Monday, January 25, 2016

A Lesson on Verb Tenses for the IELTS Writing Test

One important part of writing is having good grammar skills. Having good grammar skills enables one to write essays very well. In the IELTS writing test, grammar is valued, particularly the use of tenses. Since verb consistency is important and promotes good flow in your writing, here is a simple lesson on common verb tenses that is used in the IELTS writing test.


Simple Present

Present Continuous

For habitual actions, actions that are done repeatedly

I usually wake up late on weekends.
My father works from Monday to Friday.
Those teachers usually give their students homework every Friday.
For actions that are happening at the time of speaking

I am listening to Adele’s new album.
Shhh! Grandfather is sleeping on the couch.
What a bad day. It is raining cats and dogs.
For facts/generalizations, things that are always true

Water boils at 100 degrees Celsius.
The sun rises on the east.
Rain falls from the sky.
For actions that are happening around now. The action doesn’t necessarily mean that it is happening at the time of speaking.

My brother is studying to become a good dentist.
I am reading a book about psychology.
The police are looking for a man who robbed the bank.
The use of frequency adverbs show how often the action happens

My mother is always late for work.
We never eat dog meat.
How often do you take a shower?
For temporary actions, changes happening now or around now

The population of the world is increasing.
Her IELTS speaking skills is improving. I am so proud of her.
The price of gas is decreasing.

The use of frequency adverbs indicates an irritation or annoyance with the action

She is always using my phone. She never asks permission.
I’m always losing my things. I hate it.
You’re constantly complaining about your teachers. You are the problem, not the teachers.

Simple Past
Past Continuous
For actions that started in the past and finished in the past

My parents met my younger brother yesterday.
We played soccer with them last month.
The test was given yesterday.
For actions that were in progress at a point of time in the past or at the time of another action

I was sleeping when she arrived from China.
Mina was studying around 2 am this morning.
The students were studying when the bomb exploded.
To talk about dead people

Bach created good music.
President Aquino was a woman of strength.
Graham Bell invented the telephone.

The Present Perfect

The Present Perfect Continuous

For actions that has started in the past and has a connection now. The exact time of the action is not important.

He gave me the book, but I have lost it.
The dog has broken its feet. It can’t walk very well.
For actions that has stated in the past and continues until the present time. This tense is focused on the duration of the action.

She has been waiting for the train for 30 minutes.
I have been solving this problem on calculus for hours.
To give information or announce a recent happening


The terrorists have not been captured by the international police.
The doctors have discovered a new cure for AIDS.
For actions that has been happening or has recently stopped

You look so gorgeous. Have you been going to the gym?
The field is full of snow. It has been snowing.
To talk about actions which have happened in the past at different times. It  suggests that the
process is not complete and  more actions are possible.

I have drunk six cups of coffee this evening.
Have you seen Raymond this morning? I really need to talk to him.
For actions that has been happening repeatedly over a period of time



Mike is a good pianist. He has been playing since he was 6.
I like the coffee in this shop. I have been going here since I met my boyfriend.

The present perfect shows how much, how many or how many times

I have watched that The Avengers three times.
Mitch Albom has written a lot of very good novels.
The present perfect continuous shows how long(an activity is still happening)

Mirasol has been watching movies all day.
She has been writing for her research since 3 am.


Getting familiar with these rules will surely make your writing responses better. Make your IELTS writing test better by studying grammar well.


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