the Big FiveTenses (Tip of the Week 36)

How many - Englisch Sprachkurse

How many tenses do you need?

You will probably remember from school that you learned lots of tenses and maybe asked yourself why you had to learn them.  The good news is that for effective communication five are enough 🙂

This is the first of a few Tips of the Week which will guide you through the The Big Five.  This is an overview and the next weeks will focus on each one.

Take a look at the Tip of the Week 36 from Nick Ponter of PS Sprachenservice.
Also, please click on our PS-Elearning site for you to practice the ‚Big Five‘.

Present Simple

We use the present simple to describe permanent states, facts and regular activities, i.e. where we live and what a company produces, e.g.
I work at Musterfirma.

Present Continuous

1.  The present continuous is used to describe temporary actions or events which are either happening at the time of speaking or events of a longer term but still temporary nature, which are happening around now, e.g.
I am working in Bremen this week.

2.  Future plans (used the same as ‚going to‘ future – see below), e.g.
I am visiting a customer tomorrow.

Past Simple

The past simple is used to describe fully completed events in the past. We often use a time indicator (e.g. yesterday, last year, in 2013 etc.) but we don’t always have to mention it – important is that the context must be about this past time. e.g.
I went to a trade fair last week.

Present Perfect

1.     Past experiences where a time is not specified, e.g.
I have been to Berlin before. 

2.     A recent event or experience, e.g.
I have just sent an email.

3.     A current situation that started in the past, e.g.
I have worked here since 2012.


1.     going to – Decisions made before the time of speaking are planned.  In this case we use the future with ‚going to‘, e.g.
I am going to visit a customer tomorrow.

2.    will – Decisions made at the time of speaking are considered spontaneous. In this case we use the future with ‚will‚, e.g.
It’s cold in here so I will close the window.

Click here for an overview of the:

The Big Five.

Click here for our Top 50 Verbs List:

Top 50 verbs List


To practice the ‚Big Five‚ please visit PS Spachenservice’s E-Learning site at: