Learn English Grammar – Real Life Examples


The best way to learn tenses, is to see them used in their real life contexts. Here below I’ve written out sentences that are true for me, how I would normally speak. I’ve included the most commonly used tenses.

Simple & Continuous Tenses

In the Present Simple I talk about facts of my life, they are general facts about routine and habit.

In the Past Simple I talk about facts clearly stated in the past : ie. yesterday – agreed, had, met

In the Future Simple I talk about facts with regard to the future.

In the Present Perfect Simple / Continuous I talk about past events coming up to and continuing in the present, ie. just, for about 10 minutes.

In the Present Continuous I talk about events happening now.

  • Present Simple. “I drink coffee, usually in the morning, after I get up; then rarely, but from time to time over dinner in the evening. But generally not, because it disturbs my sleep.”
  • Past Simple. “I met Christoph for coffee yesterday, we had a chat, and agreed to meet again the following week.”
  • Future Simple. “I will meet him next week on Saturday.”
  • “I’m going to meet him next week on Saturday.”
  • “I’ll be meeting him next week on Saturday.”
  • “I’m going to be meeting him next week on Saturday.”
  • Present Perfect Simple & Continuous. “I have just had lunch, and I’ve been writing this article for about 10 minutes.”
  • Present Continuous. “I’m sitting here writing this text on a cold wintry day in January.”
  • Past Continuous. “I was thinking about going out today, but it’s too cold and wet.”


  • “If I had known it was going to be so cold, I would have canceled our appointment for a walk on the hills.”
  • “If I was you, I’d stay home, and read a book.”
  • “But if I stay at home all day, I know I’ll get a bit crazy.”

Can you see the three conditional forms here? Can you see how they are formed? Let’s do another theme, and see if you can follow the rules:

  • “If I had known the coffee was so bad, I wouldn’t have bought it. I should have paid a little more, and got something nicer.”
  • “I’d be happier if they made the coffee a little stronger.”
  • “If they don’t improve the service here, I won’t come again.”

I’ve mixed up the sentences here, so try to see if you can still follow the logic of the grammar. You can find many grammar explanations online. However, I feel it’s better if you do your own research. Find some examples online and put them into categories: first conditional, second conditional, third conditional.


Why was the coffee so bad, we may ask? We don’t know exactly, but we can speculate. ‘Should have,’ we use for advice and suggestion, ‘can’t have,’ we use to explain a sure negative. ‘Must have,’ expresses a sure positive, while ‘ought to have,’ expresses a serious suggestion, stronger than should. ‘May have,’ is a more speculative, unsure statement.

  • “The cheapskates – They should have put more coffee in!”
  • “It can’t have been easy setting up a new coffee bar in the city, there are hundreds.”
  • “They must have spent a fortune on the furniture, it looks fantastic.”
  • “I can’t be sure, but I think they may have got the money from the government.”
  • “They ought to have put a sign out in front of the shop, nobody knows there’s a café inside.”

As before, go on the internet or look in a book and do some research. Find some examples of how these forms are used. Be creative, think of how you could formulate sentences for the following situations:

A business is going bust

A husband has left his wife and family

A company was floated on the stock exchange, but has since lost a lot of value.

Make a note under the different headings and keep on looking at the examples and returning to them until you’ve mastered it. Good luck!


What I like about drinking coffee in the morning. I’m going to list the things below. Take something you like doing at the weekend, and make a list:

  • Sitting in the dark before dawn, drinking coffee
  • Drinking coffee and thinking about my day
  • Drinking coffee before going back to bed

Now think about what you like doping at the end of the day, and write that down. If you do this every day, it’s good for your notes and good training to think in the English language.

  • Getting into bed when it’s cold outside
  • Thinking about the day I’ve had
  • Reading my book that I’m reading at the moment

As you can see if you copy the tenses exactly, you can also learn something here about the tenses, that we looked at in the beginning.


EF : English Tenses Examples

Englisch Lernen Durch Konversation


Herzlich willkommen auf meiner Seite. Mein Name ist Richard Cooper ich bin Englischlehrer im Bereich Erwachsenenbildung in der Region Basel, Rheinfelden und Zürich. Ich bin in London geboren und lebe seit 2003 in der Schweiz. Der Kern meiner Arbeit ist die Konversation. Dazu kommt der anwendbare Wortschatz, Grammatik und Study Hilfe (Tricks n’ Tips). Mein Angebot umfasst folgende Leistungen und Ansätze:

Continue reading “Englisch Lernen Durch Konversation”

rjcfraser – Business English Colloquium

What is a Business English Colloquium?

There are many methods for teaching English as a foreign language. Perhaps the oldest method for teaching and  learning anything is the Socratic method of question and answer dialogue. This is essentially what a colloquium is. It differs from a lecture, and it shouldn’t be in Greek. A Business English Colloquium is not teacher dominated, but led by students in dialogue with the teacher. Students take an active part in their own learning. The dialogue occurs between the teacher and students and the students with each other. This requires the most active engagement from the students, and a teacher who knows how to facilitate the process.

Continue reading “rjcfraser – Business English Colloquium”

Bec Vantage Units 4-7

Ultimate Bec Vantage Vocabulary List.


Ok, once again these are the key words and expressions I think you need to get an A or B in the test

– because who wants a C! yawn!

As before when making notes get example sentences from business articles on Google.

Simply type ‘business’ before the word such as ‘make a good impression’ and you’ll get a series of good articles. Copy and paste to a document to create a good record of your studies and research.


Unit 4 Making Contact

How do you make a good impression? Why should you carry out research before you make contact? – check availability- dress formally – body language and attitude.



Unit 5 Breaking into the Market

– pricing strategy – affordable or over-priced – top end or mass market – upmarket or downmarket – Who does the product appeal to ? Who are the main competitors? What is publicity PR and the importance of viral videos? What’s the difference between print ads and social media? target audiences – market segment.

Continue reading “Bec Vantage Units 4-7”

English Coaching For Your Job

rjcfraser – Business English Colloquium

Coaching has become a catch-all term for helping to reach certain goals, be it professional or in sports: practical techniques for improving performance. So how does coaching relate to learning English?

Psychodynamics & Team Management

If you are running a team we must often be aware of different views and perceptions of those people we have to manage. As a leader, we must develop our emotional intelligence to deal effectively with the teams we manage and work within. Sometimes we don’t have the time to think about the needs and goals of those around us every day. When we do think about them, we can come to surprising insights into how teams function. Are we challenging those around us? Do they trust us? Do they fear us? How can we find our sovereignty in stressful situations? Imagination is an important skill to develop to look at issues in their complexity. By using metaphor we can build varied pictures of how to understand an issue or problem.

Continue reading “English Coaching For Your Job”

Learning English Speaking

Well, of course first you have to actually speak it. But there are lots of opportunities for that.

I’m going to talk about a more hidden method for higher level improvement. These are  ‘secret’ methods that if you get them right, move your English along much quicker.

I’ll outline them below.

Backstory : 

I was having coffee with another student on my German course. In the coffee break we got chatting. 

I asked her where she was from, and she said Holland. I was surprised because I would have said England. 

Her accent was perfect.

Continue reading “Learning English Speaking”