Grammar: Tenses: forms-signals-functions on the web-site for teachers and learners of English as a secondary language from a German point of view
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Tenses: forms, signal words and functions:
 
tenses forms examples signal words functions
will-future will + infinitive My friend hopes 
he'll get a good job.
I hope, 
I expect, 
I believe 
soon, 
in the next few days, 
in the future, tomorrow, 
this evening
The "will-future" gives expression to ... 
...an action that will take place in the future

...to a spontaneous decision and/or
...to an action that can't be planned (e.g. weather).

going to- future am, is, are
 + going to
 + verb
   (infinitive
He is going to apply for a job as a secretary in a big firm next week. in the next few days, 
in the future, 
this evening, 
next weekend
The "going to-future" gives expression to an action that somebody intends / is going to do in the future(planned)
present progressive am

is + verb +-ing

are

He is writing letters of application now. 

He is applying for the job at 3 p.m. tommorrow. 

now, just, at the moment, look !, right now, still
 

at 3 p.m. tomorrow

The "present progressive" gives expression to an action that is going on at the moment

The "present progressive" gives expression to an action that is planned to happen at a certain date in the future

simple present he

she + verb +-s

it


He always reads the vacancies in the newspapers.
 

First he reads the vacancies in the newspapers, then he does his work.

The moon goes round the earth and the earth goes round the sun.

every day, always, often, normally, usually, regularly, sometimes, occasionally, seldom, on Sundays, at weekends

First... then.. afterwards 

The "simple present" gives expression to ...
- a repeated action that often, sometimes ... happens, but not to an action that is happening at the moment (see "present progressive").

- to a list of facts.
 

- to an "eternal truth".

present perfect have, has 
         + -ed or 
         + 3 rd 
            form
He has been unemployed for half a year. this week, this month, this year, 
today, 
since, for.., 
...ever...?
...yet? 
not... yet. 
already, just, recently, lately
The "present perfect" gives expression to an action that started in the past and goes on in the present.
past verb + - ed or 
           2nd form
He worked as a lorry driver. yesterday, 
last week, 
last month, 
last ....
Before(conj.)....
The "simple past" gives expression to an action that started in the past and finished in the past
past progressive was / were + -ing While father was doing the washing up
Mum was phoning Granny.
at ten o'clock last night
when
while
The "past progressive" gives expression to apparently continuous uninterrupted actions in the past 
(perhaps suddenly interrupted by an action in "simple past")
past perfect  had + - ed or 
        + 3rd form
After he had survived an accident he gave up this job.
He had survived an accident before he gave up this job
up to that time in the past.
"married" to a clause in "simple past"
After (conj.)...
The "past perfect" gives expression to an action which started in the past and ended before another action in the past started


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Table of contents
Tenses: forms-
signals-functions
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Zeitstrahl
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Relative clauses
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