Common mistakes in the use of tenses in English

In this article we are going to look at examples of mistakes in the use of tenses in English, which are often made by people learning a language. As well as examples of how to build such sentences correctly.

  1. We will call you when we will finish. – NO

We will call you when we finish. – YES

            Call me in case you will have problems. – NO

Call me in case you have problems. - YES

A common mistake is to use will in both parts of conditional sentences. It is necessary to remember that we do NOT put will / would after if, when, as soon as, in case, etc. in Conditionals.

2. I have watched the film two months ago. – NO

    I watched the film two months ago. – YES

    She has met him a week before. – NO

     She has met him before. - YES

We do NOT use Present perfect when mentioning some exact time, only Past simple. But we still need Present perfect to speak about some experience in the past.

3. I haven’t seen him since I have stopped working there. – NO

    I haven’t seen him since I stopped working there. – YES

    I am learning Spanish since 2017. – NO

    I have been learning Spanish since 2017. – YES

Since – is a marker of Present perfect continuous or Present perfect, depending on what we want to emphasize.

4. She stopped smoking a month before. – NO

     She stopped smoking a month ago. – YES

If we say that the action happened some time ago, in English we use exactly the word AGO.

5. John found a job two last month. He had graduated from the university half a year ago. – NO

    John found a job two last month. He had graduated from the university half a year before. – YES

Past perfect is used for actions or events that occurred before other actions in the past. The word BEFORE is an indication of Past perfect.

6. He hasn’t still bought a new car. – NO

     He still hasn’t bought a new car. – YES

     They still are abroad. – NO 

      They are still abroad. – YES

We put Still BEFORE the main verb or AFTER the verb To BE.

7. They haven’t reached yet an agreement. - NO

    They haven’t reached an agreement yet. – YES

Yet – is a marker of Present perfect. It is used in negative sentences and we put it in the end.

8. I will have done it by the end of the week. – YES

    I will have done it until the end of the week. – NO

Until is used only in negative sentences.

9. I used to go to the theatre three times last month. – NO

    I went to the theatre three times last month. – YES

The construction Used to is NOT used with exact time in the past.

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