Time markers in English

Time markers in English

Temporal indicators play an important role in the English sentence. Most often, they help determine the time when translating, or choose the correct verb form when testing. Temporal markers, indicators of time, adverbs of frequency - all this is almost the same, but with some nuances, as always. 

Learning the construction schemes of all times and thinking that this is enough for you is a clear delusion. Often mistakes appear precisely in the practice of using a particular tense. This is where temporary markers are needed, which will greatly help and prompt. Time markers in English are special words that show the frequency or time of an action, as well as its duration. 


The use of marker words 

In English, time markers are most often placed at the beginning or end of a sentence. Just like tense adverbs, they cannot be placed in the middle of a sentence. The words markers exist in almost every time, and each time has its own. 

So, let's take a closer look at the existing marker words and their use in tenses. 


The present simple has the most of them, and it is there that adverbs of frequency are used, since in this tense we most often talk about habits. 

  • Always 
  • Usually 
  • Often 
  • Sometimes 
  • Rarely 
  • Seldom 
  • Never 
  • Every day/week/month/year 


In the present continuous, everything is a little simpler. Here we will use now, at the moment, and still. Temporal markers show that the action is not completed, is in the process of being completed and is happening at the moment of speech. 


The present perfect has a more complex relationship with marker words, since some of them can be used in other tenses. So, for the time present perfect are used: 

  • Never 
  • Just 
  • Already 
  • Yet 
  • Lately 
  • Recently 
  • For 


The present perfect continuous, like all other types of the perfect continuous group, are used with words indicating the duration of the action, to what or until what moment it will be completed, or since when: 

  • all day 
  • all day long* 
  • by 
  • by the time 
  • before 
  • since 
  • since yesterday 
  • for 


The simple past will be defined by words such as: 

  • Yesterday 
  • The day before yesterday 
  • Last week/month/year 
  • ago 
  • The other day 


In a simple future, everything is also quite easy. The action will be taken and we know when: 

  • Tomorrow 
  • Next 
  • In 
  • One of these days 


In the group of continuous tenses, namely the past and the future, the words markers will also show the duration of the action: 

  • All the time 
  • All night 
  • All day long 


The perfect past and future tenses mean that the action has been or will be completed by a certain moment, and are used with the preposition by, and before


At first glance, it may seem that all this great variety will be very difficult to remember, not to mention trying to put into practice, but this is not so. Temporary markers will make your life much easier if you are not afraid to use them. Knowing the words of the markers will significantly reduce the time for passing tests in English tenses, and will also help to correctly and more fully express the event, adding details in the form of frequency or duration to the story.