EMAIL Me

Have a question about my books, my blog, or my editing services? I'd love to hear from you! I typically response within 48 hours. If you haven't received a response by then, please resubmit your message.

Name *
Name


Macungie, PA 18062

Website of author and professional editor Rachelle M. N. Shaw. Find information about her books, her editing services, and her blog, From Mind to Paper: On Writing and Editing.

From Mind to Paper: On Writing and Editing

From Mind to Paper is a blog for writers, editors, and those interested in the English language. It covers a multitude of writing topics, from punctuation and grammar to plot development, character development, and world building. In addition to in-depth articles about various writing topics, this blog also has a number of series posts, which are currently being transformed into a nonfiction series on writing.

The Grammar Grind: Tenses, Part 2

Rachelle M. N. Shaw

This article is a continuation of the previous article about tenses and will discuss all variations of the future tense as well as the conditional tenses. Each tense can be written using an affirmative statement, a negated statement, and a question. Simple Future The simple future tense is used to indicate and action that will take place in the future. It is assumed that action cannot be influenced and is inevitable. The action indicated is sometimes spontaneous. The future tense is noted by two variations in structure: one uses the auxiliary verb will or shall, and the other uses the phrase am/is/are going to.

Example 1a: She will write. Example 1b: She is going to write. Example 2a: She will not write. Example 2b: She is not going to write. Example 3a: Will she write? Example 3b: Is she going to write?

Future Progressive (Future Continuous) The future progressive tense is used to indicate an action that will happen at a certain point in the future. The action is also one that is sure to happen in the near future. The –ing form of the main verb is used in conjunction with the auxiliary verbs will/shall be, or the phrase am/is/are going to be for this tense.

Example 1a: She will be writing. Example 1b: She is going to be writing. Example 2a: She will not be writing. Example 2b: She is not going to be writing. Example 3a: Will she be writing? Example 3b: Is she going to be writing?

Future Perfect The future perfect tense is used to indicate an action that will be finished at a certain point in the future. The perfect tense form of the main verb is used along with the corresponding auxiliary verbs will/shall have or the phrase am/is/are going to have.

Example 1a: She will have written a book. Example 1b: She is going to have written a book. Example 2a: She will not have written a book. Example 2b: She is not going to have written a book. Example 3a: Will she have written a book? Example 3b: Is she going to have written a book?

Future Perfect Progressive (Future Perfect Continuous) The future perfect progressive tense is used to indicate an action that will take place in the future before an even further point the future. Emphasis is on the duration of the action. The –ing form of the main verb is used with the auxiliary verbs will/shall have beenor the phrase am/is/are going to have been.

Example 1a: She will have been writing for hours. Example 1b: She is going to have been writing for hours. Example 2a: She will not have been writing for hours. Example 2b: She is not going to have been writing for hours. Example 3a: Will she have been writing for hours? Example 3b: Is she going to have been writing for hours?

Zero Conditional The zero conditional tense is used to indicate a situation that is real and possible either at the current time or always. It is often used to illustrate facts and/or general truths. The structure of this type of tense is as follows: if + simple present verb, followed by simple present verb. No auxiliary verbs are used.

Example: If you heat water, it boils.

Conditional I The conditional I tense is used to indicate a situation that is possible and is very likely to be fulfilled. The structure of this type of tense is as follows: if + simple present verb, followed by a simple future tense verb.

Example 1a: If you don’t hurry, you will be late. Example 1b: If you don’t hurry, you are going to be late. Example 2a: If you cut yourself, you will bleed. Example 2b: If you cut yourself, you are going to bleed.

Conditional II The conditional II tense is used to indicate a situation that is not based on fact but is unlikely or hypothetical with a probable result. The structure of this type of tense is as follows: if + simple past verb, followed by a present tense conditional statement with the auxiliary verb would.

Example 1: If you studied, you would do well on the test. Example 2: If you practiced, you would get better.

Conditional II Progressive (Conditional II Continuous) The conditional II tense is also used to indicate a situation that is unlikely or hypothetical with a probable result. However, the emphasis is on the course or duration of the action. The structure of this type of tense is as follows: if + simple past verb, followed by a progressive conditional statement with the auxiliary verbs would be.

Example 1: If you respond, you would be waiting for a reply. Example 2: If you earned a B, you would be doing well.

Conditional III The conditional III tense is used to indicate a situation occurring in the past that is contrary to reality. It refers to an untrue past event with a probable result if the conditions had been met. The structure of this type of tense is as follows: if + past perfect verb, followed by a perfect tense conditional statement with the auxiliary verbs would have.

Example 1: If it had snowed, you would have gotten the day off. Example 2: If you had been awake, you would have heard the announcement.

Conditional III Progressive (Conditional III Continuous) The conditional III progressive tense is also used to indicate a situation occurring in the past that is contrary to reality. However, the emphasis is on the course or duration of the action. The structure of this type of tense is as follows: if + past perfect verb, followed by a progressive conditional statement with the auxiliary verbs would have been.

Example 1: If you had been caught, you would have been in huge trouble. Example 2: If you had called, I would have been less worried.

Mixed Conditionals and Subjunctive Verbs Sometimes certain situations call for a mixture of the conditional tenses. Such situations are used to indicate a past event that is contrary to reality but would have had a direct impact on the present time if the conditions had been met. The structure of this type of tense is as follows: if + past perfect verb, followed by a present tense conditional statement with the auxiliary verb would.

Example 1: If I had put my keys away, they wouldn’t be lost. Example 2: If I had flown, I would be there already.

I also want to briefly mention subjunctive verbs. When dealing with conditional statements, especially types II and III, there will be times when a completely impossible event is being mentioned as hypothetical for the sake of giving advice or expressing one’s opinions about a particular situation. In those cases, the verb were is used, even if it disagrees with the subject. (i.e. It goes against standard subject-verb agreement.)

Example: If I were you, I wouldn’t press that button.

Under normal circumstances, the verb was would be the most agreeable with the subject I. However, since a conditional statement is being made in which a completely impossible event is expressed, the subjunctive verb were is correct. If the statement made had been possible in any way, was would then be the appropriate verb.

Example: If I was at home instead of at work, I could take a nap.