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,

I would like to thank you all for this wonderful website and responding to all the questions promptly by explaining the rationale - I really appreciate.

Could you please let me know which of the following sentence is grammatically correct or both of them are correct?

1. Could you please let me know if the property is available for renting?

2. Could you please let me know if the property is available to rent?

Kind Regards,
Sujit

Hello Sujit,

1 sounds a bit unnatural to me; I'd definitely use 2 over 1, or perhaps 'for rent'. By the way, please consult the dictionary for this kind of thing – you can often find the answers there. 

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Dear Sir
Please tell me whether these sentences are correct or not.
1. She has lived there for ten years.
2. She has been living there for ten years.
If both are correct, the meanings are the same or different.
1. It has rained for two hours.
2. It has been raining for two hours.
Do they mean the same or different ? If not the same what is the
difference?
Rigards
Andrew international

Hello Andrew international,

I already responded to a similar question of yours on another page – please refer to my suggestions there.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello,

Could you please let me know whether it is correct to use present and past form of the verb in one sentence? For instance, the following sentence:

I was wondering whether it is possible to get a letter that states that the company will sponsor my visa.

Hello Sujit Korade,

Provided there is no logical reason against it (e.g. as a result must be after a cause) then there is no problem with using different tenses in one sentence. Your sentence is fine, for example: was wondering (before writing)... is possible (at the moment)... states (a general truth about the letter)... will sponsor (in the future).

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello, I have a quick questions about the use of present and past tense.
Which one of the following is correct?
1) Enjoy the offer if "book" by July
2) ENjoy the offer if "booked" by July

My gut feeling tells me I should use the first one. However, my British manager says the second one is the right one. Please help!

Hello Kris Chan,

The context is important in terms of whether the second sentence is approprite or not but I would agree with your manager that the first sentence is not correct. The second sentence is an example of ellipsis - omitting certain words in the sentence. The full sentence would be:

Enjoy the offer if you have (are) booked by July.

Where ellipsis is appropriate is more a question of convention than grammar and it is not normal to use ellipsis in the way that it is in the first sentence.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Thanks Peter. Now I see why we have to use "booked".

And also I want to get reported when my comments are answered.

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