English Grammar Step by Step
UNIT 9 - Page 2
VERB TENSES: USES
Write the verbs in brackets in the correct tense.
She has just left for school.
Have + just + past participle means that something happened
very recently. In American English, this is usually expressed
by the simple past.
a They just (shake) hands. So I reckon they are friends again.
b Oscar just (admit) his guilt. Now he’ll be taken to jail.
c ‘Anybody just (call) out my name?’
‘I haven’t heard anything.’
d I’m afraid we just (have) a puncture. Have you got a spare
e How clever of you! We just (kill) two birds with one stone.
17 Revision exercise.
a His pride (spoil) their romance. He should have been kinder
b He (say) yesterday, ‘Nuclear power-stations (be) fatal cancers
in our society. They not only (kill) people, but many people
still (suffer) from malformations caused by the misusage of
them in the past. Once and for all, we should care about
people’s health, and not about the money we (get) from them.
And what (be) more! We (have) only one planet to live on.
If we (not look) after it properly, our children will have
to undergo the consequences of our recklessness. Should we
let the coming generations pay for it? We (be) so selfish as
to allow that?’
c The worst thing of becoming old (be) that your body (grow)
old, but your mind does not.
d We (be) at the mercy of that tyrant for eleven years. If
we (not fight) against him now, we shall never have such
an opportunity again.
e On the one hand, the dangers of the jungle (beset) us all.
On the other, the enemy (be) hot on our heels.
f She (tell) me that she (be) British, but her strong German
accent (give) her away.
g He (make) the same mistake twice.
h ‘This tiger cub (eat) a lot. We (feed) it three times a day.’
‘Three times a day! You (not think) it (be) too much? Why you
(not feed) it only once a day?’
i My pals (dive) for pearls when the shark (appear).
j When she (blow) her nose, a pigeon (crap) on her head.
k A thick fog (delay) the train yesterday evening. As a result,
we (have) to wait for ages at the station.
l When Simon (see) them, they (lie) on the grass.
m We (seek) for freedom all our lives, but (not find) it yet.
n ‘My neighbour usually (sweep) our street in the mornings,
but she (not sweep) it yesterday. Today, it is half past
eleven, and she still (not sweep) it.’
‘We’d better go and see if she (be) ill.’
o Peter: What she (look) like?
John: she (have) freckles, and (be) very pretty.
p They (not hear) from her since she (go) away.
q —When I (enter) my room, I (hear) a snake hissing.
—What you (do)?
—I (ask) for help.
r My father (accompany) me to the party this evening, but we can
meet there if you (wish).
s My nose (bleed) when my parents (get) home last night.
t Many learned people (devote) their time to humankind since
u They constantly (libel) us. It’s not fair!
v Walking (keep) you fit. You ought to walk regularly.
w She just (give) birth to her first child. She’s now at a
hospital ward; and if everything (go) well, she’ll soon
become a mother.
x Congratulations! Your wife just (give) birth to a very
beautiful girl. You just (become) a father!
y He (fling) his stick at me yesterday morning.
z He (jump) for joy when he (have) his first baby.
I have never seen a ghost.
She has read a lot of history books.
Haven’t we met before?
We use the present perfect simple to indicate that something
has never happened, when we do not know when it takes place,
or whether it has occurred or not.
a ‘That fellow belongs to our club.’
‘Really! I never (see) him before.’
b —You (feed) the bears?
—Yes, I fed them an hour ago.
c Mary: He ever (fall) utterly in love at first sight?
Michael: No, I don’t think so.
d We (not be) here before?
e He (paint) three portraits of his daughter.
Your wife has come here four times this morning.
Your wife came here four times this morning.
In the first example, your secretary tells you this in the
morning; in the second, in the afternoon.
a ‘What time is it?’
‘It’s half past four.’
‘Are there any calls for me?’
‘Yes, Mr White (ring) five times this afternoon.’
b He (not eat) anything today.
c She (sew) your trousers at noon.
d ‘The sun (not shine) yet today, as the sky is covered with
‘Well, that’s not true, because it always shines, even in a
cloudy day. The only difference is that you don’t see it
e We (win) seven matches this year.
20 Revision exercise.
a Churchgoers (assume) that they will save their souls by
going to church regularly. The most puritanical ones
strictly (follow) what they are told at church.
b This suit (shrink). You’d better take it to your tailor to
let it out.
c Until now, we (send) ten application forms.
d They (rebuild) this museum several times. They (consider)
to rebuild it once again, as they say it (belong) to
our national art heritage.
e We (saw) a lot of logs so far, but you (not saw) any.
f —You ever (ride) a camel?
—I (ride) a horse a year ago, but I never (ride) a camel.
g Nobody ever (spell) my name correctly.
h He forever (spit). I can’t stand him.
i I (feel) dizzy. Can I sit down?
j If you (give) in now, you’ll regret it.
k He (drink) a bottle of bleach yesterday, and (have) to be
taken to hospital. They (have) to pump his stomach out.
l ‘God (exist)?’ my son (ask) me yesterday.
‘Well, that is a question of faith,’ I (respond).
m I (play) poker with some friends after lunch.
n Your son (conduct) the orchestra beautifully last night.
o He always (lead) his men to victory. He (not know) what
a defeat (mean). If we had him on our side, we should
beat any opponent.
p He (jump) from a ten-storey building two weeks ago and
(escape) without a scratch.
q He (want) to get away from the police. Unluckily for him,
a police dog (run) after him and (leap) at his throat.
r He (overtake) us at a tremendous speed. Five minutes later,
he (crash) into a fence.
s They (broadcast) the news of the massacre two days ago.
t I never (beseech) you to help me, but I (need) your help,
and you (owe) me a favour.
u We (invite) some friends to dinner tomorrow night.
v That bloke (lend) me money several times. He (be) a very
good person. He always (try) to help people.
w I (not understand) a word they (say). I (not speak) Russian.
x When he (come) home, she (cry) her eyes out.
y ‘Where is Richard?’
‘He (lean) against that wall.’
z When he (tell) her that he (not trust) her, she (hang)
up the phone.
Shakespeare wrote Romeo and Juliet.
My niece has written several novels.
She is the tallest girl (that) I have ever met.
It is the second time (that) she has kissed him.
In the first example, we already know that Shakeapeare is
dead; but in the second, we state that my niece is still
alive, or that nothing prevents her from writing more
novels. As a general rule, we can, then, say that we use
the present perfect when it is implied in our words that
something can happen again.
a That chap (compose) several hits.
b Beethoven (compose) very good symphonies.
c It is the worst mistake that he ever (make).
d It is the only time I (fly) a plane.
e That guy (build) several monuments in this town. He’s a very
It is four years since I (last) had a heart attack.
I haven’t had a heart attack for four years.
I have had heart attacks since I was sixty.
We generally use perfect tenses with already, ever, lately,
since (except for the structure seen in the first example),
so far, still, up to now, yet, and with a few other words.
It is also quite common with for.
a ‘You ever (see) a monkey coming down from a tree?’
‘No, but I’ve just seen one climbing up a tree.’
b She still (not throw) that old green dress away?
c He (pay) his debts yet?
d They already (manufacture) about ten million toys.
e They (be) in this city for ten months.
23 Revision exercise.
a I (spend) a few days in London next week.
b Joanot Martorell (write) Tirant lo Blanc; according to
Cervantes, the best chivalry novel.
c I (buy) a second-hand lorry last year, and it (not work)
d You (hear) the latest news? They just (forbid) the sale of
tobacco and alcohol in this town.
e It (freeze) last night.
f He (oversleep) yesterday morning.
g She (undertake) full responsability that night. Consequently,
I only (obey) her orders.
h ‘The clock (stop). You (wind) it last night?’
‘No, I (be) sorry. I (forget) to wind it up.
i I (abandon) my last job because my boss (underpay) me.
j While I (search) the room for the missing documents, John
(have) some tea with a client of ours.
k If you (happen) to see a bear in the cave, run out of it as
fast as you can.
l His wife always (boast)! I (not like) her.
m I (give) my wife these silk stockings this evening, since it
is our wedding aniversary.
n They hardly ever (let) you do what you really (want) to.
o They perpetually (entreat) us to give them money for their
starving children. Regrettably, they (not feel) like
working, as we (offer) each of them a job several times,
but they (prefer) to beg.
p The runaway (hide) in the wood, and nobody (manage) to find
him. Finally, he (succeed) in escaping. He (live) in Greece
q Jane never (chat) to her neighbours, but today she (chat) to
Mrs Green, a neighbour of hers.
r She (win) the race by a narrow margin two hours ago.
s We (open) on Sundays.
t Why you (not put) on your coat? It (be) a little chilly
u When I (get) there, there (be) several people moaning. I (try)
to do my best till the ambulance (arrive).
v You (be) a nuisance! Sit still, will you!
w It was very cold in there, so I (light) a fire.
x Her dog (bite) me several times. Either she (muzzle) it, or
I’ll report her to the police.
y This old clock (be) repaired at the moment.
z ‘When he (see) the tears rolling down her cheek, it (break)
his heart. And as usual, she (get) what she (want) from him.’
‘I (think) crocodile tears very often (work), and they (be)
a good weapon for both men and women.’
Amanda: Where have you been?
Angela: I’ve been to the doctor’s surgery.
Amanda: What did he tell you about your illness?
Angela: He told me (that) I have to take things easy.
In the first question, Angela has just arrived home and Amanda
asks where she has been. Note that Angela also employs the
present perfect in her response. As for the second question
(What did...?), it is in the simple past because Angela is no
longer at the doctor’s surgery.
a ‘The police (arrest) him for shoplifting.’
‘When that (happen)?’
‘This morning at about 10 o’clock.’
b I (pass) my examination!
Congratulations! When you (do) it?
c I (be) to the United States a dozen times. I last (go) there
d I’m afraid to tell you that your father (have) an accident.
e ‘My boy-friend (ask) me to marry him.’
‘When he (ask) you that?’
‘What you (answer) him?’
‘I (answer) him that I would.’
He has never negleted his garden.
He never neglets his garden.
The first example merely states an action that has never
happened. The second, however, indicates a habit.
a I never (be) to a police station. (= This is my first
visit to a police station.)
b “She never (eat) garlic. She thinks it smells horrible.”
“Garlic tastes great. Tell her it’s worth a try. I’m sure
she’ll love it.”
c ‘I never (drink) beer.’
‘Would you like a sip to try it?’
‘No, thank you.’
d I never (drink) gin. I tried it last year, but didn’t agree
e I never (poke) fun at people. I think it’s very impolite.
26 Revision exercise.
a My daughter (paint) several pictures of this town. She (think)
of painting another one.
b He (leave) her in the lurch many times.
c They (hold) a very important conference last week.
d A huge vessel (sink) here long time ago.
e I (swear) her that I would take care of her children before
she (die). I always (keep) my promises.
f You continually (upset) her. Why you (not leave) her alone?
g She forever (beat) about the bush. I (wish) she would get
straight to the point.
h I (not know) you (have) a baby. Is it a boy or a girl?
i Her bad manners (bespeak) her low background. She was very
rude to all my guests.
j ‘What “maelstrom” (mean)?’
‘It (mean) “whirlpool”.’
k His life (come) to an abrupt end last night, as he (not give)
away the whereabouts of the money.
l I (rewrite) it half a dozen times, and she still
(not be) satisfied.
m Mary (go) lame in an accident last year.
n Once upon a time there (be) two goblins. They (hate) each
other, but (live) together. They (quarrel) all the time,
and nobody (like) them.
o You (smoke) like a chimney, and (drink) like a fish. You
(damage) your health. Why you (not try) to give up these
two bad habits?
p As a child, he never (snore), but now he (snore) every night.
He (suffer) from a wheezy cough, as well. As a result, I can’t
sleep at night.
q This tramp never (hurt) anybody. He’s a peaceable person.
r ‘Your conscience ever (smite) you?’
‘I (not believe) you.’
s She only (strike) a match. But, unfortunately, the room was
full of gas, and (explode).
t We usually eat at home on Monday evenings, but today is our
son’s birthday, and we (eat) outside.
u We (not go) out that evening because some relatives (come)
v ‘A wasp just (sting) me in my arm, and it (itch) me a lot.’
w We (get) honey from bees.
x ‘This wall is wet.’
‘I (think) a pipe (leak). Why you (not send) for the plumber?’
y This bow (date) back to the twelfth century.
z My stepson just (buy) a giant Elizabethan house. Would you
like to come and see it this afternoon?
When I have finished reading this book, I’ll help you
with your homework. (It will take me quite a while to
finish reading it.)
When I finish reading this book, I’ll help you with your
homework. (It will not take me long to finish reading it.)
As soon as it stopped raining, he went out. (Immediately after
the rain stopped, he went out.)
We sometimes use a perfect tense to indicate that two
(or more) actions do not happen simultaneously. If they
occur simultaneously or we consider that the action will
not take long, we use the simple present, or the simple
past. At times, the difference is very slight; and,
therefore, it does not really matter if we employ a simple
form or a perfect form. It is also important to keep in
mind that words such as before and after do not often need
a perfect tense because there is no ambiguity in the
meaning expressed by the sequence of the actions:
After she had blown/she blew her whistle, everyone
She left before he had seen/he saw her.
a I’ll wait for you until Nancy (come).
b When she (arrive) here, we’ll go to the theatre.
c After they (have) a heated argument, they (come) to the
conclusion that they had better not continue with their
d As soon as they (get) in touch with me, I’ll let you know.
e Before they (be able to) say anything, she (tell) them that
she would stay there.
The priest has been painting the pew. (present perfect
The priest has painted the pew. (present perfect simple)
The first example conveys that the paint is still wet, or
that the work is not yet finished. In the second sentence,
the action is completed, and the paint may be dry. Then,
we can say that the present perfect continuous refers to
a more recent action than the one expressed by the present
a ‘Why are you wearing shorts?’
‘Well, I (run), and I’m tired out. I’m going to have a shower,
if you don’t mind.
b My nephew (draw) a caricature of his mother all the morning.
He hasn’t finished yet, but I like it very much. He draws
c Look! Your son (draw) a caricature of me! Do you like it?
d ‘You (drink) a lot!’
‘Well, I don’t feel drunk. I think I can drive. I had my last
drink two hours ago.’
e ‘You (drink) a lot!’
‘I’m not plastered. I want another gin and lemonade.’
‘Yes, you are. You had a drink ten minutes ago! Let’s
She has read two comics this morning. (She may or may not
be reading them.)
She has been reading comics all morning. (She is still
They have complained several times since they arrived. (They
may complain again.)
They have been complaining since they arrived. (They are
The present perfect continuous is not used with words or
phrases that tell us the times we have done something or
the quantity of something that we have done.
a He (sculp) two statues so far.
b She (knit) the whole day, and still hasn’t finished.
c She (knit) three pullovers today.
d ‘What you (do)!’
‘I (grease) my tractor, which is why my hands and my clothes
are so dirty.’
e He (pull) up weeds in the garden all morning. Tell him to come
and have a snack.
30 Revision exercise.
a I’ll stay there till she (ring).
b The vast majority of people (think) that we should respect
c Famine (stalk) this area for over fifteen months. I (presume)
that the authorities will have to ask other countries for
d The panther (stalk) a deer when the deer (notice) the presence
of an enemy, and (run) away.
e I think that we (be) a product of the past, that is, we
(be) extremely influenced by our past.
f Wow! You (look) terrific on that dress!
g Peter (set) himself up in business last year, and it (look)
up at the moment.
h ‘My father (hate) the army. He (say) that they (steal) one
of the best years of his youth. Now he (want) me to
refuse to do military service.’
‘I (guess) he (be) right. It should not be compulsory.’
‘But I (fear) being put in prison!’
i Luckily for me, I (grip) her hand, and (save) my life. If
she hadn’t been there, I wouldn’t be here now.
j John: You (grind) any coffee beans?
Mary: No, but I (buy) some ground coffee.
k Either you (keep) everything back from them or you’ll
receive severe punishment.
l They (not cast) this rôle yet. You (think) I could get it?
m They (sound) reveille at seven, and retreat at ten.
n She (not rewind) the tape. If she had rewound it, she would
have seen the murder.
o ‘In the fancy-dress ball, Jack (dress) up as Little Red
‘Really! What a pity I (miss) it!
p He (outgrow) his passion for reading comics. He no longer
q ‘This virus (breed) amazingly fast!’
‘Really! I (think) we had killed it!’
r I (bet) on my favourite horse yesterday, but I (lose) a
fortune, because she (not win) the race.
s I can’t abide you any longer. You (mislead) me into believing
that you are a honest man for more than twenty years, but
what you just (do) (be) the final straw.
t They (not repay) us yet. If they (not do) it tomorrow, we
shall have to distrain upon them.
u Our ancestors (dwell) in caves of this type a hundred
thousand years ago.
v She continuously (bend) to his will. I (reckon) she should
leave him once and for all.
w They still (cling) to the hope that their little daughter
(not die). We (not find) her body yet, but I (presume)
that she will be dead by now, since the possibility of
surviving here is very remote, even for a grown person.
x ‘I (mistake) her intentions when she (say) that she
(not be) married, and (like) me very much.’
‘Well, I (assume) that she (want) to go out with me,
but she didn’t.’
y Don’t worry! Everybody (misspell) my name.
z They (think) about getting a vast piece of land. They
(consider) the idea of becoming farmers.
The present perfect is not impossible here, though; but the
simple present is better than the present perfect.
Author: Miquel Molina i Diez
Pages: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and the key
1 Negative and interrogative sentences (Page 2 and the key)
2 Short answers (Page 2 and the key)
3 Question tags (Page 2 and the key)
4 Questions and exclamations (Page 2 and the key)
5 So, neither, nor, either (the key)
6 Be, used to, would, be/get/become used to, dare, have, get, become, grow, go, turn, fall and feel (Page 2 and the key)
7 Verb tenses: forms (Page 2 and the key)
8 Irregular verbs
9 Verb tenses: uses (Page 2, Page 3, Page 4, Page 5 and the key)
10 Personal pronouns, possessives and reflexive pronouns (Page 2 and the key)
11 The genitive case (the key)
12 Singular and plural nouns (Page 2 and the key)
13 Gender (the key)
14 A, an, some, any, no, not, none, each, every and the; compounds of some, any, no and every (Page 2, Page 3 and the key)
15 Neither, not...either, none, not...any, both and all (the key)
16 A few, few, a lot, lots, a little, little, many, much, no and plenty (the key)
17 Enough, too, so and such (the key)
18 Comparative and superlative sentences (Page 2 and the key)
19 Adjective order (the key)
20 Relative clauses (Page 2 and the key)
21 Do and make (the key)
22 Modal verbs (Page 2, Page 3 and the key)
23 Infinitives, gerunds and present participles (Page 2 and the key)
24 Conditional sentences (Page 2 and the key)
25 Passive sentences (the key)
26 Reported speech (Page 2 and the key)
27 Purpose (the key)
28 Word order (the key)
29 Inversion (the key)
30 Connectors (Page 2 and the key)
31 Prepositions (Page 2, Page 3 and the key)
32 Phrasal verbs (the key)