Rob guides us through some of the most important English tenses.

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Language level

Intermediate: B1
Upper intermediate: B2

Comments

Good to have 'Word on the Street' series back, and useful advice on learning! Thanks.

As I see it, in the task 3 answers 3 and 4 are mistaken:
3) It's too late to phone the tax office now. ______________ do it tomorrow morning. 
I'd write:«I'm going to...» (and not «I'll») because it's something programmed (tomorrow morning).
On the contrary:
4) Dennis wants to get more exercise, so  ____________ sell his car and buy a bike.
It's no clear when Dennis will do that, so I'd write: «he'll...» (and not «he's going to...»). Unless it happens right now - but how can I know that?
If I'm wrong, please forgive me and don't shoot me!
Sergio

Hi Sergio

I see you're proofreading LearnEnglish as well now. We'll have lots more mistakes for you to find soon on Premier Skills English. :)

Thanks

Jack

The Premier Skills English Team

Hello Sergio!
 
It's a good question about a confusing area. However, if you think about the context of the sentences, the answers may make more sense.
 
For number 3, the person speaking has maybe just realised it's too late to phone the tax office. Doing it tomorrow is a decision or promise made after that realization – so will is probably better even though there is a time phrase.
 
For number 4, again, it is to do with how much planning the subject (here, Dennis) has done, not the time phrase. Dennis made the plan – to sell his car and buy a bike. We know it's a definite plan, not a sudden decision, because he told someone else (the speaker) about it.
 
It's complicated, but remember that will is used for promises or decisions, and going to is for plans you thought about before; it's not to do with time phrases necessarily. If you look at our page on talking about the future, you'll see a bit more information.
 
(and don't worry - no shooting! :)
 
Hope that helps!
 
Jeremy Bee
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello, 
I am a bit confused with the 4-th sentence Task 2. We have got exams next week. We have got - present perfect. Next week- future. Could you make it clear for me.
Thanks for attention.

Hello Ketiru!
 
This is a bit confusing! Let me break it down into two parts. First, have got. This might look like present perfect – but isn't really. In British English, we sometimes use have got in exactly the same way as we use have.
 
I have got a pen = I have a pen
 
Now, if you look at the sentence, you can read it as 'We have exams next week'. We use present tense to talk about future events if the event is scheduled, on a time table, or we know when it will be. It's like
 
'When is the meeting?'
'The meeting is at 5 o'clock next Thursday'
 
Remember, there are lots of ways to talk about the future. Have a look at our page on talking about the future to find out more.
 
Hope that helps!
 
Jeremy Bee
The LearnEnglish Team

Hi
I have question:
How can I answer this:
How long have you been coming to this school?

Thanks for this amazing show.

Hello thepower!
 
Glad you like the show – it's one of our most popular! In answer to your question, just say how long you have studied at your school – for example,
I have been coming to this school for 3 years/since 2009.

It is an example of the present perfect continuous, and is for talking about how long you have been doing something until now:
It is 4 o'clock now. I started work at 9 o'clock. I have been working for 7 hours.

You can read more about it on our page about the present perfect continuous.
 
Best wishes,
 
Jeremy Bee
The LearnEnglish Team

Hi,could anyone tell me about the difference between 'seriousness' and 'earnestness'?Thank you.

Hi paula 12,
When talking about people, the words have a very similar meaning, though 'earnest' (the adjective) is a very formal word.
The key difference between them is that 'earnest' is used only to describe people  and their behaviour and character.  'Serious' can be used that way, but it can also be used to describe many other things: you can have a serious situation, a serious problem and a serious illness, for example.
I hope that answers your question.
Best wishes,
 
Peter
The LearnEnglish Team

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