An Integrative Approach to Teaching Continuous and Perfect Tenses in English

  • Antoanela Marta Mardar “Dunarea de Jos” University of Galati, Romania
Keywords: Aspect, duration, progress, temporariness, result


The appropriate use of tenses in English is agreed to be one of the most problematic aspects with which Romanian speakers of English have to cope when trying to communicate correctly and effectively in this language. Some problems are related to formal aspects, i.e. to aspects which imply combining the grammatically correct forms of the elements making up tenses in English (auxiliary and main verbs). Nevertheless, not few are the problems related to semantic and stylistic aspects, i.e. to aspects which condition tense choices depending on the types of actions to be expressed and on the speakers’ need to stylistically mark the messages conveyed (modality).

When teaching tenses in the continuous and perfect aspects in English, the two types of problems mentioned above may be avoided if the formal and semantic matrixes specific to these tenses are used.  Some might argue that young and teenage learners of English are likely find such formal and semantic matrixes rather abstract and might be unable to further apply them in similar contexts. Nonetheless, the present paper will demonstrate that a gradual and adapted approach to the formal and semantic aspects obviously shared by the continuous and perfect tenses in English may prove useful and effective, irrespective of the students’ age and level of linguistic competence. Once understood and extensively practised, the two matrixes need to be appropriately evaluated in order to ensure long-term results.


[1] Celce-Murcia M, Larsen-Freeman D. The Grammar Book. An ESL/EFL Teacher’s Course. USA: Heinle and Heinle; 1999.
[2] Croitoru E. Modals. Tenses. Aspect. Galati: “Dunarea de Jos” University of Galati Foundation; 2002.
[3] Croitoru E. Mood and Modality. Iasi: Institutul European; 2002.
[4] Lewis M.The English Verb. An Exploration of Structure and Meaning. UK: Thomson Heinle; 2002.
[5] MardarAM.On the Practicality of Using Formal and Semantic Matrixes in Teaching English Tenses. LTRQ.2018; (6): 31-39.
[6] Mardar AM. A Comparative - Contrastive Approach to Auxiliary Verbs in English, Romanian and Italian. “Dunărea de Jos”University of Galati Annals, Fascicle XXIV General Lexis/ Specialized Lexis. Cluj-Napoca: Casa Cărţii de Ştiinţă 2018; year XI. No. 1-2 (19-20): 156-164.
[7] Mardar AM. On the Usefulness of Using Formal and Semantic Similarities in Teaching English and Italian Hypothetical Constructions.The Annals of “Ovidius” University of Constanta: Philology Series. 2019. 30(1): 115-126.
[8] Mardar I. Exploring the Matrix of the English Tenses in Classroom in TranslationStudies: Retrospective and Prospective Views Galati: Galati University Press; 2008. pp. 174-184.
How to Cite
Mardar, A. M. (2020). An Integrative Approach to Teaching Continuous and Perfect Tenses in English. LUMEN Proceedings, 12, 199-208.