The Simple Tenses can be used to talk about situations which follow one another:
The Progressive takes us into the middle of a situation:
The Perfect is used with situations before a certain moment:
We can use the same forms with serial situations:
Similarly in the present and future:If it has been a hard day, he goes home earlier.
In narrative (e.g. a story) we normally use the past tenses:We entered the zoo and went to see the monkeys. While we were trying to find their cage, a lady came up to us and said the monkeys had been moved to a different zoo.
But we use the present tenses in jokes, anecdotes and informal spoken narrative:So I enter the shop and go straight to the till. While I'm trying to find the salesman, a boy comes up and says my car has been moved to a different place.
The present tenses are also used in sport and concert commentaries:Lineker passes the ball to Rodrigo... Rodrigo shoots! And it's a corner. They are playing more tactically.
We can use the Progressive for situations which happen at the same time:
The Past Progressive is often used in this way to describe the background to events in a story:One beautiful afternoon, Anna was playing the piano. Her cat was sleeping and the birds were singing outside. Suddenly, the doorbell rang...