Decoding English Verb Tenses
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Decoding English Verb Tenses

Learn this fundamental grammar to succeed your English Language Exam
4.6 (14 ratings)
Instead of using a simple lifetime average, Udemy calculates a course's star rating by considering a number of different factors such as the number of ratings, the age of ratings, and the likelihood of fraudulent ratings.
211 students enrolled
Created by Betty Zsoldos
Last updated 3/2016
Current price: $10 Original price: $50 Discount: 80% off
5 hours left at this price!
30-Day Money-Back Guarantee
  • 2.5 hours on-demand video
  • 4 Supplemental Resources
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
What Will I Learn?
  • better understand and correctly apply the English verb tenses.
  • get higher scores at English language exams, because the "Verb Tenses" is a fundamental part of English grammar.
View Curriculum
  • Students need to be familiar with at least some of the verb tenses, such as Present Simple and Continuous, OR: they should speak English at least at (pre-)intermediate level.


This course is an essential tool for all those

  1. - who are preparing for an English Language Exam, like IELTS, TOEFL, Cambridge, and
  2. - who are struggling with understanding and using the most complex English Grammar: the Verb Tenses.

However, this course is NOT for beginners students, or those who don't understand min. 50 % of the Promo Video!

This nearly 3-hour course offers a more "holistic view" on the Tenses. But how will it give you more than what you can find in grammar books and courses?

- The point of playing a puzzle is to get the "WHOLE PICTURE". It is not enough to recognise 1-1 piece of the puzzle and find 3-4 fitting pieces. You must get the whole picture. What you can learn from books and courses is examining the little pieces (verb-tenses and their usage) but finally you might end up in a big confusion.

However, in this course you'll always know where you are in the labyrinth, so it clears out the fog because you'll get a clearer guidance of the usage of verb tenses, by discovering the connections behind the idea of verb formations.

This way of teaching verb tenses has proved to be HIGHLY USEFUL in the last 20 years!

By the end of the course:

  • you will gain clarity of understanding what the point of the Timeline, the Tenses and their 4-4 Aspects,
  • you will see why English thinks in terms of situations when using tenses
  • you will gain confidence through practice and explanations
  • you will speak English in a more correct and accurate way!

And most importantly:

  • You Will Be Better Prepared for an English Language Exam by Knowing the Most Complex Piece of English Grammar

I bet, you will like this course! :-)

I hope we will meet soon!


Who is the target audience?
  • This Course is for: - ESL students preparing for an English language exam like IELTS, TOEFL, Cambridge), or - those who got lost in this labyrinth of English grammar, or - all, who would like to speak English more accurately, or - who want to enjoy the logic of tenses of English grammar If you fall in one of these categories you are in the right boat! :-) This course is NOT for: - beginner students, or those who could understand less than 50 % of the promo video.
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Curriculum For This Course
27 Lectures
3 Lectures 10:47

1. This Course is for:

- ESL students preparing for an English language exam like IELTS, TOEFL, Cambridge), or

- those who got lost in this labyrinth of English grammar, or

- all, who would like to speak English more accurately, or

- who want to enjoy the logic of tenses of English grammar

If you fall in one of these categories you are in the right boat! :-)

This course is NOT for:

- beginner students, or those who could understand less than 50 % of the promo video.

1.2. Some Advice:

- Do not worry if the video is too fast, or you don't understand up to 25-30 % of what I say. You can always find the written script, so, you can read it through in your rhythm.

- Please, please, please, do all the exercises I ask you to do, as the point is “Practice”. This is the only way you can build strong “muscles”.

Preview 01:52

I'm going to show you MY BABY! This is something that I myself developed about 15-20 years ago, and it proved really useful for students to better understand, see through and use correctly the different verb formations of English Tenses.

But actually WHAT HAPPENED 15-20 years ago?

Well, I regularly meet my students' frustration about this diverse piece of grammar, so this made me think it over and over again how to best help them.

And then I found the key! It had something to do with the so called “Bottom-up” or “Top-to-bottom” approach. What does that mean? - You'll learn it from this video.

Preview 05:24

This is all you need to know about my background and expertise...

Preview 03:31
3 Lectures 10:49

Why does English use complicated verb formations, if it could be much more simple, too?

Preview 01:44

Whenever we hear a verb-form, our mind places the action somewhere ON THE TIMELINE in OUR MENTAL WORLD. This is how an external action is sensed, processed and gets integrated into our internal world.

Thanks to this mental process the data is saved, stored, transferred and recalled from our memory.

But where is past, where is present, and where is future action in our memory?

Preview 02:41

As we agreed, present is right in front of us, past is on our left, and future is on the right. So, very basically English uses 3 tenses, such as most languages: past, present, future. However, each of these tenses have 4-4 aspects.

First of all, each of the basic tenses have either simple… or continuous versions. To help our visual memory we will place “simple” aspect on the top, and “continuous” on the bottom.

Now, we have 6 boxes for the 3 tenses and their simple and continuous aspects: Present simple, Present cont, Past simple, Past cont. Future Simple, Future cont.

How will we get all the 12 English tenses?

Here comes the “Perfect” aspect! Do you remember when you learnt about Present Perfect? This is a kind of “between” the past and present! We will go into details later about it, but now just remember: it is for example either that started in the past and it is here even now, or it is a period between past and now. So, it gets between the past and present in our timeline…

So, then what about Past Perfect? You know this is something that took place before a past event. So, this is before Past tense.

And then, Future Perfect? If you follow the logic, its place will be obvious: it is between present and future.

The 12 Boxes on the Timeline
2 Lectures 08:55

Different verb-formations belong to these 12 boxes. For example where will go “I'm dancing”? If your tip is present continuous, that's correct! Why? We will discuss it in the next session.

Where would you put: “I dance”? Any guess? Well, I “dance” is the form to express present simple. So, it goes here.

What is “dance” in simple past form? I danced. For example I danced when I was a child.

Could you tell me what is “dance” in past continuous? Yes, of course was/were dancing. E.g. Yesterday I was dancing all day.

Let's have a look at Future tenses: of course it is “I will dance”, or I'll dance in contracted form, which is Future simple.

How would you use “dance” in Future continuous? … Now, take care! Lots of students miss this! No, it is not “I'll dancing”! Something is missing! What's that? “be”. Look at how continuous is formed:

I AM + verb+ing in present tense,

I WAS + verb+ing in past tense,

so, it is obvious that in future tense: I WILL BE + verb+ing. That is in our example: I'll be dancing.

Present, Past, Future; Simple and Continuous Forms

Now, we will focus on the “perfect” forms. What do you know about it? The formula of “perfect” is always: “have + 3 rd form of the verb”. So, if we go on with “dance” it is in present tense: I have danced. E.g. I have (already) danced chachacha.

The verb form in past perfect tense is very clear: have goes to had + 3 rd form of the verb, so it is: had talked. E.g. I had danced chachacha before I went to a dance school.

For Future form you simply add: “will” before have, so it is: “will have danced”. E.g. By the end of the exam they will have danced all what they have learnt.

For continuous tense we must see, it always uses: “BE” + verb + ing, how we fixed it before. Now, we must fuse it with the perfect form, which is “have + 3 rd form”, so, the formula is: “have + been + verb+ing”

In Present Perfect. “I have been dancing”, e.g. I have been working for 3 hours.

In Past Perfect Continuous: I had been dancing, e.g. I had been dancing for hours by the time I could really pick it up.

In Future Perfect Continuous: You'll have been dancing for years by the time you have a chance to win the competition.

Well, if you recognise the patterns of the formulas, you won't miss it. Once more focus on the Perfect simple form have + 3 rd form, and Perfect continuous form: have + been + 3rd form – and then just simply put them into the right boxes.

Fortunately or unfortunately this chart is what you should know by heart. In the next video we will start to look into these boxes to get to know the exactly what the English mean when using these forms.

Present, Past, Future Perfect; Simple and Cont. form

In this quiz you can check whether you have understood well what we have learnt till this point. Good luck!

Quiz 1
9 questions
13 Lectures 01:07:56

Do you read labels? You go to the shop, you see something, you take it, but: do you ever read what is written on that little paper? … Actually, why do we use labels? What is the point of using labels? And how does it come here?

A label always gives you information about certain goods or things which are in the box or a container - or it sometimes aims to identify people or group of people; though unfortunately most of the times this is prejudice. ...

We read the label on the box, not because the label is important, but because we want to know what is in the box, and more importantly what the things are good for, how they can be and should be used – or should NOT be used!


What is Present Simple about?

What is Present Continuous about?

What is Past Simple about?

What is Past Continuous about?

What is Future Simple about?

What is Future Continuous about?

What is Present Perfect Simple about?

What is Present Perfect Continuous about?

What is Past Perfect Simple about?

What is Past Perfect Continuous about?

What is Future Perfect Simple about?

What is Future Perfect Continuous about?

In this quiz you will test your knowledge about verb forms and their fitting function, e.g. you will find out what kind of situation is behind certain forms. Good luck with it!

Quiz 2
12 questions
1 Lecture 12:41
How to See the Actions on the Timeline?
4 Lectures 43:39
33 Sentences with Explanations 1-11

33 Sentences with Explanations 12-22

33 Sentences with Explanations 23-33

It's Your Turn: 33 Sentences to Test Yourself
My Last Words and Your Next Steps
1 Lecture 04:25

Thank you so-so much for this journey! I have really enjoyed it and I hope you also have.

Now, your turn comes: this is “Practise, Practise, Practise.”

You have now been aware of how the English code what they mean, you can quickly and easily do the same. Practise, because this is the only way you will improve your skills. Utilise everything, everybody and every opportunity!

Are you watching a film in English? Focus on what verb-forms they use and tell yourself why.

Are you travelling on a bus? Look out of the window, describe what you can see, for example: We have just passed the church. Those schoolchildren are crossing the road. The lights will have changed by the time the bus gets to the corner, etc.

The more you are ready to practice the more opportunities will come.

And what the most important is: enjoy it, love it! Your mind is much more open when you are interested, curious, joyful and playful.

Thank you very much for all your attention, all your focus, all your wish for development!

I would love to get any feedback from you, and please, rate the course. Also keep in mind, that I will answer all your questions that you post. Let me tell you that I'm going to make other courses for exam preparation, I run skypelessons, too. If you are interested, find me:

And as I've told you, the other side of me is a Master Coach and NLP Master. I feel very honoured if I can accompany a person to help them climb their personal Himalayas. I'm going to run online courses on these subjects and also do coaching sessions. If you need this kind of help, find me at the same address:

Good luck if you take an exam.

Best regards,


Preview 04:25
About the Instructor
Betty Zsoldos
5.0 Average rating
50 Reviews
296 Students
5 Courses
English Teacher: Cambridge Diploma + 22 years teaching

I am known as Betty Zsoldos, officially: Erzsebet Zsoldos; a Hungarian-born woman living in Australia.

I am an English teacher with a Cambridge Diploma in teaching English for Adults as a Second Language, plus I have 22 years of experience in teaching! I have had very different kind of learners from people with special needs to managing directors.

The other professional side of me is a Master Coach, a trainer, and an NLP Master. I also hold a diploma in educational psychology. These extras allow me to know a great deal about meta-learning, e.g. how our memory works, how real learning takes place, and how to help different types of learners to build quickly new neurological pathways to promote and fix learning.

My little secret is that: at the age of 25 I didn't know even one word of English: I started from zero, I had to learn even: "yes" and "no". I felt awkward and clumsy while learning; yet, I developed fast and in 3 years I was asked to teach in language schools. Soon I was the most popular English teacher in my hometown.

Why? Just because I understood all the difficulties grown-up learners were going through...