Business English tense review- Upper Intermediate/ Advanced
A: Time Clauses
1. Match at least one of these time clauses with each of the sentences below.
when I joined this company
in the 1990s
the other day
during a meeting
for a year
in a fortnight’s time
a) I didn’t have a lot of experience
b) My boss uses a laptop
c) I was looking for a different job
d) I worked for my present company’s major competitor
e) I have been working on this project
f) I last made a conference call in English
g) I’m flying to Munich
h) I’ll finish this report
i) I was caught making personal phonecalls
j) I’ve had a lot in my in-tray
2. Make true sentences about yourself using each of the time clauses.
3. Read out one of your sentences without the time clause and see if the other students can guess which
time clause is true for you.
Written by Alex Case for UsingEnglish.com © 2008
B: Grammatical similarities: Aspect and voice
What are the similarities between these different forms?
1a) I can’t talk. I’m meeting a client.
1b) I was just closing the deal when my direct boss walked in and ruined everything.
1c) My plane will be landing just as yours is taking off.
2a) I’ve been in exactly this situation many times.
2b) They had already accepted a rival bid by the time we had ours ready.
2c) They will have increased sales by 50% well before the projected time.
3a) A good team is made from good individuals
3b) The computer, like so many other inventions, was invented to help us wage war
3c) Wine has been produced here since the year dot.
C: Grammatical differences
Why are different tenses used in the contrasting sentences?
1a) I work for a well-known multinational
1b) I’m working on restructuring the company
2a) What were you doing when the headhunter called?
2b) What did you do when the headhunter called?
3a) When we arrived, they introduced the main conference speakers