How do the tens­es and as­pects in English cor­re­spond tem­po­ral­ly to one an­oth­er?

Non-na­tive speak­ers of­ten get con­fused about what the var­i­ous tens­es
and as­pects mean in English. With in­put from some of the folk here I’ve
put to­geth­er a di­a­gram that I hope will pro­vide some clar­i­ty on the

I of­fer it as the first an­swer to this ques­tion. Con­sid­er it a liv­ing
doc­u­ment. In­put is wel­come, and good sug­ges­tions will be
in­cor­po­rat­ed in­to the di­a­gram.

No­ta bene: What this is not is a dis­cus­sion of whether there are
more than two tens­es in English. We have a ded­i­cat­ed ques­tion for
, to which this
ques­tion is not in­tend­ed to sup­ply ar­gu­ments one way or the oth­er.
Here, the aim is to pro­vide an overview of what con­struc­tions
English-speak­ing peo­ple use for con­vey­ing in­for­ma­tion about ac­tions
re­fer­ring to past, present, and fu­ture, and to pro­vide it first and
fore­most to pre­cise­ly the peo­ple who are like­ly to use “tense” as a
catch-all term in their search, rather than to lin­guists who know bet­ter.

Break­ing News There is now an ex­cel­lent ELU blog ar­ti­cle ti­tled
How We Talk About Fu­ture
It is high­ly rec­om­mend­ed read­ing.


A visualization of what we mean in English by the various tenses:

A visualization of what we mean in English by the various tenses

Source : Link , Question Author : Robusto supports Ukraine , Answer Author : Robusto supports Ukraine

Leave a Comment