How To Decide which Tense to Use

Video Overview

In English, there are a number of tenses that share some uses or can be interchangeable in most circumstances. In this video, we explain when to use these tenses so you can remember the rules easily.

Video Analysis

The tenses that share some uses are:

  1. Present Continuous and Present Simple

You could say 'I work with John', or 'I am working with John'.

The first sentence is in the present simple. The second sentence is in the present continuous. The only slight difference is that by using the Present Continuous we might understand that you intend to stop working with John at some point in the future.

2. Present Simple and Future Continuous

In the present continuous you can say 'She arrives tomorrow' in the present simple or 'She will arrive tomorrow' in the Future Continuous. Both sentences indicate that we expect the woman to arrive in the future.

3. Present Continuous and Future Simple

I am studying on Friday. (On Friday I will begin the action of studying and expect to continue for a time)

I will study on Friday. (I plan to study on Friday)

When we add a specific time to the Present Continuous we can use it to talk about events that are expected to happen in the future. In this way, it can be applied in the same way as the Future Simple.

4. Present Simple and Future Simple

The train leaves at 7. (usually, every day)

The train will leave at 7. (The train is expected to leave at 7)

There is very little difference in the meaning between these two sentences. We can use the Present Simple or the Future Simple to talk about actions that will take place after now.

Watch our video on 'Tenses with Adopted Structure' for more information. 

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