In many exams you will be asked to complete sentences using appropriate tense forms. If you find these exercises difficult, the following hints will be helpful. Note the tense of a sentence is usually determined by the time adverbs present in it.
Time adverbs used with the simple present tense
The simple present tense is commonly used with the adverbs always, usually, seldom, never, sometimes, often, frequently, generally, habitually, occasionally, once, twice, thrice etc.
Study the examples given below.
- I drink a cup of coffee every morning. (NOT I am drinking a cup of coffee every morning.)
- My father never tells lies.
- I usually spend my evenings with my children.
- My watch never keeps right time.
Time adverbs used with the present continuous tense
The present continuous tense is used to talk about actions and situations that are in progress at the moment of speaking. The following time expressions are commonly used with the present continuous tense: today, at present, at the moment, still, now etc.
- I am working on a new project now.
- My father is working in his office at the moment.
- I am seeing John tomorrow.
- We are still waiting for their reply.
- He is working for a foreign company at present.
Time adverbs used with the present perfect tense
The present perfect tense is commonly used with the time expressions just, yet, already, since, for and so far.
- We have not yet received the payment.
- He has already paid for the drinks.
- I have just returned from work.
Note that the adverbs yesterday, last week, in 2005 etc., cannot be used with the present perfect tense. If these time expressions appear in a sentence, you have to use the simple past tense instead of the present perfect tense.