Verb Tenses

Tenses are used to communicate whether a verb began in the past or not; whether it’s finished; and whether it’s immediate, temporary, or permanent.  Insights consolidates the various uses of a tense into one key thing to remember for each, as well as draws connections between different tenses.

Past Basic

Not just Past Simple, this video and page explores the form that carries over into all other Past tenses.

Present Perfect

This tense is for verbs that began in the Past but are still relevant in the Present.

Progressive / Continuous

The aspect that lets us express temporary and ongoing verbs, whether for Past, Present, or Future tenses.

Future Forms

This is a comparison of the various ways we can express plans and predictions.

Will vs. Be Going To

FUTURE FORMS: Will and Be Going To can both be used for Future Plans and for Future Predictions. So what's the difference between the two?

Present Perfect Continuous

This tense is a merger between Present Perfect and Past Continuous, both in form and in function.
RECOMMENDATION: First visit the Present Perfect and Progressive/Continuous pages.

Perfect Participle

10 Things to Know about what is often called the 'Past Participle'

Past Perfect

Past Perfect is one of the Narrative Tenses, used to express verbs out of chronological order.
RECOMMENDATION: Visit the Present Perfect page first.
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Premium Topics

include videos, bonus notes, printouts, slideshows, prerequisites, proficiency levels, practice activities, teaching tips, and relevant projects.

Key Concepts

have many of the same features as Premium Topics, but you might not form a full lesson around these. Instead, they can provide a foundation for other topics.

Discourse Topics

are usually only blocks of text, though some have graphics or tables. These topics read much more like a typical textbook might.

10TK Topics

feature videos of 10 THINGS TO KNOW about that topic. These pages also include bonus notes and a few additional things to know.

General Notes

Colored Text

Our videos feature selective colored text.  Colors stand out and help students know what to pay attention to.  We’re rather consistent with our color choices so that students learn to expect certain things from certain colors.  We recommend using this same technique yourself.  Read our article to learn more.

In the Tenses series, we use blue for past, red for present, and green for future.

Focus on Structure & Usage

Most of our methods are all about either sentence structure or usage. We touch on forms of individual words less often, and we hardly ever address infection or pronunciation. All five of these are important, but form and pronunciation tend to be more straightforward, so we let teachers decide for themselves how to present those. We dedicate our resources to the trickier stuff.

Working in Phrases

Most of the time when we say ‘noun’, we actually mean ‘noun phrase’, which typically includes determiners (like articles, possessives, and quantifiers) and sometimes adjectives.  We often do the same with verb strings; auxiliary verbs, ‘not’, and sometimes adverbs are included when we say ‘verb’.

Within the framework of a sentence, combining all those individual words into one block is generally helpful, as they act together to serve a single purpose.

American English

We mostly use American English, although most ESOL books primarily use British English.  We do this because our founder and lead content creator is American, so it’s what comes natural to him.  Just think of this as an excuse to teach your students some of the differences between British English and American English.