Continuous and Perfect Tense

Tenses tell us when an action takes place – in the past, present or future. However, tenses can get tricky when we talk about two related actions. Take a look at how to use the continuous and perfect tense:





Past continuous
An action in the past that was ongoing when another action happened

e.g. I was sorting the recyclables yesterday when you came.

Present continuous
An action that began in the past and is ongoing

e.g. I am sorting the recyclables now.

Future continuous
An action in the future that will be ongoing when another future action occurs

e.g. I will be sorting the recyclables when you come tomorrow.

Past perfect
A past action that was completed before a second past action

e.g. I had sorted the recyclables for a year before my brother took over.

Present perfect
An action that was completed in the past and is relevant to the present

e.g. I have sorted a lot of recyclables since I attended the workshop.

Future perfect
A future action that will be completed by the time another future action occurs

e.g. I will have sorted enough recyclables to be an expert before I graduate from school.

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