Gramverbs's Blog

October 2, 2009


Filed under: Uncategorized — gramverbs @ 8:36 pm




The benefits of learning grammar outweigh the work involved in studying the course. It’s a hard subject to understand and it involves many different concepts which are used in everyday life. Good grammar is just as noticeable as bad grammar; a person will discover as they study. Learning grammar is beneficial for the work force, since employers pay attention to speaking and writing skills of potential employees. Also, a person who speaks and writes well is more respected and shown more courtesy.

In writing and speaking, you often have to show when something happens. Is it taking place now? Later? Did it happen earlier in the day, a week ago, a year ago, or when dinosaurs roamed the earth? In English, tense is used to show when something happens. It is important to understand the meaning and use of tenses in English. The form may be like that of a tense in your own language, but the meaning may be different, so be very careful!


Lesson 1 (Simple Past)

Filed under: Uncategorized — gramverbs @ 8:31 pm

Past Perfectbook-02


The past perfect tense is often used in English when we are relating two events which happened in the past. It helps to show which event happened first. This page will explain the rules for forming and using the tense.Forming the past perfect tense

This tense is formed using two components: the verb HAVE (in the past tense), and the past participle form of a verb. With a regular verb the past participle ends with -ED (just like the simple past). Irregular verbs have a special past participle form that you have to learn. Here are the rules, using the regular verb “arrive” and the irregular verb “eat”:


Using the Past Perfect

The past perfect is used to show you which of two events happened first. Imagine that two things happened in the past:


Here, we don’t know which order the events happened in. That may be important — perhaps I went to see the movie after the discussion, or maybe I saw the movie before the discussion. There are many ways to make this sequence clear, and the past perfect is one of them. This is how we do it:


Here, we KNOW that the discussion took place FIRST — even though the sentence describing it comes afterwards. We discussed the movie, and THEN I went to see it. This can be very useful when you are telling a story or relating a sequence of events. At any point in your story, you can jump BACK to a previous event, and your reader will not be confused, because the past perfect will make it clear that the event happened previously. Here is another example:



[had + past participle]


  • You had studied English before you moved to New York.
  • Had you studied English before you moved to New York?
  • You had not studied English before you moved to New York.

Complete List of Past Perfect Forms

USE 1 Completed Action Before Something in the Past


The Past Perfect expresses the idea that something occurred before another action in the past. It can also show that something happened before a specific time in the past.


  • had never seen such a beautiful beach before I went to Kauai.
  • I did not have any money because I had lost my wallet.
  • Tony knew Istanbul so well because he had visited the city several times.
  • Had Susan ever studied Thai before she moved to Thailand?
  • She only understood the movie because she had read the book.
  • Kristine had never been to an opera before last night.
  • We were not able to get a hotel room because we had not booked in advance.
  • A: Had you ever visited the U.S. before your trip in 2006?
    B: Yes, I had been to the U.S. once before.

USE 2 Duration Before Something in the Past (Non-Continuous Verbs)


With Non-Continuous Verbs and some non-continuous uses of Mixed Verbs, we use the Past Perfect to show that something started in the past and continued up until another action in the past.


  • We had had that car for ten years before it broke down.
  • By the time Alex finished his studies, he had been in London for over eight years.
  • They felt bad about selling the house because they had owned it for more than forty years.

Although the above use of Past Perfect is normally limited to Non-Continuous Verbs and non-continuous uses of Mixed Verbs, the words “live,” “work,” “teach,” and “study” are sometimes used in this way even though they are NOT Non-Continuous Verbs.

IMPORTANT Specific Times with the Past Perfect

Unlike with the Present Perfect, it is possible to use specific time words or phrases with the Past Perfect. Although this is possible, it is usually not necessary.


  • She had visited her Japanese relatives once in 1993 before she moved in with them in 1996.


If the Past Perfect action did occur at a specific time, the Simple Past can be used instead of the Past Perfect when “before” or “after” is used in the sentence. The words “before” and “after” actually tell you what happens first, so the Past Perfect is optional. For this reason, both sentences below are correct.


  • She had visited her Japanese relatives once in 1993 before she moved in with them in 1996.
  • She visited her Japanese relatives once in 1993 before she moved in with them in 1996.



If the Past Perfect is not referring to an action at a specific time, Past Perfect is not optional. Compare the examples below. Here Past Perfect is referring to a lack of experience rather than an action at a specific time. For this reason, Simple Past cannot be used.


  • She never saw a bear before she moved to Alaska. Not Correct
  • She had never seen a bear before she moved to Alaska. Correct


The examples below show the placement for grammar adverbs such as: always, only, never, ever, still, just, etc.


  • You had previously studied English before you moved to New York.
  • Had you previously studied English before you moved to New York?



  • George had repaired many cars before he received his mechanic’s license. Active
  • Many cars had been repaired by George before he received his mechanic’s license. Passive

    Lesson 2 (Present Perfect)

    Filed under: Uncategorized — gramverbs @ 8:22 pm

    Present Perfectbook-02


    Here is a brief review of the form and function of the present perfect tense.



    [has/have + past participle]

    • You have seen that movie many times.
    • Have you seen that movie many times?
    • You have not seen that movie many times.

    Complete List Of Present Perfect

    USE 1 Unspecified Time Before Now


    We use the Present Perfect to say that an action happened at an unspecified time before now. The exact time is not important. You CANNOT use the Present Perfect with specific time expressions such as: yesterday, one year ago, last week, when I was a child, when I lived in Japan, at that moment, that day, one day, etc. We CAN use the Present Perfect with unspecific expressions such as: ever, never, once, many times, several times, before, so far, already, yet, etc.


    • have seen that movie twenty times.
    • I think I have met him once before.
    • There have been many earthquakes in California.
    • People have traveled to the Moon.
    • People have not traveled to Mars.
    • Have you read the book yet?
    • Nobody has ever climbed that mountain.
    • A: Has there ever been a war in the United States?
      B: Yes, there has been a war in the United States.

    How Do You Actually Use the Present Perfect?

    The concept of “unspecified time” can be very confusing to English learners. It is best to associate Present Perfect with the following topics:

    TOPIC 1 Experience

    You can use the Present Perfect to describe your experience. It is like saying, “I have the experience of…” You can also use this tense to say that you have never had a certain experience. The Present Perfect is NOT used to describe a specific event.


    • have been to France.
      This sentence means that you have had the experience of being in France. Maybe you have been there once, or several times.
    • have been to France three times.
      You can add the number of times at the end of the sentence.
    • have never been to France.
      This sentence means that you have not had the experience of going to France.
    • I think I have seen that movie before.
    • He has never traveled by train.
    • Joan has studied two foreign languages.
    • A: Have you ever met him?
      B: No, I have not met him.

    TOPIC 2 Change Over Time

    We often use the Present Perfect to talk about change that has happened over a period of time.


    • You have grown since the last time I saw you.
    • The government has become more interested in arts education.
    • Japanese has become one of the most popular courses at the university since the Asian studies program was established.
    • My English has really improved since I moved to Australia.

    TOPIC 3 Accomplishments

    We often use the Present Perfect to list the accomplishments of individuals and humanity. You cannot mention a specific time.


    • Man has walked on the Moon.
    • Our son has learned how to read.
    • Doctors have cured many deadly diseases.
    • Scientists have split the atom.

    TOPIC 4 An Uncompleted Action You Are Expecting

    We often use the Present Perfect to say that an action which we expected has not happened. Using the Present Perfect suggests that we are still waiting for the action to happen.


    • James has not finished his homework yet.
    • Susan hasn’t mastered Japanese, but she can communicate.
    • Bill has still not arrived.
    • The rain hasn’t stopped.

    TOPIC 5 Multiple Actions at Different Times

    We also use the Present Perfect to talk about several different actions which have occurred in the past at different times. Present Perfect suggests the process is not complete and more actions are possible.


    • The army has attacked that city five times.
    • have had four quizzes and five tests so far this semester.
    • We have had many major problems while working on this project.
    • She has talked to several specialists about her problem, but nobody knows why she is sick.

    Time Expressions with Present Perfect

    When we use the Present Perfect it means that something has happened at some point in our lives before now. Remember, the exact time the action happened is not important.


    Sometimes, we want to limit the time we are looking in for an experience. We can do this with expressions such as: in the last week, in the last year, this week, this month, so far, up to now, etc.



    • Have you been to Mexico in the last year?
    • have seen that movie six times in the last month.
    • They have had three tests in the last week.
    • She graduated from university less than three years ago. She has worked for three different companies so far.
    • My car has broken down three times this week.


    “Last year” and “in the last year” are very different in meaning. “Last year” means the year before now, and it is considered a specific time which requires Simple Past. “In the last year” means from 365 days ago until now. It is not considered a specific time, so it requires Present Perfect.


    • went to Mexico last year.
      I went to Mexico in the calendar year before this one.
    • have been to Mexico in the last year.
      I have been to Mexico at least once at some point between 365 days ago and now.

    USE 2 Duration From the Past Until Now (Non-Continuous Verbs)


    With Non-Continuous Verbs and non-continuous uses of Mixed Verbs, we use the Present Perfect to show that something started in the past and has continued up until now. “For five minutes,” “for two weeks,” and “since Tuesday” are all durations which can be used with the Present Perfect.


    • I have had a cold for two weeks.
    • She has been in England for six months.
    • Mary has loved chocolate since she was a little girl.

    Although the above use of Present Perfect is normally limited to Non-Continuous Verbs and non-continuous uses of Mixed Verbs, the words “live,” “work,” “teach,” and “study” are sometimes used in this way even though they are NOT Non-Continuous Verbs.


    The examples below show the placement for grammar adverbs such as: always, only, never, ever, still, just, etc.


    • You have only seen that movie one time.
    • Have you only seen that movie one time?

      Lesson3 (Simple Future)

      Filed under: Uncategorized — gramverbs @ 8:17 pm

      Simple Futurebook-02

      Simple Future has two different forms in English: “will” and “be going to.” Although the two forms can sometimes be used interchangeably, they often express two very different meanings. These different meanings might seem too abstract at first, but with time and practice, the differences will become clear. Both “will” and “be going to” refer to a specific time in the future.


      FORM Will

      [will + verb]


      • You will help him later.
      • Will you help him later?
      • You will not help him later.

      FORM Be Going To

      [am/is/are + going to + verb]


      • You are going to meet Jane tonight.
      • Are you going to meet Jane tonight?
      • You are not going to meet Jane tonight.

      Complete List of Simple Future Forms

      USE 1 “Will” to Express a Voluntary Action

      “Will” often suggests that a speaker will do something voluntarily. A voluntary action is one the speaker offers to do for someone else. Often, 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.


      • will send you the information when I get it.
      • will translate the email, so Mr. Smith can read it.
      • Will you help me move this heavy table?
      • Will you make dinner?
      • will not do your homework for you.
      • won’t do all the housework myself!
      • A: I’m really hungry.B: I‘ll make some sandwiches.
      • A: I’m so tired. I’m about to fall asleep.B: I‘ll get you some coffee.
      • A: The phone is ringing.B: I‘ll get it.

      USE 2 “Will” to Express a Promise

      “Will” is usually used in promises.


      • will call you when I arrive.
      • If I am elected President of the United States, I will make sure everyone has access to inexpensive health insurance.
      • I promise I will not tell him about the surprise party.
      • Don’t worry, I‘ll be careful.
      • I won’t tell anyone your secret.

      USE 3 “Be going to” to Express a Plan

      “Be going to” expresses that something is a plan. It expresses the idea that a person intends to do something in the future. It does not matter whether the plan is realistic or not.


      • He is going to spend his vacation in Hawaii.
      • She is not going to spend her vacation in Hawaii.
      • A: When are we going to meet each other tonight?B: We are going to meet at 6 PM.
      • I‘m going to be an actor when I grow up.
      • Michelle is going to begin medical school next year.
      • They are going to drive all the way to Alaska.
      • Who are you going to invite to the party?
      • A: Who is going to make John’s birthday cake?B: Sue is going to make John’s birthday cake.

      USE 4 “Will” or “Be Going to” to Express a Prediction

      Both “will” and “be going to” can express the idea of a general prediction about the future. Predictions are guesses about what might happen in the future. In “prediction” sentences, the subject usually has little control over the future and therefore USES 1-3 do not apply. In the following examples, there is no difference in meaning.


      • The year 2222 will be a very interesting year.
      • The year 2222 is going to be a very interesting year.
      • John Smith will be the next President.
      • John Smith is going to be the next President.
      • The movie “Zenith” will win several Academy Awards.
      • The movie “Zenith” is going to win several Academy Awards.


      In the Simple Future, it is not always clear which USE the speaker has in mind. Often, there is more than one way to interpret a sentence’s meaning.

      No Future in Time Clauses

      Like all future forms, the Simple Future cannot be used in clauses beginning with time expressions such as: when, while, before, after, by the time, as soon as, if, unless, etc. Instead of Simple Future, Simple Present is used.


      • When you will arrive tonight, we will go out for dinner. Not Correct
      • When you arrive tonight, we will go out for dinner. Correct


      The examples below show the placement for grammar adverbs such as: always, only, never, ever, still, just, etc.


      • You will never help him.
      • Will you ever help him?
      • You are never going to meet Jane.
      • Are you ever going to meet Jane?

      English does not have a verb form specifically used to express future tense. We have to choose from avariety of forms(using ‘will’/’shall’‘going to’the present continuousthe present simple, etc.) to talk about future events. The future expressed with the modal auxiliaries will and shallthe base form of the verb is known as thefuture simple tense or ‘will’ future. Keep in mind, however, that ‘will’ doesn’t always serve to indicate the future. We can use ‘will’ to talk about events happening at the present. (For example: This car won’t start.)



      We use the Future Simple Tense:

      The future simple tense is composed of two parts:will/shall + base verb. Will and shall are often contracted to‘ll.Affirmative formI          +   shall / will  +  work weyouhe/she/it       +  will  +  workthey1. I shall/will write her tomorrow. 2. We shall/will go shopping together during the holidays.

      Note: ‘Will’ is used with all persons. ‘Shall’ can be used instead of ‘will’ with I/we. In modern English,particularly in American English, ’shall’with a future reference is rarely used.

      Negative form

      I             SHALL + NOT

      we              /SHAN’T/ +                     WORK


      you              WILL + NOT

      he/she/it           /WON’T/

      we                  + WORK


      I won’t answer that question.

      They won’t accept this offer.

      Interrogative form

      To form interrogative sentences we use will with all persons:

      WILL        I       WORK?



      WILL    he/she/it    WORK?


      Will you open the window, please?

      Will you do it for me?

      Note: We use shall to make offers, ask for advices or suggestions, etc. (mainly in British English)

      1. Shall I close the door?

      2. Shall we go to picnic tomorrow?

      3. Shall I study English?

      ‘Shall’ is also used as an imperative in formal or legal written statements:

      1. The Chairman shall bepresent at the Company’s general meetings.

      2. The accused shall be present during the trial.

      1. I will finish my report later today. 2. The sun will rise at 6:03 am.3. I’ll go to the market tomorrow.4. There will be another conferencenext month. 5. I’ll come to see youon Sunday.

      6. We’ll be back on Friday afternoon.

      7. Tom will visit his parents next week.

      8. They will paint the fence blue.

      9. I will return in two hours.

      10. He will finish his homework in twenty minutes.

      11. Jane will turn 18 this year.

      12. The wedding will take place on May 8th. The ceremony will begin at 4pm, followed by a meal and a big party.Note: In certain situations we use ‘will’ to emphasize:13. Youwill drink your milk!

      14. I will find a job.

      to say that something will happen in the future. Adverbs of time that will indicate such tense may include,tomorrow,today, later today, in five minutes, in two hours, on Monday, on Saturday afternoon,next week/month,this year, etc.!Note that when we talk about prior plans,strong intentionsor fixed arrangements we do not normally use‘will’:I am going to meethim this afternoon. (‘to be’ + ‘going to’ + main form of the verb) I’m going to buy a new car this year. (‘to be’ + ‘going to’ + main form of the verb)I am goingto a party tommorrow night. (the present continuous)Tina is getting married next month. (the present continuous)! Note: ‘Will’ is used instead of ‘going to’when a formal style is required, particularly in the written language (See 12)
      1. I‘ll close the window. 2. I‘ll have a cup of tea, please.3. – The phone is ringing.- I’ll answer it. 4. – Oops, I dropped my pencil.

      – I’ll pick it up.

      to express spontaneous decision / to volunteer to do something (the action is decided at the moment of speaking)
      1. I think it will rain. 2. The weather tomorrow will besunny and warm.3. I think David Brown will be the next mayor of our city.4. Everything will be fine. 5. You are going to be a famous artist some day.

      6. I think you are going to marry a wrong person.

      to predict future events (for example, to say what we think or believe will happen), we use both ‘will’ and ‘going to’! But note that we use ‘going to’(not‘will’) to make predictions about events when there is a concrete evidence:Look at those dark clouds in the sky. It is going torain soon.
      1. I’ll be there at 7 p.m., I promise. 2. I’ll tellyour parents what you did. to make promises or threats
      1. Will you please help me to do my homework? 2. That suitcase is too heavy. I’ll helpyou. to request help or to offer help
      1. I‘ll probably get there by my car. 2. You must read this book. I’m sure you’ll like it.3. I expect Tom will pass his exam. with words and expressions such as:probably, possibly, perhaps,(I’m) sure, (I) expect
      1. If it begins to rain, I’llcertainlynead an umbrella. 2. She will tell him when he calls. to talk about consequences (withif, when, provided, unless, as, as soon as, as long as, etc.)
      1. I’ll be in Athens tomorrow. 2. I’ll be at a conference next week. when the main verb is be even if we talk about planned events
      More examples:1. Willyou goshopping? 2. Iwill not permit that kind of behaviour.3. Willour theacher come with us?Yes, hewill.      No, he won’t. 4. Our teacher won’t come with us.


      Filed under: Uncategorized — gramverbs @ 7:09 pm











      Create a free website or blog at