Tip of the Week 46 – 2019 – the ‚big five‘ mixed tenses


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Tip of the Week 46 – 2019 – the ‚big five‘ mixed tenses

Paul and Sophie are talking about some past experiences, but they still sometimes confuse the tenses.
That is why they take a look at Tip #46: the Big Five tenses – mixed.


PS eLearning Portal

To practice Tip #46: the ‚big five‘ mixed tenses,  please visit PS Spachenservice’s eLearning site at:

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Present Simple

We use the present simple to describe permanent states, facts and regular activities, e.g. where we live and what a company produces, e.g.
I work in Bielefeld.
He / She / It works ….
We / You / They work

Present Continuous

The present continuous is used to describe temporary actions or events which are either happening at the time of speaking (I’m writing an email at the moment) or events of a longer term but still temporary nature, which are happening around now, e.g.
I am working on a sales project this week.
He / She / it is working
We / You / They are working

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 2003 etc) but we don’t always have to mention it – important is that the context must be about this past time, e.g.
I worked in Bremen yesterday.
He / She / It / We / You / They worked ….

Present Perfect

We use the present perfect to talk about:
1. A current situation that started in the past
It connects a time in the present with the past. This is often in connection with the words “for” and “since” (if you think about the words, they always create a link to the past), e.g.
I have worked here for four years (I still work here!)
2. Past experiences where a time is not specified, e.g.
He has been to Berlin (no time given).

Future: going to & will

The difference between going to and will is dependent on when the decision was made.

If it is made during the time of talking it is considered to be spontaneous or unplanned. For this we use the will future,

E.g. It’s cold in the office so I will (I’ll) put the heating on.

Decisions made prior to the time of talking are considered planned. For these events we use the going to future,

E.g. I am going to attend a trade fair tomorrow.