We use the timeline to explain some important grammar concepts about the past, present and future. We can show all the tenses in English on the timeline, such as the Present Simple and Continuous, the Past Simple and Continuous, the Present Perfect, Past Perfect and Future tenses. (These will all appear in future posts and videos on this site.)
Make friends with the Timeline! Watch our video here…
We can think of time as a horizontal line going from left to right:
The centre point of this line is NOW. Now is in the present:
Everything to the left of the present is in the past – before NOW:
Everything to the right of the present is the future – after NOW:
We can expand the diagram to fill the screen. The past goes back to the beginning of time; the future is infinite. We are always in the present, gradually moving along the line…
Become familiar with the timeline: it’s the easiest way of visualising the differences in use and meaning between all the English tenses.
You can see the timeline in action in our new videos featuring the Past Simple and the Present Perfect.
© Robert Dennis, Big Business English, 2018