English Grammar Step by Step
UNIT 9 - Page 3
VERB TENSES: USES
Write the verbs in brackets in the correct tense.
I have known her for twenty years.
She has had that old pair of shoes for years and years. I
think she should get rid of them.
She has been having a swim since we arrived.
Some verbs do not normally take continuous tenses. Therefore,
the present perfect continuous is impossible. Exceptionally,
want and wish are sometimes found in the present perfect
continuous, but not in the other continuous forms: He has
been wanting to obtain an award like this for ages. See
sections 5, 6 and 7.
a I (wish) freedom all my life, and now that I have it, I think
it is wonderful.
b He (love) her since they were children.
c He (long) to meet her again since he came to this town.
d I (think) about you lately.
e She (have) headaches for the last two months.
He has been studying modern Greek for the last two hours.
She has always lived in Girona.
It has been raining all afternoon.
It has rained all afternoon.
At times, both the present perfect simple and continuous
are possible. Nonetheless, the simple form should be
used when we refer to a more permanent situation; and
the continuous form, to temporary situations. And, of
course, if we want to imply that an action has not
yet stopped, the present perfect continuous is preferred.
a She (sleep) for the last fourteen hours. Go and wake her up.
b It (snow) since we arrived here. I wish it would stop snowing.
c It (thunder) since three o’clock.
d I always (want) to teach in this school, and here I am now.
e They (take) Kung fu lessons for the last six months.
33 Revision exercise.
a The wind (erode) this sculpture over the years.
b —How long you (be) married?
—I (be) married for seven years.
—You (change) nappies since you (get) married?’
—Yes, I have. I (have) five children till now.
—You (think) of having another one?
—Well, my husband (love) children, and he (wish) to have at
least ten children.
—I (sympathize) with you.
c She forever (dwell) on the mistakes she (make) in the past.
d If you (not believe) in yourself, nobody will.
e She (want) to have a dog like this since she was a teenager.
f He (withdraw) all his money from our bank yesterday morning.
g ‘What time you (make) it?’
‘Twenty to eleven.’
h ‘Can you play draughts?’
‘Yes, I can. My father (teach) me when I (be) a child.’
i ‘Don’t get angry!’
‘I (wait) for you for the last two hours! You could have
j I (suppose) he would do his bit when they (restore) the
k ‘On the whole, they (do) a very god job with your car.’
‘They (not finish) yet.’
l They (hunt) for the missing children all night long.
m An outbreak of influenza (spread) recently.
n You always (make) fun of me. I (wish) you would stop doing
o We (know) that they (leak) information to the enemy. If
you (confess) now, it’ll be better for everyone.
p Every time Margaret (hang) out her washing in the flat roof,
the water (seep) through the roof.
q When we (go) there, water (not run) from the spring.
r The meeting (begin) at 6.30, and (end) at 8.00. Please don’t
s ‘This drug (produce) side-effects. Therefore, when the
symptoms (disappear), stop taking it. All the same, if the
pain (not wear) off, take two pills, instead of one.’
‘And what if the pain (not pass) away?’
‘Then, you should see me again, and I’ll change you the
t You (rebuke) me for the same thing twice this morning.
u I (think) I (mishear) you. Can you repeat what you just (say)?
v If you (not overcome) your fear of snakes, you’ll have to
leave this job.
w Daddy! A viper just (bite) me!
x They (prove) to be traitors, so they were taken to gaol.
y Be careful! That bug (sting).
z He told me that she (be) struck dumb by the news of
They had never been there.
It was the third time that she had planned to get off with
He had just seen some vandals.
She had been using that stain-remover for almost twenty years.
The past perfect simple and the past perfect continuous
are the past tenses of the present perfect simple and the
present perfect continuous, respectively. Consequently,
the differences between the past perfect simple and
continuous are the same as the ones seen between
the present perfect simple and continuous, with the
only difference that the past perfect simple and
continuous refer to the past.
a He said that he (work) for the same employer since he was
fourteen years old.
b We never (live) on bread and water before, which was very hard
at the beginning.
c I telephoned her because her brother still (not turn) up.
d He just (regain) consciousness when we reached his home.
e He knew that vagrant, as he (beg) in that street three times,
When I got home, my mother had baked an apple pie for me.
My sister had been baking cakes when I arrived home, and
the kitchen was a tip.
The past perfect simple and continuous can imply that one
action happened earlier than another. For the usage of the
past perfect in actions which are not simultaneous, see
a By the time I (switch) on the light, the burglar (flee).
b He (want) to put on his blue shirt, but he couldn’t, as his
wife (not do) the ironing that day, and it (be) rucked up.
c They (reserve) two tables when we (arrive) at the restaurant.
d When I (get) up, I (notice) it (snow) the previous night, and
the streets (be) covered with snow. Some children (make) a
snowman, but they (leave) it unfinished, since they (have)
to go to school, and (not have) time to finish it.
e Somebody (strike) her with a spanner when I got there, as she
(lie) on the floor, and the spanner (have) some blood.
36 Revision exercise.
a They (whisper) since they (arrive) at my house. So, I (tell)
them to leave immediately. At the beginning, they (not want)
to; but, in the end, they (leave).
b When the vulture (eat) the rabbit’s carcass, it went away. I
never (see) a vulture eating before.
c It was a wintry morning. It (snow), and while he (watch)
some children playing in the street, they (bring) back
memories when he (be) their age.
d With a certain melancholy, tears (come) to his eyes, as he
would never be able to return to his childhood, and his
youth already (pass) away. He (feel) that the end of his
existence (get) near.
e The majority of his friends already (perish); and even
though he (not feel) lonely, the symptoms of old age
(appear), and his health (be) very poor, unfortunately.
f The worst thing (be) that everybody (treat) him like dirt,
simply because he (be) old. He (wish) to tell them a few
words about life; but, as he was a wise person, worked
through years and experience, he (not find) it worth
g If you (brake) on a wet road, the wheels of your car will
h I bet he (try) to get off with a girl. He (have) a bee
in his bonnet about girls.
i I (abide) by her orders, so she can’t reproach me for what
I (do) yesterday.
j An iron bar (not bend) easily.
k ‘What you (make) the time?’
‘A quarter past twelve.’
l I imagine they (act) fraudently when they (rule) the country.
m Your son (lie) on the ground for the last twenty minutes. Tell
him to get up, or he’ll catch a cold.
n This sword (date) from the Roman Empire.
o The debt-collector just (go) to ask her to pay what they (owe)
when her husband (appear) and told him to leave the place
p Patient: I’ve got a terrible stomach-ache!
Doctor: You (overeat) lately?
Patient: Well, yes, I have, but—
Doctor: You should not eat so much! You (have) an attack
q ‘My father (shoe) horses since very early this morning.’
‘I (not know) he (be) a blacksmith.’
r Many soldiers and civilians (be) slain in wars throughout
the centuries. Wars (be) inherent in Man?
s When I (come) into the room, my aunt (tell) that she (weave)
all day, and (feel) very tired. This is why I (tell) her
to stop, and have some tea.
t When they (kidnap) her, they (underfeed) her. She was
very thin when they (liberate) her
u ‘I never (meet) a yokel like you.’
‘You stupid idiot!’
v He still (not apologise) for reproving me yesterday.
w That loafer never (work) in his life. He (prefer) to steal
things from people, or to beg. He says, ‘Working (disagree)
x She always (say) that she (pity) me! It (drive) me up the
y They just (buy) a bag of popcorns, and (sit) round the table
when I went to see them.
z When he (hear) ‘Man, overboat!’, he (dive) into the sea to
save the drowning man.
I’m renting this house to the Evans next month.
I’m going to rent this house to the Evans next month.
In the first example we imply that the Evans and I have
reached an agreement about the house. The second sentence
merely states that I have the intention of renting it,
but I have probably not told them my decision yet. Of
course I know that they are interested in the house,
but when they asked me about it, I told them I would
think it over.
Still, sometimes it does not really matter if we use one
form or the other, as the difference is very slight. For
instance, if I say I’m riding my bike this afternoon,
it entails a plan made by me. However, if I say I’m
going to ride my bike this afternoon, it conveys my
intention. Consequently, the difference between these
two sentences is very small, and either of them can be
used without any real difference in meaning.
In Addition to this, two go’s does not sound very neat.
Hence the present continuous very often replaces the be
going to form when dealing with the verb go: I’m going
to go to Cardiff tomorrow = I’m going to Cardiff
tomorrow. As come and go are related in meaning,
instead of I’m going to come, we generally say I’m
coming. In spite of this, nothing prevents you
from using I am going to go or I am going to come.
a I (not do) anything special this evening. Would you like to
have dinner with me at a Chinese restaurant?
b I (have) a haircut at seven o’clock. (= I have an appointment
with my barber.)
c He (buy) his daughter a gift for her birthday. As it is a
surprise, please don’t tell her.
d They (supply) all the food. (We phoned them this morning, and
they told us that there was no problem.)
e We (go) sightseeing this afternoon. Do you want to come with
I’m exhausted. I’m going to lie down a bit.
‘Where is Dolly?’
‘She is lying on the beach.’
In the first example, the action will take place in the
immediate future. In the second, it is happening now.
a We (furnish) the team with shirts and shorts, as we want to
sponsor them. They (look) for a sponsor, and haven’t found
one yet. They’ll be very glad when we tell them.
b She (get) drowsy. Put her to bed.
c ‘Where you (go)?
‘I (hail) a taxi. I want to go home.’
d She (peel) some cloves of garlic when I saw her. (past)
e I saw her with a bulb of garlic. I think she (peel) some
Diana: Where is your mother?
Amanda: At home. She’s ill.
Diana: I will/I’ll go and see her this afternoon.
(Half an hour later, Diana runs into Claudia.)
Diana: I’m going to see Amanda’s mother this afternoon,
because she’s ill.
Claudia: I’ll go with you.
Will + infinitive indicates that we have just decided
to do something. Be going to + infinitive suggests a
a ‘Look at that shepherd!’
‘He’s carrying some big scissors. What he (do)?’
‘He (shear) his sheep.’
‘Phew! I thought he (cut) their heads off.’
‘Well, look at that huge scissors!’
‘They are called shears, and shepherds use them regularly.
b ‘I’m very cold!’
‘Okay! I (light) a fire.’
c You’re soaking wet. Put on some dry clothes, and I (make) some
d When I grow up, I (be) a glazier, like my father.
e ‘Why are you carrying a screwdriver?’
‘I (fix) my record player.’
40 Revision exercise.
a What a pity! She (mishit) the ball. But for this, we could
have won the game.
b They (withhold) me their help a year ago. And now they (want)
me to help them, but I (not help) them.
c You never (forbear) from telling what you think.
Regrettably, frankness is not always good in our society.
d ‘Where you (go) with a saw?’
‘I (cut) that tree down’
‘Wait! I (look) for another saw, and I (help) you.’
e They (learn) Japanese for two years now, and can’t speak it
f ‘I’m very thirsty!’
‘I (bring) you a glass of water.’
g She wished to finish by dusk, so she (keep) very hard at what
h When her holidays were over, she (misspend) all her money on
i They very rarely (use) the whip with their animals. They don’t
j He (treat) her so tenderly that her eyes filled with tears
when they (say) good-bye.
k ‘Why you (buy) your car there?’
‘Because they offered me a wide range of colours to choose.’
l Jane and I (study) for our maths exams in my house. When my
parents (smell) her perfume, and realised that a girl (be)
in the house, they (scold) me because they do not want me
to take anybody home when they (not be) in.
m She refuses to bear her husband’s surname because she (think)
that both men and women should be equal. She (believe) that
it is a chauvinistic custom.
n We (not add) an -s to the word ‘deer’ to form its plural.
It (remain) unchanged in the plural because it is an irregular
o ‘You (mind) if I (smoke)?’
‘No, go ahead.’
p Whenever he (tell) her to split up, she always (beg) him to
give her another chance. She loves him deeply.
q When I (learn) what my children (do), I (feel) very furious.
r At last, he (persuade) her to stay with him. I suppose she
couldn’t have been happy without him, as she (love) him a lot.
s ‘Your son (beat) my son!’
‘I (teach) him a lesson. He always (hit) people.’
t ‘Last night I (shake) with fear. Three enormous men (burst)
into my house when I (be) in bed.
u ‘What “be born” (mean)?’
‘It (mean) “come into the world”.’
v ‘Occasionally, she (carry) a fan.’
‘What a silly thing to carry!’
w How often a cat (shed)?
x In the mornings, she always (have) a glass of milk and a bun.
She (not like) having bacon and eggs.
y Doctor: You should give up smoking and take up some sport.
Paul: OK! I (take) up jogging, and (try) to give up smoking.
z When he (get) there, she already (decide) to break
off her relationship with him.
I’ll know the results of my exam tomorrow.
Some verbs do not take continuous tenses. Instead, we use
the future simple tense. Sometimes, the be going to form
is also possible.
a They (recognise) your devotion to this enterprise tonight.
b He (have) to resign this afternoon.
c Don’t worry. She (believe) you tomorrow.
d They (refuse) to take him there this evening.
e You (perceive) the symptoms in a week or two.
If you read in a bad light, you will damage your
eyes. [if (present), (future)→possible, probable or real]
If I had a compass, I would find the way back home. [if
(past), (would + infinitive)→unreal, improbable]
If they hadn’t sacked me, I wouldn’t have sued them. [if
(past perfect) (would + have + past participle)→impossible]
If we hadn’t followed this lane, we wouldn’t be here now.
The first two examples refer to the present; the third,
to the past. The fourth simply compares a present
situation with a past one. For further details about
conditional sentences, see section 60, and unit 24.
a If he (spring) over the prison wall without hesitation, he
would have saved his life.
b If they had forseen your intentions, you (not be) here now.
c If you overfeed your pet, it (get) fat.
d If you had bidden her good night, she (not become) angry.
e If we (overfly) their camp, we could see whether they are
armed or not.
Will you give the waitress a tip, please?
Are you really going to give him a hand?
Are you visiting the marquis tomorrow evening?
Will you + infinitive is used for requests or invitations;
the be going to form, for premeditated intentions; the
present continuous, for future plans.
a Why have you changed into your best clothes? You (not play)
bridge with us tonight?
b You (answer) the phone, please?
c They really (decorate) him for his heroic deeds this
d You (organize) everything for tomorrow’s party, please?
e You (take) them by surprise? I wouldn’t, if I were you!
44 Revision exercise.
a If you (do) as you are bidden, nobody will suffer the
consequences of your negligence.
b When I (go) to see him last night, he (wear) a pair of pyjamas
and a pair of slippers.
c ‘You (find) her accommodation, please?’
d ‘You (insure) your house against fire?’
‘No, not yet.’
e If you (not keep) an eye on them, they will get into trouble.
f ‘You (give) me another sheet of paper, please?’
g He said he never (string) pearls before, but he (like) it.
h ‘You (meet) your new boss this afternoon?’
‘Yes, he (wait) for me at 4 pm. I hope he is not
as bad as the other one.’
i ‘You (stand) up, please?’
j If you (tear) the letter up, and (throw) it away, your
wife wouldn’t have read it.
k If I were you, I (not seek) after the truth.
l ‘Where you (go) so fast?’
‘I (buy) an insect repellent. I can’t stand mosquite bites
‘Oh, dear! You (be) covered in bites!
m You are dripping wet. It (rain) very hard?
n ‘I want to go home!’
‘All right! I (take) you home.’
o ‘Excuse me, is there a telephone box near here?’
‘I (not know), but I (ask) my wife. She is waiting for me
in the car.’
p They (censure) him for the way that he (handle) things
in this department twice this year.
q ‘As a child, I generally (misunderstand) my parents; and now,
my children (misunderstand) me.’
‘Well, this is implied in the process of growing. We (have) to
make mistakes to learn. We (learn) through experience. I mean,
we (do) something, and (see) what (happen).
r They (not want) to retake the exam because they thought that
they (do) it very well.
s ‘You (know) Mr Green was injured yesterday?’
‘No, I didn’t. How it (happen)?’
‘Well, someone (heave) a big stone at him.’
t ‘I (feel) very sick lately. You (poison) me?’
‘Don’t be ridiculous!’
u ‘Your daughter (come) to tomorrow’s party?’
v If you (disobey) my orders, you’ll be fired.
w ‘We need a loan!’
‘Okay, we (take) out a loan to pay the house.’
x I (not bring) my swimming trunks.’
‘Never mind, I (lend) you a pair.’
y If you (not wring) your jeans out, they wouldn’t be dry now.
z If we (not rebind) this book, its pages (not come) off, and
some of them (not be) missing now.
I will not snub the duke. (= I refuse to snub the duke.)
She won’t fulfil your commands. (= She refuses to fulfil
a This stain (not come) out.
b He (not use) a helmet.
c They (not eat) meat, so let’s cook some vegetables.
d We (not hunt) gnu.
e They (not make) any arrangements.
If I were you, I would avoid shall with this meaning, as it
is very rare.
In the past, would is used.
See sections 3, 6 and 7.
In the past, the conditional simple.
And, sometimes, future.
Would is a more formal alternative: Would you give the
waitress a tip, please?
In the past, we use would instead of will: My car would not
start, as it was a very cold morning, and she was very old.
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)