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...

Exercise

Section: 

Comments

Hello,
Which is more appropriate to say;
1. Our school teachers teach well or Our school teachers are teaching well.
2. He forgot all his past bitter experience OR He has forgotten all his past bitter experience OR He had forgotten all his past bitter experience

Hello english.success,

I'm afraid there's no way for us to answer thess questions, as it all really depends on what you want to say and what the context is. If you want to provide us with a bit more information, we can help you, but first you should read through the different pages here on the different tenses first to get a general sense of how they are used.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Kirk,

This is in reference to the 2nd sentence of your above reply in which you wrote " ....... , but you should read through the different pages here ............" My question is if the verb "read" alone expresses the same meaning as "read through" does, why do you add the preposition "through" after it ? Quite similar is the case in which I've seen people saying " We loaded up the truck and drove off' while the verb "load" alone would mean the same as "load up" does.

Thanking you.

Hello prapsahu,

The forms you ask about ('read through', 'load up' and also 'drive off') are all phrasal verbs, which you can see in the dictionary entries if you follow the links for each word. Adding a particle to a verb, such as 'through' to 'read', sometimes makes the phrasal verb have a radically different meaning than the original verb, but sometimes it adds a bit of meaning to the same basic idea. This is the case with the three that you ask about, as you can see in the dictionary definitions.

I'd encourage you to read our phrasal verbs page to learn a bit more. The dictionary will also be useful for you – be sure it's a good one – and there are some Phrasal verb videos on LearnEnglish Teens that you might also find useful.

Read up on phrasal verbs and don't give up!

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hi

Just wondering whether sentences below have any differences in meaning and grammar?

I'm going to chat with him in just a moment.
I'm going to be chatting with him in just a moment.

Thanks.

Regards
Hugo

more confused with this examples! :(

Hello Hugo,

'going to be chatting' has a similar meaning to the future continuous form 'will be chatting', which you can read about on our Future continuous and Future perfect page. Both sentences are general predictions or plans, but the second one calls attention to the event of chatting being in progress. In some contexts, this difference wouldn't really make a difference in meaning, but in others it could be significant.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hi Kirk,

Thanks for the explanation. Just a point to draw. Would the second sentence imply more of the meaning that "the chat is significant and please don't disturb me?" than the first one or just the as same?

Thanks.

Regards
Hugo

Hi Hugong,

It could have that implication, yes. However, the context and the tone of voice in which it is said are much more important in determining how the sentence would be understood.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

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