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Tenses in English

This section provides an overview of the relationship between the writer's purpose and choice of primary and secondary verb tense.

There are a lot of rules about tenses in English. The rules fall into two main categories:

  • rules about forming tenses
  • rules about selecting and using tenses

Most students have little difficulty forming tenses. This unit is mainly about helping you to select and use tenses correctly in your academic and professional writing.

If you think you need practice in forming the tenses correctly:

  • read the glossary entries for each tense and for primary and secondary tenses.
  • go to the links to other grammar sites at the end of this unit.
  • use a student grammar book with an answer key.

 

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