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Talk About Times Expressions and Tenses Easily

Talk About Times and Tenses Easily

There are many words and phrases to indicate time. You can use these phrases and sentences to sequence events and to make stories and anecdotes more interesting.

Here is a quick overview of time expressions used with specific tenses including examples and explanations to talk about times and tenses easily.


Talk about days of the week


It’s only seven words, but learning the day of the week can be a challenge for learners.

1. Saturday

  • The party is next Saturday.

2. Sunday

  • They left town on Sunday.

3. Monday

  • I saw him on Monday.

4. Tuesday

  • Come to dinner on Tuesday.

5. Wednesday

  • A report goes before the councilors on Wednesday.

6. Thursday

  • The committee met on Thursday.

7. Friday

  • He was arrested on Friday.

When speaking about an action that is repeated every Saturday, Monday, etc., use the day of the week, add 's' and use either the present simple to speak about present routines or the past simple to discuss past habits.

Do not use with the continuous, perfect, or perfect continuous forms. 

1. Saturdays
    • The counter is closed on Saturdays and Sundays.
2. Sundays
    • They go to church on Sundays.
3. Mondays
    • The museum is closed on Mondays.
4. Tuesdays
    • The rubbish is collected on Tuesdays. 
5. Wednesdays
    • The priest makes pastoral visits on Wednesdays.
6. Thursdays
    • Shall we assign Thursdays for our weekly meetings?
7. Fridays
    • In many offices, people dress down on Fridays.

Use the present simple to speak about habits on the weekend. 'On the weekend' is also used with the future and past ​tenses to speak about the next or last weekend.

  • They often entertained their friends at weekends. American
  • The office is closed at the weekend. American
  • We asked her round for dinner on the weekend. British
  • They arranged for a concert on weekends. British

Talk about times of the day


Use the following time expressions to express things that happen during the day. These expressions can be used with the past, present, and future forms. 

1. Morning
  • It was a beautiful sunny morning.
2. In the morning
  • Peter waters the garden in the morning.
3. Noon
  • The service starts at twelve noon.
4. At noon
  • We'd like to book out at noon.
5. Afternoon
  • The boat should be operational by this afternoon.
6. In the afternoon
  • He helped me a little bit in the afternoon.
7. Evening
  • I have some work to do this evening.
8. In the evening
  • I usually bath the kids in the evening.
9. Night
  • Now I shall go to sleep. Good night.
10. At night
  • He came home very late at night.
11. Midnight
  • They had a midnight feast in their tent.
12. At midnight
  • The train is due in at midnight.

Time expressions in present simple


The most common time expressions in the present simple are: usually, always, never, on Wednesdays, every Wednesday, twice a week, once a month, in general, every other day.

Adverbs commonly used with the simple present tense are: always, usually, often, sometimes, occasionally, rarely and never. Note that the adverbs of frequency usually go before the verb.

  • I always study hard for exams.
  • Do you usually speak to him like that?
  • They sometimes play golf. 
  • She rarely smokes.
  • He often visits his grandparents.
  • He never gets angry.
  • She frequently buys detective stories.

Use 'every' with segments of time such as every day, month, year, every two months, etc.

  • She travels to Las Vegas every year.
  • Jack tries to exercise every day.
  • Ben goes to football practice every Tuesday.
  • You go to the supermarket every week? 

Times expressions in present continuous


Use "now, at the moment, right now, today, at present, presently, for the time being, currently, at the present, nowadays or this year" with the present continuous to speak about what is happening at the present moment.

  • At present my father is working abroad.
  • Car prices are getting higher nowadays /these days.
  • Charles is taking three courses this year / this term.
  • He is presently studying in Istanbul.
  • I'm working on the Smith project today.
  • Jane is doing her homework at the moment.
  • She's not waiting here at the moment.
  • The Director is currently having talks in the USA
  • Tom is watching TV now.
  • We are learning English now.
  • We're using my old computer for the time being.
  • We're watching TV right now.

Times expressions in past time


We use expressions like "yesterday, last, ago, etc." are used to say when something happened in the past.


1. Ago: We use time reference + ago to show how far back in the past something happened. 

  • My son was born six months ago.
  • Her husband died ten years  ago.
  • I took that photo many years ago.

2. Last: We use last + time reference to mean the most recent or nearest to the present day time. We say "last night, last month, last year, etc." NOT "the last night, the last month, the last year, etc."

  • Michael arrived in Mexico last January.
  • Last Christmas I got a lot of presents.
  • My girlfriend and I met at the beach last summer. 

3. Yesterday: We use "yesterday, yesterday + morning, afternoon or evening" to talk about the day before today. We use "last night" NOT" yesterday night."

We also use the expression "the day before yesterday" to mean "two days ago".

  • Charles wore a suit to work yesterday.
  • We got up early yesterday morning.
  • She left the hospital yesterday afternoon.

4. In: We use in with years, decades, and centuries.

  • Nelson Madela died in 2013.
  • Mario Vargas Llosa won the Nobel Prize of Literature in 2010.
  • Mike Zuckerberg started Facebook in 2004.

5. On: We use on with specific dates.

  • Martin Luther King was born on January 15.
  • Martin Luther King was born on January 15, 1929.
  • On my last birthday I had the best party ever.

6. At: We use at with times.

  • We had breakfast at 9:00 a.m.
  • We went for a walk at noon.
  • We talked about the problem at lunchtime.

7. When:  Use "when" with a past time clause.

  • I played tennis every day when I was a teenager.
  • He had just drifted off to sleep when the phone rang.
  • I loved math when I was in school.

Times expressions in future time


In this Spoken English lesson you will some common future time expressions, to speak in English about what would you do or happens in the future. There are several time expressions used to talk about the future. Always remember time expressions usually go at the beginning or at the end of a sentence.

Below are the common future time expressions with examples:

1. Tomorrow: The day after today.

  • This is what I want you to do tomorrow morning.

2. A long way off: It's far away.

  • We saw a house a long way off.

3. Any day now: Very soon.

  • We'll get them back any day now.

4. At some point in the future: From now on.

  • It will be delivered at some point in the future.

5. Before long: Soon.

  • The painters ought to be done before long.

6. Going forward: In the future – used especially in business.

  • Going forward, we will increase our focus on customer service.

7. In a year: Within a year.

  • Sam is going to graduate in a year.

8. In ten years' time: At the end of 10 years.

  • Liz wants to collect 100 stamps in 10 years time.

9. In the long term: Something that is long-term has continued for a long time or will continue for a long time in the future. 

  • In the long term, our efforts will pay off.

10. In the near future: Very soon.

  • I will need a new new washing in the near future.

11. In the next few years: If you say that something will happen in the near future, you mean that it will happen quite soon. 

  • The controversy regarding vitamin C is unlikely to be resolved in the near future.

12. In the short term: In the near future.

  • In the short term some sacrifices may be made.

13. In years/days to come: In the future.

  • In years to come, some of the practices we take for granted now will seem quite barbaric.

14. Just around the corner: Something will happen very soon.

  • The Chancellor of the Exchequer says that economic recovery is just around the corner.

15. Later: At a time in the future or after the time you have mentioned.

  • I will talk to you later.

16. Next week: The week that's coming up.

  • Adam will start his swimming class next week.

17. On Monday / In August / In 2019

  • I will visit the doctor on Monday.

18. Shortly: In a short time; soon.

  • The new database will shortly be available for consultation.

19. Soon: In or after a short time.

  • I will see you soon.

20. The day after tomorrow

  • My mom will visit me the day after tomorrow.

21. This morning

  • I ran all the way to the station this morning.

22. Within weeks: When there is no presumption of what the time frame would be.

  • He was bitten by a snake and within weeks he died.


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