What are tenses? - Learn all about tenses. Tenses in Grammar (Tenses lesson)

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Welcome to twominenglish.com - teaching you English through two-minute lessons. This lesson will help you learn verb tenses and their use.


Lily: Hello James, let’s talk about verb tenses in English today.

James: Okay! Verb tenses are used to describe the time of an action, whether it is in the present, the past, or the future.

Lily: For example, when we talk about current news or actions we use present tense. What tense do we use when talking about events that are over?

James: We use the past tense to talk about events which are completed, and we use the future tense to talk about events that haven’t happened yet.

Lily: There are also variations of these three verb tenses to indicate if the action is a continuing one, or if it is a past action that influences the present, or if it is a future action that will continue for a while, and so on.  Today we’ll only talk about simple past, present and future tense.

James: So how do we make the verb tenses?

Lily: Tenses are created by modifying a verb. For example, the verb "call." Can you think of the present, past and future tenses for this verb?

James: Sure I can! Present tense is "call," past tense is "called" and future tense is "will call."


Lily: “Please call your brother” is present tense. It shows that the action is now.

James: “I called my mother yesterday” shows that the action happened before now.

Lily: “I will call my sister tomorrow” shows that the action will take place in the future.

James:  English has regular verbs and irregular verbs. Regular verb tenses are all made the same way. The present tense is the verb without anything added. To make the past tense, add “ed” to the present tense. So the past tense of call is called, the past tense of walk is walked, and the past tense of exercise is exercised.

Lily:  How do we make the future tense then?

James: Just add “will” to the present tense of the verb.  I will walk to the store tomorrow morning. He will exercise three times a week.


Lily: Let’s see some example dialogues which will help us understand regular verb tenses.


Fan of outdoor sports?

James:  I learned to ski on my trip to Utah.

Nathan: Well, James, it sounds like you enjoyed your trip.

James:  It was a long drive but my friends and I listened to music all the way.  


Nathan: Did you ski on the more difficult trails?

James: Yes, and it scared me.

Nathan: You will learn to enjoy it, I’ll bet.  I love outdoor sports.

James: Probably I will like it when I get better at it, but I think you enjoy them more.



A hard day at work

Alice: I hoped you would clean the apartment.

Christie: I cleaned the apartment yesterday and I will clean it again tomorrow.

Alice: What happened this  morning?

Christie: I worked from 8 in the morning until now.

Alice: Sorry, I believed you had the day off. Shall I fix you some dinner?

Christie: Thank you. I will want some later, but not now.  


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