Level: intermediate

There are two tenses in English: past and present.

The present tense is used to talk about the present and to talk about the future.

There are four present tense forms:

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

We can use all these forms:

  • to talk about the present:;

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

  • to talk about the future:

The next train leaves at this evening at 1700 hours.
I’ll phone you when I get home.
He is 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.

Present tense 1
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Present tense 2
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Level: advanced

We can use present forms to talk about the past:

  • when we are telling a story:

Well, it’s a lovely day and I’m just walking down the street when I see this funny guy walking towards me. Obviously he’s been drinking, because he’s moving from side to side …

  • when we are summarising something we have read, heard or seen:

I love Ian Rankin’s novels. He writes about this detective called Rebus. Rebus lives in Edinburgh and he’s a brilliant detective, but he’s always getting into trouble. In one book, he gets suspended and they tell him to stop working on this case. But he takes no notice …

Present tense 3
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Present tense 4
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Intermediate level

Comments

Are there any faults in this sentence "I live just outside town." or is it correct?
I just thought it should be "...outside of town." and was wondering about it.
Thanks!

Hi A. F.,

Both versions are correct, though I suppose the version with 'of' is more complete. The word 'of' is often left out here, especially in informal speaking or writing.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Dear Peter M
Thanks for your prompt response and I clearly understood it now.
Thanks

Hi Sir
Can you please explain the sentence I came across in a letter - This letter is confirmation as to the authenticity of Mr Ravi's payslips. As confirmation is a noun it should take 'the' or the sentence should be ' this letter is confirming as to. Am I right? thanks

Hi seelan65,

There are several possiblities. It is fine to use 'confirmation' without an article here as it is an uncountable noun used in a non-specific way. You could also say the following:

This letter is to confirm the authenticity...

This letter provides confirmation of the authenticity...

 

We would not say 'This letter is confirming as to...', I'm afraid.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

This is the headline in newspaper :

No more Vijay Mallya or Nirav Modi-like fugitives! Bill that deter economic offenders to flee India gets President’s nod

Should it not be deters rather than deter as bill is a singular noun.
And in my above comment should there be comma before 'as' , and in this sentence should there be comma after ' And in my above comment.

Hello dipakrgandhi,

Yes, the verb should be 'deters' to agree with the singular subject.

We generally avoid commenting on examples from elsewhere like this. It's rather unfair on the original authors to comment without their having any opportunity to respond, and we also do not know the context in which the language is used.


Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

OK! Thank you!

Hello Sir
When we are talking about something regarding time we use present perfect and past perfect mostly. But can we use past continuos,too. e.g. How long were they waiting for?
They were waiting for an hour. Can't we say : How long had they been waiting for? They had been waiting for an hour. How long have they been waiting for? They have been waiting for an hour. But not 'how long are they waiting for?' They are waiting for an hour.
I think those are wrong. I am I correct? What I want to ask you is: can we use other tenses when we talk about time or only perfect tenses with since or for
Thak you.
Regards
Lal

Hi Lal,

'time' is a very broad concept; I think you must mean something more specific but I'm not sure what. In any case, all of the sentences you wrote could be correct in certain contexts.

The last one ('How long are the waiting for?') is probably the most unusual one, but if you were speaking about a future arrangement, for example, it would be correct. 'for' speaks of a 'length' of time, i.e. duration, and 'since' indicates a duration from a point of time in the past towards the present.

I hope this helps.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

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