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...




Hello. I don't understand this sentence " But if it be only a slight, thin sort of inclination, I am convinced that one good sonnet will starve it entirely away." why the author useed " if it be only.... and not "if it is only...."

Hello inaka,

This is rather old English and is not the way we speak today. It actually is a quote from Jane Austen.

The reason 'be' is used here is because the subjunctive form used to be normal in if-clauses. We can still see this in the constuction 'if he were...', where 'were' is the past subjunctive form. However, 'be' is no longer used in this way in modern English and we would now say 'if it is only...'


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you very much.

Sir,he is a wizard, which type of present tense is this.

Hello Louis,

This is an example of the present simple, with verb be.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

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