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:

Tense Form
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...




Sir,it my pleasure to joint u people here so as to improve my English

Can you please tell me all the tenses forms like simple past
s + v1

Hello Nathanial,

All the different verb tenses are explained in this Verbs section of our English Grammar. 

Best regards,
The LearnEnglish Team

Dear The Learn English Team,
i joined here few days ago.i'm not good in english. first of all English is not my mother tongue .I've many problems one of the major problem is that i don't know the uses of tenses in sentence properly and what should i do for this??specially i cant understand the the difference between present perfect tense and past perfect tense and i want to be fluent in can i start????please help me out.
Thank you.

Hello Muhammad Abdul Mukit,

Welcome to LearnEnglish! FIrst of all, I suggest you visit our Help pages and work through the links there, including a visit to our Frequently Asked Questions page, where you'll find tips and advice on learning effectively.

As far as tenses go, you are in one of our grammar sections so you are in the right place. You'll find pages on the present perfect and the past perfect here but remember that it takes time to assimilate the information, so be patient with yourself!

You might also want to take a look at our other grammar section, Quick Grammar. It has some pages on perfect forms which I think will be helpful to you.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Dear Peter M,
this exercise below :
So I say to him, 'What's your game, son?'

Why it is Past tense? why not present tense?

best regards,

Hello Mohannad79.

Although it is hard to be sure without a clear context, this appears to be an example of this use of present forms:

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

The speaker is telling a story or an anecdote in an informal style, and so uses 'I say to him' (present) instead of 'I said to him' (past). Both would be acceptable, but the present form is common in such anecdotes.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

i have a question that when i saw a sentence how can i recognise the tense i am just really confused recognising the sentence.Can you tell me a simple way to easily write a sentence.

plz help

Thank you

Hello Isra,

Recognising and naming a tense is much less important than knowing what a given form means - the terminology is not necessary to use the language. To recognise the various verb forms in English you need to identify the component parts - the main verb and the auxiliary verbs, if there are any.

There is no magic pill to help with this, I am afraid! You can look at the Verbs section in our Grammar reference and work through the various verb forms, however.

As far as how to write a sentence goes, you have written several in your comment! How to write a setence depends on the sentence you wish to write - there is no general rule.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Hello, I have a question:
when you need to write is and when do and why?