Are you looking for the perfect resource to help you get confident in all those English verb tenses? In this lesson, you’ll find ALL the verb tenses typically used during an everyday English conversation. It’s crammed to capacity with examples of present simple and present perfect verbs, past simple forms, modal verbs and many more.
So in today’s ESL grammar lesson, I’m going to use an everyday English conversation about me planning my Easter weekend to help walk you through all those tense examples. In the lesson, I suggest you try to identify all the tenses used. I hope you do well. If you want to check your work and assess your understanding I've provided answers at the end of the lesson PDF transcript, which you can download from out website.
Learn ESL English grammar with us! Learning verb tenses in English will help you with making plans, and talking about them in English. All you have to do is listen. You will learn real world verb tense usage while I describe my plans for an Easter weekend in the UK, using an everyday English conversation.
Listening to this type of English grammar lesson podcast is an easy way to prepare for the TOEFL, IELTS or any other English-language test. If nothing else, you will see just how easily native English speakers switch between tenses in natural, fluent English conversion.
Tenses Capacity Easter Orchids Mattresses Cafe Consolidating
Today let’s do some normal everyday English - while at the same time giving you some practice with verb tenses. I’m going to tell you all about my plans for the Easter weekend. I’m recording this podcast just before the Easter weekend, so these plans are currently in the future, though they’ll have happened already by the time you’re listening! And I’m talking to you just as I would talk to a friend about my weekend plans.
What you’ll notice - the verb tenses move from past to present to future and back again. English speakers move with ease between tenses to convey different meanings - and this is what we’re going to practise in this podcast.
Hello, I’m Hilary, and you’re listening to Adept English. We will help you to speak English fluently. All you have to do is listen. So start listening now and find out how it works.
So after I’ve told you about my plans, I’ll use one part of it as an example to draw your attention to the different tenses I’ve used - and I’ll explain why I’ve used them. Feeling comfortable with English verb tenses and where to use them will really help your fluency.
Oh and don’t forget to register for 50% discount for our Listen & Learn Adept English Consonant Pronunciation Course. You can do this by entering your email address on our website at adeptenglish.com - there is a pop-up at the bottom of the page now. Or you can go to vip.adeptenglish.com to do it also. Get 50% off our pronunciation course by registering so that you only pay £30. Bargain!
So as I speak, this coming weekend is the Easter weekend and today is Good Friday, so what we call a ‘bank holiday’ - as is Easter Monday, the 18th April. So this is a four day weekend in the UK. What will I be doing on this four day weekend? Well, here’s a run down of plans for my four day weekend, so that you can practise listening to the future tense - and to normal everyday English! It’s the normal everyday type of English which people often find the most useful to practise. Here goes.
Today as the weather is nice and the sun is shining, I’m going to go with my daughter at lunchtime to a small country house with a lovely garden. There’s a cafe where you can get a cup of tea and some cake - and there’s a shop which sells plants and things for the garden. But what I really like about this place, it’s not some great big stately home with a garden, it’s relatively small. Yet there are lots of grounds - lots of different bits of garden to see here. And even some rare chickens, if I remember well.
Last time I came here was when my two daughters treated me to Afternoon Tea a couple of years ago for my birthday. We sat in a green house, with the most fantastic Afternoon Tea, with orchids and wisteria all around us. I liked that. But today, we’ll visit the shop and the cafe and have a look round the gardens.
Tomorrow, I need to take this same daughter back to university on the south coast of England. She’s been off uni for three weeks for Easter and her course starts again on Tuesday. She likes to go down a couple of days early, so that she can organise her room and get her food shopping done. I think probably she’s had enough of being at home by now too! So my son and I will go with her - and because the town where she’s at uni is so nice - it will be like a day out. There is a really lovely beach. I don’t usually like town centre beaches, but this one is really big, sandy, south-facing and really nice. We may get some food - or we may not have time. Then we will say our sad goodbyes and I’ll not see her for a few weeks and my son and I will drive home.
On the Sunday, we will have a nice dinner in the evening because it’s Easter Sunday. But also my son has decided to invite his friends for a sleepover. We are in danger of having up to 7 teenage boys coming to eat snacks, watch films and sleep over in our lounge. I’m not sure where they’re all going to sleep - and we will ‘hide’ upstairs while they are here - but I expect that it will be noisy. I hope they don’t keep us awake all night - it’s a good time to have ear plugs. They are 13 and 14 years old, so drinks, snacks and films with sleeping bags and mattresses. I hope that they get some sleep.
Boys planing video games. In today’s ESL English lesson, we’ll review many verb tense examples using an everyday English conversation about planning an Easter weekend holiday in the UK.
On Easter Monday, I was planning to see my daughter who lives in London, but the sleepover may have changed that. I don’t think my son will be up to a London trip after a sleepover. Late morning on Monday, I am going for a walk with two of my oldest friends. One of them is living abroad at the moment, so she’s back for Easter and it will be good to catch her while she’s here. The other friend has a new puppy - and she’s bringing him along. I’ve seen him before - he’s very sweet - but the friend who lives abroad hasn’t. We will take him for a walk by the side of the canal - hopefully he won’t fall in, because he’s not very big yet. I know that the friend with the puppy will be a bit anxious. He’s not quite toilet trained yet - and the friend whom we’re going to has a very, very tidy house. Maybe we’ll all stay in the garden - maybe that will be the plan. I expect there will also be more tea and cake.
Ok, let’s just have a quick look at the verb tenses that I’m using here.
If we take the 1st paragraph, first sentence as an example, ‘Today as the weather is nice and the sun is shining, I’m going to go out with my daughter at lunchtime to a small country house with a lovely garden’. I’m using Simple Present Tense first of all, because I’m talking about the current weather and then I’m talking about the ‘near future’, so I use the verb to go, in the Present Continuous form - ‘ ‘I’m going to go with my daughter at lunchtime’.
Using the verb ‘to go’ to indicate ‘near future’ is a really simple way to do Present Tense. ‘I am going to go’, ‘you are going to travel’, ‘he is going to buy a cup of tea’. It’s a really simple way to do it - and you can also use this to talk about activities which you have already planned.
The next few sentences in this talk were in the Simple Present Tense, starting ‘There’s a cafe where you can get a cup of tea and some cake - and there’s a shop which sells plants and things for the garden.’ I’m using the Simple Present Tense here because I’m describing the house and garden that we’re visiting. Because it’s a description of something that is constant, I use Simple Present Tense - the house and garden are a constant and the description I’m giving applies right now as I’m saying it - so it’s Simple Present Tense is best for this.
Then my description moves into the past tense as I remember a previous visit. From this sentence ‘Last time I came here was when my two daughters treated me to Afternoon Tea’. And right to the end of the paragraph, I’m using Simple Past tense to describe a visit about 3 years ago - so it’s a completed action. Then for the final sentence in this paragraph, I move back to future tense, speaking about the intention for today ‘But today, we’ll visit the shop and the cafe and have a look round the gardens.’ The ‘we’ll’ is short for ‘we will’ of course, Simple Future Tense.
Notice in the next paragraph, I start ‘Tomorrow’, then I say ‘I need to take this same daughter back to university’. So this event is in the future - but because I’m using the modal verb ‘to need’, I can get away with saying it in the Present Tense. I could have said here ‘Tomorrow I will need to take her’ instead - that would be more correct, but either is fine. Notice how I move around between different tenses again in this paragraph. I say ‘She’s been off uni for three weeks for Easter and her course starts again on Tuesday.’
So in the first part of this sentence, I’m using Present Perfect Tense - ‘She has been off uni for three weeks’ - meaning that she’s been on holiday from uni - so something that’s in the past, which has been continuing for three weeks, running right up ‘til now. And then ‘Her course starts again on Tuesday’. Again this is a future meaning - it’s not until next Tuesday, but I use (Simple) Present Tense because this is describing a known, fixed plan. And again I go on to talk about things which are habits, which are a pattern so I use (Simple) Present Tense again. ‘She likes to go down a couple of days early, so that she can organise her room and get her food shopping done’.
This is a habit, so we put it in the (Simple) Present Tense. Then I say ‘So my son and I will go with her - and because the town where she’s at uni is so nice - it will be like a day out.’ So the first part is a (Simple) Future Tense ‘my son and I will go’, then a (Simple) Present Tense ‘the town where she’s at uni is so nice’ - because again that’s a constant, it’s a description. Bournemouth stays nice all the time. And then into the (Simple) Future Tense again for the next part, because I’m again talking again about current intention, what we will do tomorrow ‘it will be like a day out’. I then continue in the (Simple) Present Tense, because I’m describing the town further ‘There is a really lovely beach.
I don’t usually like town centre beaches, but this one is really big, sandy, south-facing and really nice.’ And then I’m back again to being specific about our day, so I go on ‘ We may get some food - or we may not have time.’ ‘May’ is a model verb - its whole meaning is to talk about something which could happen in the future. I then continue ‘Then we will say our sad goodbyes - I’ll not see her for a few weeks and my son and I will drive home.’ So here I’m using (Simple) Future Tense again because I’m talking again about our specific intentions for tomorrow.
I wrote this piece of English without really thinking too much about verb tenses, but you can see just how much it moves around the verb tenses to convey my meaning. Like me, most English speakers will do this naturally, without thinking about it and this ‘verb tense fluency’ if you like, is what you’re aiming at - first of all to be able to understand the more subtle meanings and nuances in English - but then later, so that you too can move around the verb tenses like this yourself when you’re speaking.
In this little, natural dialogue - me thinking aloud about my plans for this weekend - I go on to talk about my son’s plans for a sleepover and about going for a walk with some friends - and about possibly seeing my other daughter, though this event is likely to be postponed, I think, 'til next weekend.
All the way through I’m using a variety of verb tenses to convey my meaning. See if you can go through the rest of this piece, this dialogue for practice and identify which tenses I’m using and why! I’ll put some answers for you in the transcript to help - you’ll find that on our website at adeptenglish.com.
And if you’d like some more help with consolidating common English vocabulary, look at our Most Common Five Hundred Words Course on the Courses page of our website. Using this course will help you learn the most common words in English - the ones that form the greater part of most English sentences. Knowing these will give you much more confidence when you come to speak!
Hopefully that’s useful learning about English verb tenses today. Let me know if you’d like more exercises like this.
Enough for now. Have a lovely day. Speak to you again soon. Goodbye.
In the lesson, I suggested you try to identify all the tenses being used. I hope you did well. So you can check your work and assess your understanding. I’ve included the answers for you to compare against.
On the Sunday, we will have (Future Tense - to show intention) a nice dinner in the evening because it is (‘it will be’ is also good and more accurate here than this Present Tense denote something ‘fixed’) Easter Sunday. But also my son has decided (Present Perfect Tense - at an ‘unspecified time’, he has decided) to invite his friends for a sleepover. We are in danger of (Present Tense - but ‘in danger of’ has a future meaning) having up to 7 teenage boys coming to eat snaps, watch films and sleep over in our lounge. I’m not sure where they are all going to sleep (‘I’m not sure’ - Present Tense reflects my current uncertainty)- and we will ‘hide’ upstairs while they are here - but I expect that it will be noisy (both Simple Future tenses). I hope they don’t keep us awake all night - it’s a good time to have ear plugs (Simple Present reflecting my hopes and ideas now about what is to come). They are 13 and 14 years old (Present Tense), so there will be drinks, snacks and films with sleeping bags and mattresses (Simple Future). I hope that they get some sleep (again Simple Present because I’m talking my hopes now about what is to come).
On Easter Monday, I was planning to see my daughter (Past Continuous) who lives (Present Tense to reflect a constant) in London, but the sleepover bit may have changed that. (We use ‘may have’ to talk about a possibility in the past). I don’t think (Present Tense reflecting current thoughts) my son will be (Simple Future) up to a London trip after his sleepover. Late morning, I am going for a walk (Present Continuous to denote a fixed plan) with two of my oldest friends. One of them is living abroad (Present Continuous) at the moment, so she’s back for Easter (Simple Present - statement of current fact) and it will be good to catch her while she’s here (Simple Future). The other friend has a new puppy (Simple Present) - and she is bringing him along (Present Continuous is also used to show an agreed intention). I’ve seen him before - very sweet - but the friend who lives abroad hasn’t (Both Present Perfect). We will take him for a walk by the side of the canal - hopefully he won’t fall in, because he’s not very big yet (First two Simple Future, followed by Simple present about his size). I know (Present for current awareness) that the friend with the puppy will be a bit anxious (Simple Future). He’s not quite toilet trained yet - and the friend whom we’re going to has a very, very tidy house (both parts Present Tense, reflecting current situation and near future). Maybe we’ll all stay in the garden - maybe that’ll be the plan. I expect there will also be more tea and cake too. (Ends with three Simple Futures)
NB. There are many ways of saying these things - so bear in mind, these aren’t the only correct tenses you can use to convey these meanings!
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