or order someone

In cases of orders will is used invariably.

Will stop making that noise?

John, you will not eat chocolate today.

Ask for suggestions or advice

In British English, suggestions or advise are asked politely and hence use of shall is considered appropriate.

Shall we dance?

Where shall we go today?

Shall we go for lunch?

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Usage of may, might and must

Hello,

Today we will see the difference between may, might and must. Usage of may and might are very similar. In general both are used to describe possibilities. Choice of one is more likely in different situations, but use of both cannot be wrong completely. It is important to note that, might is simple past tense of may. Grammar pundits insist on using may in simple present tense while might in simple past tense. This is distinction is becoming blur day by day. Following are uses where may and might are replaceable with each other.

  1. Express possibility

Looking at the clouds, I feel, it may rain today.

Looking at the clouds, I feel, it might rain today.

  1. Ask permissions

May I enter your kitchen?

Might I have a chance to speak?

  1. Grant Permissions

You may enter the class.

You might speak now.

Grammar books suggest that use of may implies greater likelihood than use of might. Both are equally accepted these days. While asking permissions, may is favoured than might.

May is also used in following situation.

  • Express wish or prayer

May all your dreams come true on your birthday.

Might is used in following situations

  • Express counter facts

If they had lived in another time, their lives might have been different.

Must on other hand is used to imply compulsion or obligation. Following are its uses

  1. Be obliged

I must return his money.

  1. Necessity; need to

Humans must eat food and drink enough water in order to stay healthy.

  1. Compelled to, by law or force

You must complete to homework before you leave the class.

  1. Forced because of requirement of honesty

I must come out clean. It’s me who stolen money from your bag.

  1. Urge to do

I must attend your party.

In conclusion, use of must leaves you with no other possibility whereas use of may or might is full of possibilities. Keep liking us so that we can keep posting these new things over here.