There are two tenses in English – past and present.

The present tenses in English are used:

  • to talk about the present
  • to talk about the future
  • to talk about the past when we are telling a story in spoken English or when we are summarising a book, film, play etc.

There are four present tense forms in English:

Present simple: I work
Present continuous: I am working
Present perfect: I have worked
Present perfect continuous: I have been working

We use these forms:

  • to talk about the present:

He works at McDonald’s. He has worked there for three months now.
He is working at McDonald’s. He has been working there for three months now.
London is the capital of Britain.

  • to talk about the future:

The next train leaves this evening at 1700 hours.
I’ll phone you when I get home.
He’s meeting Peter in town this afternoon.
I’ll come home as soon as I have finished work.
You will be tired out after you have been working all night.

  • We can use the present tenses to talk about the past...




Is London the capital of Britain and England or only England? Thank you.

Hello Roberto 2015,

The state of which London is the capital is the United Kingdom. Within the UK is made up of several parts, which have their own capitals:

England - London

Scotland - Edinburgh

Wales - Cardiff

Northern Ireland - Belfast

'Great Britain' is a geographical term. It describes the largest island (and the small islands off its coast) of the British Isles and therefore includes England, Scotland and Wales.

'Britain' comes from the name the Romans used for the territory they conquered. It included England and Wales, but not Scotland. However, this entity has not existed for thousands of years and nowadays 'Britain' and 'Great Britain' are synonymous.

To make matters confusing, both 'Britain' and 'Great Britain' have been used in the past formally, even by the UK government, to mean 'the United Kingdom'. This is rarely the case today, however.

I hope that helps to clarify it for you. It is a confusing area! This page may help you as well.

Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you Peter M.

Hi LearnEnglishTeam,

I have a narrow gap in understanding and usage of auxiliary verb and main verb,

that is ,

Can i use a sentence in these two ways,
One way,
'I +did learn +that',and the another 'i did+...with a little time-gap.... +learn that,

What makes difference here,Please help me with this...


Best Regards,

Hi Nandishchandra,

Where you pause in this sentence is not related to the grammar structure, but to the rhythm of the whole sentence and its particular meaning. You can use pauses to emphasise parts of the sentence, for example. This is not related to the relationship between the auxiliary and main verb.

Note that you are using 'did' as an auxiliary verb in an affirmative sentence here. That is possible, but unusual. We do it when we wish to add emphasis to the sentence, such as when we think that the listener does not believe us, or when we have been contradicted.

Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Hi LearnEnglishTeam,

I have a doubt on verb 'am' in this sentence.

when i say, 'i am not sure about it'?,

will i mean, i am + not sure or i +am not+sure?

Please give a clarity to this,


Best Regards,


Hello Nandishchandra,

I'm afraid I don't understand your question at all. I do not see the different between the two options here.

Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team


Hello teacher
please I have a question.
In those two sentences: Sally has been working here since April. and, I haven't seen Tom since Monday.
Why in the 2nd sentence we don't use the present perfect continuous ? what's the differences between the both sentences?

Thank you