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21.6: Advanced Verb Tenses

Now we’ve mastered the different pieces that we need to understand in order to discuss some more advanced tenses. These advanced tenses were mentioned briefly in Text: Verb Types, and they came up again in Text: Non-Finite Verbs. These forms are created with different forms of to be and to have:

  • He had eaten everything by the time we got there.
  • She is waiting for us to get there!
  • He will have broken it by next Thursday, you can be sure.
  • She was singing for eight hours.

Grammer-module-graphic-final-ol.jpg

Figure \(\PageIndex{1}\)

When you combine a form of to be with the present participle, you create a continuous tense; these tenses indicate a sense of continuity. The subject of the sentence was (or is, or will be) doing that thing for awhile.

  • Present: is working
  • Past: was working
  • Future: will be working (You can also say “is going to be working.”)

Exercise \(\PageIndex{1}\)

Convert these sentences from simple tenses to continuous tenses:

  1. Ivone wrote a collection of short stories entitled Vidas Vividas.
  2. As a pilot, Sara will fly a lot of cross-country flights.
  3. Zachi reads all of the latest articles on archeology.
Answer
  1. The past continuous is was + present participle, so the correct sentence is
  • Ivone was writing a collection of short stories entitled Vidas Vividas.
  1. The future continuous is either will be + present participle or is going to be + present participle:
  • As a pilot, Sara will be flying a lot of cross-country flights.
  • As a pilot, Sara is going to be flying a lot of cross-country flights.
  1. The present continuous is is + present participle, so the correct sentence is:
  • Zachi is reading all of the latest articles on archeology.

When you combine a form of to have with the past participle of a verb, you create a perfect tense; these tenses indicate a sense of completion. This thing had been done for a while (or has been, or will have been).

  • Present: has worked
  • Past: had worked
  • Future: will have worked

Exercise \(\PageIndex{2}\)

Convert these sentences from simple tenses to perfect tenses:

  1. Ivone wrote a collection of short stories entitled Vidas Vividas.
  2. As a pilot, Sara will fly a lot of cross-country flights.
  3. Zachi reads all of the latest articles on archeology.
Answer
  1. The past perfect is had + past participle:
  • Ivone had written a collection of short stories entitled Vidas Vividas.
  1. The future perfect is will have + past participle:
  • As a pilot, Sara will have flown a lot of cross-country flights.
  1. The present perfect is has + past participle:
  • Zachi has read all of the latest articles on archeology.

You can also use these together. To have must always appear first, followed by the past participle been. The present participle of any verb can then follow. These perfect continuous tenses indicate that the verb started in the past, and is still continuing:

  • Present: has been working
  • Past: had been working
  • Future: will have been working

Exercise \(\PageIndex{3}\)

Convert these sentences from simple tenses to perfect continuous tenses:

  1. Ivone wrote a collection of short stories entitled Vidas Vividas.
  2. As a pilot, Sara will fly a lot of cross-country flights.
  3. Zachi reads all of the latest articles on archeology.
Answer
  1. The past perfect continuous is had been + present participle:
  • Ivone had been writing a collection of short stories entitled Vidas Vividas.
  1. The future perfect continuous is will have been + present participle:
  • As a pilot, Sara will have been flying a lot of cross-country flights.
  1. The present perfect continuous is has been + present participle:
  • Zachi has been reading all of the latest articles on archeology.
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