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English Verb Tenses

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James Shaw

on 10 February 2014

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Transcript of English Verb Tenses

Past Perfect
Past Simple
Past Continuous
Present Perfect
Present Perfect

Past Perfect Continuous
Future Perfect
Future Perfect

Will (Future Simple)
Future Simple Continuous
Present Simple
Present Continuous
be going to
When do we use it?
We use Past Simple if we give past events in the order in which they occurred. However, when we look back from a certain time in the past to tell what had happened before, we use Past Perfect.

Simple Past (some time in the past)
Jane got up at seven. She opened her birthday presents and then the whole family went to the zoo.

Past Perfect Simple (before/up to a certain time in the past)
Before her sixth birthday, Jane had never been to the zoo.

Past Perfect also focuses on the length of time that an action had been taking place.

Laura had waited five years for her boyfriend to ask her to marry him.

How do we use it?
subject + had + past participle
Simple Past


Past Perfect Simple

•up to then
•before that day

Signal words
Example: Before October I had never met you.
*Note: "After" is only used as a signal word for Past Perfect if it is followed by a subject + verb, meaning that one action had been completed before another action began (the new action is in Simple Past).

After the family had had breakfast, they went to the zoo.
However, if "after" is followed by object + subject + verb, the verb belongs to the new action and is therefore in Simple Past.

After her visit to the zoo, Jane was exhausted.

When do we use it?
We use Past Perfect Continuous if we want to talk about actions before a certain time in the past that were long actions.


She knew they
had been talking
about her because they all stopped speaking when she walked into the room.

had been working
on the film for five months when they told us it had been cancelled.

How do we use it?
subject + had + been + verb-ing
Example: Up to 2002 I had been thinking about becoming a director.
Positive forms
The positive - make it with 'had' + the past participle (usually made by adding 'ed' to the infinitive, but a few verbs have irregular past participles):

I had been (I'd been)
You had gone (you'd gone)
She had met (she'd met)
He had played (he'd played)
It had rained (it'd rained)
We had bought (we'd bought)
They had studied (they'd studied)

The short form for 'had' is 'd.
(Be careful not to confuse it with 'would'. Would is followed by the infinitive - 'I'd go', whereas had is followed by the past participle - 'I'd gone').

Negative and Question forms
For the negative just add 'not':

I had not been (I hadn't been)
You had not gone (you hadn't gone)
She had not met (she hadn't met)
He had not played (he hadn't played)
It had not rained (it hadn't rained)
We had not bought (we hadn't bought)
They had not studied (they hadn't studied)
And to make a 'yes / no' question put 'had' before the subject:

Had I come?
Had you eaten?
Had she gone?
Had it rained?
Had he studied?
Had we met?
Had they left?

For 'wh' questions put the question word at the beginning:

When had I come?
Why had you eaten?
Where had she gone?
When had it rained?
Why had he studied?
How had we met?
When had they left?

Positive forms
Here's how to make the past perfect continuous. It's 'had' + been (the past participle of 'be')+ verb-ing

Firstly, let's look at the positive form:

I had been living
You had been going
She had been sleeping
He had been working
It had been raining
We had been studying
They had been cooking

The short form is: 'd been verb-ing. Be careful, because the short form for 'would' is also 'd. However, 'would' is always followed by the infinitive, but 'had' is followed by the past participle.
Question forms
Next, the negative form:

I had not been trying (I hadn't been..)
You had not been working (you hadn't been..)
She had not been crying (she hadn't been..)
He had not been shopping (he hadn't been..)
It had not been snowing (it hadn't been..)
We had not been reading (we hadn't been..)
They had not been running (they hadn't been..)

Negative forms
It's pretty easy to make the question too.

'Yes / no' questions:

Had I been working?
Had you been sleeping?
Had she been reading?
Had he been watching TV?
Had it been raining?
Had we been drinking?
Had they been eating?

Something that started in the past and continued up to another action or event (tells us 'how long')

He had been working at that company for two years when he met Jenny.

(This tells us how long something had continued before another event in the past. We usually use 'for' or 'since' in the same way as we do with the present perfect continuous)

Cause of something in the past

The pavement was wet, it had been raining.

(It was raining before the time I'm describing in the past. We could see the result of the rain - compare with the present perfect continuous)
When do we use it?
This is the basic past tense. We use it whenever we want to talk about the past and we don't have any special situation that means we should use the past perfect, present perfect, past continuous etc.

How to choose between the present perfect and past simple

Here's when we use it:

1 Finished events in the past with no connection to the present

Leonardo painted the Mona Lisa.
The Vikings invaded Britain.

2 With a finished time word (yesterday, last week, at 2 o'clock, in 2003):

I went to the cinema yesterday.
We visited Japan in 2007.

3 For stories / lists of events:

He went to a café, sat down and lit a cigarette.
Yesterday I went to the library, met a friend for lunch, and played tennis.

4 Details of news:

I've hurt my leg. I fell off a ladder when I was painting my bedroom.
I've been on holiday. I went to Spain and Portugal.

5 As part of the second conditional:

If I won the lottery, I would buy a house in Chelsea.
If she knew his number, she would call him.
How do we use it?
Positive 'be'
Let's first have a look at the past simple of the verb 'be'
in the garden
on holiday
Negative 'be'
Negative with 'be'

was not
were not
on the bus
was not
at school
was not
was not
were not
at work
were not
Negative Short Form

on the bus
at school
at work
'Yes / No' Questions with 'Be'
I sleepy?
you late?
he at the cinema?
she kind?
it hot?
we hungry?
they at work?
'Wh' Questions with 'Be'
Why was I sleepy?
Where were you?
When was he at the cinema?
How was she?
How was it?
Why were we hungry?
When were they at work?
The Past Simple with Other Verbs
We make the past simple just like the present simple except we use 'did' instead of 'do / does'. It's really easy because 'did' doesn't change, even with 'he / she / it'.

The positive:

We usually make the positive by adding '-ed' to the infinitive. For example, 'play' becomes 'played'. However, there are some irregular verbs, for example 'go' becomes 'went' and 'run' becomes 'ran'.

I walked (regular)
you played (regular)
he cooked (regular)
she listened (regular)
it rained (regular)
we ate (irregular)
they drank (irregular)

Short Form

did not walk
didn't walk
did not play
didn't play
did not cook
didn't cook
did not listen
didn't listen
did not rain
didn't rain
did not eat
didn't eat
did not drink

didn't drink
Yes / No Questions
I walk?
you play?
he cook?
she listen?
it rain?
we eat?
they drink?
Wh Questions
where did
I go?
what did
you play?
what did
he cook?
why did
she listen?
when did
it rain?
where did
we eat?
how did
they travel?
When do we use it?
The past continuous tense in English is used quite often, especially when telling stories.

1 A continuous action in the past which is interrupted by another action or a time:

I was taking a bath when the telephone rang.
At three o'clock, I was working.

2 Background information, to give atmosphere to a story:

It was a beautiful day. The birds were singing, the sun was shining and in the cafes people were laughing and chatting.

3 An annoying and repeated action in the past, usually with 'always':

He was always leaving the tap running.
(In the same way as the Present Continuous)

4 For two actions which happened at the same time in the past:

I was watching TV and he was reading.

NB:Remember you can't use this tense or any continuous tense with stative verbs.
Designed by James Shaw. 2014.
Verb tenses from http://www.perfect-english-grammar.com

How do we use it?
How can we make the past continuous? Firstly, check that you know how to make the past simple with 'be' (subject + was / were).
Then just add verb-ing.

was sleeping
were working
was coming
was reading
'The Guardian'
was raining
were shopping
were watching a film


I was not (wasn't) sleeping
you were not (weren't) working
he was not (wasn't) coming
she was not (wasn't) reading 'The Guardian'
it was not (wasn't) raining
we were not (weren't) shopping
they were not (weren't) watching a film

Yes / No Questions




in Paris at the time?

when you arrived?



Wh Questions

was I working?

were you living?

was she travelling?

was he going?

was it snowing in the summer?

were we eating?

were they studying?

Stative Verbs
Some English verbs, which we call state, non-continuous or stative verbs, aren't used in continuous tenses (like the present continuous, or the future continuous). These verbs often describe states that last for some time. Here is a list of some common ones:

realise fit
suppose contain
mean consist


mind recognise see
own appear look (=seem)

hear astonish deny
please impress
satisfy promise surprise
(=have an opinion)
feel (=have an opinion)
wish imagine concern
have (=possession)
deserve involve include
lack measure (=have length etc)
possess owe weigh (=have weight)
Stative and DynamicVerbs
be is usually a stative verb, but when it is used in the continuous it means 'behaving' or 'acting'

you are stupid = it's part of your personality
you are being stupid = only now, not usually


think (stative) = have an opinion
I think that coffee is great
think (dynamic) = consider, have in my head
what are you thinking about? I'm thinking about my next holiday


have (stative) = own
I have a car
have (dynamic) = part of an expression
I'm having a party / a picnic / a bath / a good time / a break

When do we use it?
We use this tense for unfinished and finished actions:

Unfinished Actions

We use this tense when we want to talk about unfinished actions that started in the past and continue to the present. Usually we use it to say 'how long' an action or state has continued with 'since' and 'for'. Often, we use stative verbs in this situation:

I've known Karen since 1994.
She's lived in London for three years.

'Since' and 'For'
We use 'since' with a fixed time in the past (2004, April 23rd, last year, two hours ago). The fixed time can be another action, indicated with the past simple (since I was at school, since I arrived):

I've known Sam since 1992.
I've liked chocolate since I was a child.
She's been here since 2pm.

We use 'for' with a period of time (2 hours, three years, six months):

I've known Julie for ten years.
I've been hungry for hours.
She's had a cold for a week.

Finished Actions

1: Life experience
(we don't say when the experience happened, just sometime in the past)

I have been to Tokyo.
She has lived in Germany.
They have visited Paris three times.
We have never seen that film.
Have you ever read 'War and Peace'?

2: A finished action with a result in the present (focus on result)

I've lost my keys (so I can't get into my house).
She's hurt her leg (so she can't play tennis today).
They've missed the bus (so they will be late).
I've cooked dinner (so you should come and eat).

3: With an unfinished time word (this month, this week, today, in the last year)

I haven't seen her this month.
She's drunk three cups of coffee today.
This week they've been shopping four times.

Note: We can't use the present perfect with a finished time word:

I've seen him yesterday.
'Been' and 'Gone'
In this tense, we use both 'been' and 'gone' as the past participle of 'go', but in slightly different circumstances.

We use 'been' (often when we talk about 'life experience') to mean that the person being talked about has visited the place, and come back. Notice the preposition 'to':

I've been to Paris (in my life, but now I'm in London, where I live).
She has been to school today (but now she's back at home).
They have never been to California.

We use 'gone' (often when we are talking about an action with a result in the present) to mean that the person is at the place now:

'Where's John?' 'He's gone to the shops' (he's at the shops now).
Julie has gone to Mexico (now she's in Mexico).
They've gone to Japan for three weeks (now they're in Japan).
Been & Gone
How do we use it?
'have' / 'has' + the past participle
Positive Positive Short Form

have played
've played
have worked
've worked
has written
's written
has walked
's walked
has rained
's rained
have travelled
've travelled
have studied
've studied
Positive forms

Short Form

have not eaten
breakfast today

haven't eaten
have not been
to Asia

haven't been
has not seen the
new film

hasn't seen
has not played

hasn't played
has not snowed
this winter it
hasn't snowed
have not slept
all night

haven't sleep

have not tried
the food

haven't tried
Negative forms
Yes / No Questions
Wh Questions
the bus?
as a waiter before?

this week?
too early?
English grammar before?
have I left my umbrella?
have you done today?
has he gone already?
has she been in the UK?
has it rained so much this summer?
have we done?
have they learned English before?
When do we use it?
There are two main times we use this tense. Remember we can't use it with stative verbs.

1: To say
how long
for unfinished actions which started in the past and continue to the present. We often use this with for and since. (See the present perfect for the same use with stative verbs)

I've been living in London for two years.
She's been working here since 2004.
We've been waiting for the bus for hours.

Actions which have just stopped
(though the whole action can be unfinished)
and have a result, which we can often see, hear, or feel, in the present
(focus on action). (See the present perfect for a similar use which focuses on the result of the action)

I'm so tired, I've been studying.
I've been running, so I'm really hot.
It's been raining, the pavement is wet.
I've been reading your book, it's very good.
How do we use it?
Positive forms
Positive Positive Short Form

I have been walking I've been walking
you have been running you've been running
he has been cooking he's been cooking
she has been swimming she's been swimming
it has been raining it's been raining
we have been studying we've been studying
they have been sleeping they've been sleeping
Negative Negative Short Form

I have not been walking I haven't been walking
you have not been running you haven't been running
he has not been cooking he hasn't been cooking
she has not been swimming she hasn't been swimming
it has not been raining it hasn't been raining
we have not been studying we haven't been studying
they have not been sleeping they haven't been sleeping
Negative forms
have I been walking?
have you been running?
has he been cooking?
has she been swimming?
has it been raining?
have we been studying?
have they been sleeping?
have I been doing?
have you been running?
has he been studying?
has she been working today?
how long
has it been raining?
how long
have we been watching this film?
how long
have they been living here?
Yes / No Questions
Wh Questions
When do we use it?
1: First, we use the Present Simple when something is generally true:

The sun rises in the east.
People need food.
It snows in winter.
The sky isn't green.
Water boils at 100°C.
Plants die without water.
Two and two make four.

2: Secondly, we need to use this tense for a situation that we think is more or less permanent (see the present continuous for a temporary situation - one which we think won't last long):

Where do you live?
She works in a bank.
They love coffee.
She has three children.
I am married.
I don't like mushrooms.

3: The next use is for habits or things that we do regularly. We often use adverbs of frequency in this case (also see the present continuous for new, temporary or annoying habits):

Do you smoke?
I play tennis every Tuesday.
We often go to the cinema.
She gets up at seven o'clock every day.
At the weekend, we usually go to the market.
How often do you study English?
I don't travel very often.

4: Four, we use the Simple Present to talk about what happens in books, plays, or films:

The hero dies at the end of the film.
A young woman travels through Europe, where she meets different people, and finally falls in love.
In this book, an army invades Britain.
The main character is very pretty and works in a bookshop.

5: We use it in the first and the zero conditional:

6: Strangely, we can use this tense to talk about the future. When you are discussing a timetable or a fixed plan, you can use this tense. Usually, the timetable is fixed by an organisation, not by us:

School begins at nine tomorrow.
Our train leaves at eleven.
What time does the film start?
The plane doesn't arrive at seven, it arrives at seven thirty.
When does the class finish?

7: We also use it to talk about the future after words like ' 'when', 'until', 'after', 'before' and 'as soon as' in a future sentence:

I will call you when I have time. (Not: 'will have')
I won't go out until it stops raining.
She'll come as soon as her babysitter arrives.
I'm going to make dinner after I watch the news.
I'll give you the book before you go.

8: We need to use this simple tense with some special verbs which we don't use in continuous tenses (stative verbs). Click here for more information about stative verbs:

This soup tastes great.
You look fabulous.
I think she is very pretty.
I am cold.
I promise I will help you.

How do we use it?

I am I'm
you are you're
he is he's
she is she's
it is it's
we are we're
they are they're
Simple present tense with 'be'
Positive forms
Negative forms

I am not I'm not
you are not you aren't
he is not he isn't
she is not she isn't
it is not it isn't
we are not we aren't
they are not they aren't
Yes / No Questions

Am I ?
Are you ?
Is he ?
Is she ?
Is it ?
Are we ?
Are they ?
Yes / No Questions
Wh Questions
where am I ?
what are you ?
why is he
who is she ?
when are we ?
how are they ?
Simple present tense with other verbs
The positive is really easy. It's just the verb with an extra 's' if the subject is 'he', 'she', or 'it'. Let's take the verb 'play' as an example:

Positive (of 'play')
I play
you play
he plays
she plays
it plays
we play
they play

Don't forget the 's'! Even really advanced students do this!
For a few verbs, there is a spelling change before the 's'. For example, 'study' becomes 'studies'

There are also few verbs which are irregular in the present simple:

'have' becomes 'has'
'do' becomes 'does'
'go' becomes 'goes

Positive forms
Negative forms
To make the negative form, you need to use 'do not' (don't) or ' does not' (doesn't).

Negative (of 'play')

I do not play I don't play
you do not play you don't play
he does not play he doesn't play
she does not play she doesn't play
it does not play it doesn't play
we do not play we don't play
they do not play they don't play
do I play ?
do you play ?
does he play ?
does she play ?
does it play ?
do we play ?
do they play ?
Yes / No Questions
Wh Questions
where do I play ?
what do you play ?
why does he play ?
who does she play ?
when do we play ?
how do they play ?
Spelling Rules
Some verbs have present simple spelling changes with 'he', 'she' or 'it':

Verbs that end in 'y':

Verbs that end in 'y' often change 'y' to 'ie' before 's':

study becomes studies
try becomes tries
marry becomes marries
fly becomes flies
cry becomes cries

(Be careful! 'y' doesn't change to 'ie' if the ending is 'ay', 'ey', 'oy', 'uy'. So, play becomes plays, say becomes says, buy becomes buys, enjoy becomes enjoys, stay becomes stays)

Verbs that end in 'es', 'sh', 'ch', or 'x':

Verbs that end in 's', 'sh', 'ch' or 'x' often add 'e' before 's':

pass becomes passes
wash becomes washes
teach becomes teaches


see (stative) = see with your eyes / understand
I see what you mean
I see her now, she's just coming along the road
see (dynamic) = meet / have a relationship with
I've been seeing my boyfriend for three years
I'm seeing Robert tomorrow


taste (stative) = has a certain taste
This soup tastes great
The coffee tastes really bitter
taste (dynamic) = the action of tasting
The chef is tasting the soup

('taste' is the same as other similar verbs such as 'smell')
How do we use it?
When do we use it?
1: First, we use it for things that are happening at the moment of speaking.

I'm working at the moment.
Please call back as we are eating dinner now.
Julie is sleeping.
You are studying the present continuous.

2: We can also use this tense for temporary situations, when we feel something won't continue for a long time.

She's staying with her friend for a week.
I'm living in London for a few months.
John's working in a bar until he finds a job in his
I'm reading a really great book.

Compare this with the present simple, which is used for permanent situations that we feel will continue for a long time.

3: We can use the present continuous for habits but they have to be temporary or new habits (for normal habits that continue for a long time, we use the present simple).

He's eating a lot these days.
She's swimming every morning (she didn't use to do this).
You're smoking too much.
They're working late every night.

4: Another present continuous use is for annoying habits, when we want to show that something happens too often and we don't like it. In this case we usually use an adverb like 'always', 'forever' or 'constantly'.

You're always losing your keys!
She's constantly missing the train.
He's always sleeping in.
They're forever being late.

5: The next use is for definite future arrangements (with a future time word). In this case we have already made a plan and we are pretty sure that the event will happen in the future.

I'm meeting my father tomorrow.
We're going to the beach at the weekend.
I'm leaving at three.
They're coming to the party at the weekend.

6: Finally we use this tense to talk about a situation which is slowly changing.

I'm getting better at playing the piano.
The weather is improving.

We can't use the this tense (or any other continuous tense) with stative verbs.
Positive forms
Negative forms
Yes / No Questions
Wh Questions
present simple of 'be' + verb-ing:
I am sleeping I'm sleeping
you are sleeping you're sleeping
he is sleeping he's sleeping
she is sleeping she's sleeping
it is sleeping it's sleeping
we are sleeping we're sleeping
they are sleeping they're sleeping
We can make the negative by adding 'not':
I am not sleeping I'm not sleeping
you are not playing you aren't playing
he is not reading he isn't reading
she is not working she isn't working
it is not raining it isn't raining
we are not cooking we aren't cooking
they are not listening they aren't listening
Questions are also really, really easy. Just like we made the question with 'be' in the present simple, here we also put 'am', 'is', or 'are' before the subject to make a 'yes / no' question:

am I eating chocolate ?
are you studying now ?
is he working ?
is she doing her homework ?
is it raining ?
are we meeting at six ?
are they coming ?
Why am I eating chocolate ?
What are you studying now ?
When is he working ?
What is she doing ?
Why is it raining ?
Who are we meeting ?
How are they travelling ?
When do we use it?
We use the simple future for:

A decision at the moment of speaking:
A: 'I'm cold'.
B: 'I'll close the window'.

Prediction based on opinion:
I think the Conservatives will win the next election.

A future fact:
The sun will rise at 7am.

Promises / requests / refusal / willingness:
I'll help you with your homework.
Will you give me a hand?
I will give up smoking!

In the same way as the future continuous, but with state verbs:
I'll be at the station when you arrive.

'Shall' is used mainly in the forms 'shall I ?' and 'shall we?' in British English. These forms are used when you want to get someone's opinion, especially for offers and suggestions:

Shall I open the window? (=do you want me to open the window).
Where shall we go tonight? (=what's your opinion?).
How do we use it?
Here's the positive form (it's just 'will' + infinitive):

I will meet him later (I'll ..)
You will come (you'll..)
It will rain tomorrow (it'll)
She will be late (she'll..)
He will help us later (he'll..)
We will get married in September (we'll)
They will cook dinner (they'll..)

Positive forms
Negative forms
Yes / No Questions
Wh Questions
Next, here's the negative form (just add 'not' - remember will not = won't):

I will not go (I won't ..)
You will not be late (you won't ..)
It will not snow tomorrow (it won't..)
She will not get the job (she won't..)
He will not pass the exam (he won't ..)
We will not come (we won't..)
They will not stop (they won't ..)

Will I go?
Will you come early?
Will it be cold?
Will she dance?
Will he arrive soon?
Will we cook?
Will they leave?

Where will I go?
Why will you come early?
When will it be cold?
Who will she dance with?
What time will he arrive?
What will we cook?
When will they leave?

When do we use it?
A continuous action in the future which is interrupted by a time or by another action.

I'll be waiting when you arrive.
At eight o'clock, I'll be eating dinner.
(see the past continuous which is used in a
similar way).

A complete action in the future that will happen in the normal course of events.

The Government will be making a statement later.

Because this talks about something that will happen if everything is as we planned, we often use this tense to ask politely about what someone is going to do.

Will you be taking your car to the meeting? (=I'm asking very indirectly and politely - perhaps I want to get a lift).

To make a guess about the present.

My mother will be working now (= I think she is working now, but I'm not completely certain).
Positive forms
Negative forms
Yes / No Questions
Wh Questions
How do we use it?
The positive (will + be + verb-ing):

At 10 am tomorrow,

I will be sleeping
you will be working
she will be studying
it will be raining
he will be cooking
we will be eating breakfast
they will be travelling

When James gets home,

I will not be working (I won't be ..)
you will not be reading (you won't be ..)
he will not be cooking (he won't be ..)
she will not be studying (she won't be ..)
it will not be snowing (it won't be ..)
we will not be watching TV (we won't be ..)
they will not be sleeping (they won't be ..)

As with the positive, we usually use the short form (won't + be + verb-ing) when speaking.
When he arrives at the party,

will I be cooking?
will you be dancing?
will she be singing?
will he be eating?
will we be drinking?
will it be snowing?
will they be talking?

Next weekend,

what will I be doing?
where will you be working?
how will she be travelling?
what will he be eating?
why will we be studying?
why will it be snowing?
what will they be wearing?

When do we use it?
We use 'be going to' + infinitive for:

Future plans made before the moment of speaking:

A: 'We've run out of milk.'
B: 'I know, I'm going to buy some.'

Prediction based on present evidence:

Look at those boys playing football! They're going to break the window.
Positive forms
Negative forms
Yes / No Questions
How do we use it?

I am going to finish War & Peace one day.
You are going to pass the FCE exam.
It is going to rain later.
She is going to fall in those massive high-heels.
He is going to make a big announcement at
some point this week.
We are going to be masters of the English
language if we learn this.
They are going to get married - look at them
trying on rings.
I am not going to finish War & Peace this week.
You are not going to pass the FCE exam, if you
don't study.
It is not going to be sunny later.
She is not going to arrive in time for the concert
because she's stuck in traffic.
He is not going to give up smoking - he never lasts
more than weeks.
We are not going to be masters of the English
language if we don't learn this.
They are not going to get married - they think it's
only a piece of paper.
Am I going to pass the exam?
Are you going to go to University today?
Is he going to see her again?
Is she going to see him again?
Is it going to be a nice day tomorrow?
Are we going to study grammar all class?
Are they going to win the league?
Wh Questions
How am I going to pass the exam?
Why are you going to see her again?
Who is he going to see?
Who is she going to see?
Which day is going to be sunny?
When are we going to play a game?
How are they going to win with only eight players?
More examples:

(The phone rings)
Julie: I'll get it!
('I'm going to get it' is very strange, because it makes us think that Julie knew the phone was going to ring before it did).

I'm going to go on holiday next week.
('I'll go on holiday next week' makes it sound like you've only just decided at that minute. Of course, this is possible, but normally we plan our holidays more in advance!).

Other points about the future:

We use the present continuous tense for definite future arrangements. Often, it doesn't really matter if we choose 'be going to' or the present continuous. In the following example, there is really very little difference in meaning:

I'm going to the cinema tonight.
I'm going to go to the cinema tonight.

We use the present simple tense in two cases. First, we use it for a timetabled event in the future, like public transport or the start of a class:

My train leaves at six tonight.
His class starts at 9am tomorrow.

Second, we use it after certain words, when the sentence has a future meaning. These words are: before / after / as soon as / until / when :

I'll call you when I get home.
She's going to study after she finishes dinner.
Please drink some water as soon as you complete
the race.
When do we use it?
The future perfect tense in English isn't very common, but it is useful in some situations, and it's very important to understand it when you hear it. I recommend trying the exercises about how to make this tense first, as it's easy to get confused with all the different auxiliary verbs.

Also it's good to listen to how to pronounce it - as this tense has so many auxiliary verbs, we usually shorten it when we speak.

We use this English verb tense:

With a future time word, (and often with 'by') to talk about an action that will finish before a certain time in the future, but we don't know exactly when.

By 10 o'clock I will have finished my homework. (=I will finish my homework some time before 10, but we don't know exactly when)
By the time I'm sixty, I will have retired. (= I will retire sometime before I'm sixty. We don't know exactly when, but definitely before my sixtieth birthday)
Positive forms
Negative forms
Yes / No Questions
How do we use it?
The future perfect is made with the future simple of 'have' (will have) and the past participle. For regular past participles add 'ed' to the verb ('play' becomes 'played').

Here's the positive:

By six pm tonight:

I will have finished this book
You will have studied the English tenses
She will have cooked dinner
He will have arrived
We will have met Julie
It will have stopped raining
They will have left Japan

For the short form, we change will to 'll. But, when we are speaking, we also make 'have' shorter, so it sounds like I'll've finished (don't write this!)
By next week,

I will not have finished this book. (I won't have...)
You will not have studied the English tenses. (You won't have...)
She will not have cooked dinner. (She won't have...)
He will not have arrived. (He won't have...)
We will not have met Julie. (We won't have...)
It will not have stopped raining. (It won't have...)
They will not have left Japan. (They won't have...)

By next year,

will I have finished writing this book?
will you have studied all the English verb tenses?
will she have graduated?
will he have got married?
will it have got colder?
will we have met your boyfriend?
will they have left their jobs?

When will I have finished writing this book?
Why will you have studied all the English verb
tenses by tomorrow?
When will she have been here three weeks?
Why will he have got married before June?
Why will it have got colder by May?
How will we have met your boyfriend by tonight?
When will they have left their jobs?

Wh Questions
When do we use it?
We use the future perfect continuous tense to:

With a time word, to talk about an action which starts before a time in the future and continues up to that time.

In April 2009, I will have been teaching here for two years. (=I started in April 2007 and still teach here now, probably I will continue after April 2009 but we are not sure).

We often use this tense (instead of the present perfect continuous ) because we like easy numbers.

For example, imagine now it is March 2013. I started working in my job in April 2011. If you ask me: how long have you been working here?', I don't want to say '1 year and 11 months' because it's a bit long and complicated. I prefer to use the future perfect continuous so I can say 2 years , which is an easier number.

So, instead of saying: I've been working here for 1 year and 11 months (using the present perfect continuous)
I prefer: In April, I will have been working here for 2 years.
Positive forms
Negative forms
Yes / No Questions
How do we use it?
Wh Questions
Positive Form Positive Short Form

I will have been working I'll have been working
You will have been sleeping You'll have been sleeping
She will have been studying She'll have been studying
He will have been cooking He'll have been cooking
It will have been raining It'll have been raining
We will have been exercising We'll have been exercising
They will have been travelling They'll have been travelling
Negative Form Negative Short Form

I will not have been working I won't have been working
You will not have been sleeping You won't have been sleeping
She will not have been studying She won't have been studying
He will not have been cooking He won't have been cooking
It will not have been raining It won't have been raining
We will not have been exercising We won't have been exercising
They will not have been travelling They won't have been travelling
Will I have been working?
Will you have been sleeping?
Will she have been studying?
Will he have been cooking?
Will it have been raining?
Will we have been exercising?
Will they have been travelling?
Where will I have been working?
Why will you have been sleeping?
Where will she have been studying?
What will he have been cooking?
How long will it have been raining?
Where will we have been exercising?
How long will they have been travelling?
be was / were been
become became become
begin began begun
bring brought brought
buy bought bought
choose chose chosen
come came come
do did done
drink drank drunk
drive drove driven
eat ate eaten
fall fell fallen
feel felt felt
find found found
fly flew flown
forget forgot forgotten
get got got / gotten
give gave given
go went gone/ been

have had had
hear heard heard
keep kept kept
know knew known
leave left left
lend lent lent
let let let
lose lost lost
make made made
meet met met
pay paid paid
put put put
read read read
run ran run
say said said
see saw seen
sell sold sold
send sent sent
sing sang sung

sit sat sat
sleep slept slept
speak spoke spoken
stand stood stood
swim swam swum
take took taken
teach taught taught
tell told told
think thought thought
understand understood understood
wear wore worn
write wrote written
Fifty of the most common irregular verbs

Where had I been working?
How long had you been sleeping?
What had she been reading?
How long had he been watching TV?
How long had it been raining?
What had we been drinking?
Why had they been eating?
Wh Questions
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