Perfect Your Introduction: The Most Important Time Tenses
Hello and happy Confident English Wednesday!
I’m doing something new and different this week! This week I have a special guest lesson for you from a friend and fellow English teacher: Jennifer from English Outside the Box.
My goal is always to provide you with what you need the most to build your confidence and fluency in English. And this week, I’m excited to help you take another step forward.
In today’s lesson with Jennifer, you’ll learn how to perfect your English introduction with the right grammar tenses.
When you get to the end of the lesson, be sure to practice by sharing YOUR introduction in the comments section. I’ll be happy to provide feedback and to help you be ready for the next time you have the opportunity to meet someone new in English.
And now, I’ll turn it over* to Jennifer.
*turn (something) over to (someone) = to give control of something to someone else; for example, in a business meeting you can turn the discussion over to someone else, which means he/she will now lead the discussion.
Perfect your Introduction: The Most Important Time Tenses
Whether you’re learning English for personal, social, or professional reasons, you are likely to end up in a situation where you must introduce yourself and tell someone or a group of people about you. How confident are you with your English introduction? Do you get stuck on what to say after, “Hello. I’m ______.”?
If you do, you’re in luck because today’s post will help you perfect your English Introduction, helping you get closer to your goal of confident English and fluency.
In order to perfect this introduction, you have to familiarize yourself with the information you want to give, and how to express it. This is where the importance of grammar comes in, specifically the time tenses. The 12 English time tenses help you communicate more effectively because they help structure your words and give meaning. They help your listener understand when actions happened, the order of events, whether they’re finished or still happening, etc.. Accurately using the time tenses will also give your words and stories more appeal, and help you avoid sounding like a robot!
Have I convinced you about grammar’s importance yet?
Then continue with this lesson to understand more and practice the most important time tenses for your English introduction. You can begin with this week’s video lesson, and continue reading for more details, explanations, and of course, practice exercises.
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What does an introduction sound like?
In the video you heard a sample introduction from me. Remember you may not give your introduction, like I did, in one continuous monologue (you might in a job setting though); this information may be spread throughout a first conversation when meeting someone. This is why it’s important to know a bit of information about the grammar and how it’s used in order to be flexible with the information you are going to give. So let’s break down that sample introduction and look at the tenses we used.
Hi. I am Jennifer. I am the founder and English teacher at English Outside the Box. I’ve been teaching for over 9 years and have taught in Spain, Australia, Brazil, and of course where I am from and living now, the United States.
I started English Outside the Box because I wanted to connect with even more students than I was able to in the traditional classroom. I was teaching at a school in San Diego, and I just wanted to have a bigger impact. I had already been writing blog lessons for my classroom, so it was easy to make the transition to a public audience. As of today, I’ve been creating online lessons for nearly 3 years.
Next year, I am going to continue with these lessons and I think I’ll create more online courses. Maybe you’ll join me?
Oh! And when I am not working, I am spending time with my family, my cats, and traveling!
Time Tense Explanations
- Simple Present: to state facts, general true statements, and habits or routines:
EX: I am Jennifer. I am the founder. …where I am from… (the US)
- Present Continuous: to talk about actions happening now or in the extended present (around now)
EX: …where I am living now.. …(when) I am not working I am spending time…
- Simple Past: to talk about actions that started and finished in the past, with a focus on completion *They can and often have time expressions
EX: I started EOTB because I wanted to connect….than I was able to.. I just wanted to have…
- Past Continuous: to talk about actions that were in progress in the past (and are no longer happening), with a focus on duration
EX: I was teaching …
- Present Perfect: to talk about actions that started and finished in the past without a time expression (experience in an unspecified time in the past) *Or with stative/non-action verbs to show continuation from the past to the present time
EX: I have taught in..
- Present Perfect Continuous:to talk about actions that started in the past and are still continuing today
EX: I’ve been teaching for over 9 years.. I’ve been creating online lessons…
- Simple Future (WILL vs BE GOING TO)
- be going to: planned actions, actions with thought
EX: I am going to continue
- will: uncertain actions, actions without a plan or thought
EX: (I think) I’ll create more.. (Maybe) you’ll join me..
- Past Perfect/Past Perfect Progressive: connect 2 past events to show which happened first. The past perfect focuses on completion, and the progressive focuses on duration (**NOTE: not necessarily common for everyday exchanges; however, this could be important for introductions in the workplace when you need to talk about past experiences and show order of events!**)
EX: I had already been writing..
Now It’s Your Turn to Practice
Are you ready to write your sample introduction? Try to include all of the time tenses mentioned in this lesson, focusing on their specific uses. Additionally, you can use the questions below for extra guidance while creating your own.
- Simple Present:
Who are you? Where are you from? What do you do? What do you like? What are some habits/routines you have?
- Pres Continuous:
What are you doing these days (activities/interests)?
- Simple Past:
Where did you use to live or what did you use to do? Did anything interesting happen recently, relevant to your situation? (you can connect this to work experience if you’re in a job setting or hobbies/travels/interest if you’re in a social environment)
- Past Continuous:
What were you doing for work previously? Was there any activity you were doing, but stopped and why?
- Present Perfect:
What have you done/accomplished (related to work)? Where have you traveled? What experiences have you had that define you?
- Present Perfect Progressive:
Where have you been working? How long have you been doing your current activities/hobbies?
- Simple Future:
What are you going to do….the following weekend? month? year? (as it relates to the situation you’re in). What do you think you will do related to your job? Do you think you will travel/do anything interesting soon?
- Past Perfect/Past Perfect Progressive: (for jobs)
What had you been doing before you started your most recent job? Had you heard anything about your recent employer before you started?
There you have it, the most important time tenses to perfect your English introductions. With this information you should be feeling much more confident in your ability to introduce yourself, and start a conversation (or presentation).
This lesson only included 8 of the 12 time tenses though, which means there are still 4 more that you can learn and review. If you want some more information about these additional time tenses, as well as more practice for all 12, then make sure you download my time tense worksheet available right here. I created this worksheet for you to give you additional learning opportunities and practice.
Can you think of additional information that you often include in your introduction? Feel free to share what you say in the comments below! Thanks for learning with me Speak Confident English readers, happy studying!
About the Author:
Jennifer is an online English teacher, blogger, and founder of English Outside the Box. She focuses on teaching her students real English, which is language useful for day-to-day life. Check out daily tips and videos on Instagram or her weekly blog + video lessons on her website.
Thank You for Joining Me for Confident English Wednesday
Don’t forget to practice!
Use the steps Jennifer provided and share your introduction in the comments section below. I’d be happy to help you and make sure you’re ready for your next introduction in English. And don’t forget to add some new greetings to your introduction with: Greetings for Every Situation.
If you’re looking for more grammar practice, be sure to check out these lessons as well!
- How We Really Talk about the Future in English
- Conditionals in English – Part 1
- Conditionals in English – Part 2
- Conditionals in English – Part 3
As always, thank you for joining me every Wednesday! And I look forward to seeing you next week for a new Confident English lesson.