present tense


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:

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. may you please help me distinguish these sentences: "John dies." and "John has died"

Hello Lamastry,

The present simple describes a regular or typical event, so 'John dies' does not seem a very likely sentence!

The present perfect is used to describe an event in the past which has a result in the present, so 'John has died' is a quite plausible sentence: he died in the past and the result is that he is no longer alive now.

Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

hello sir if someone is dead and is not buried would we say he dies or we said he has died?

Hi Lamastry,

No, as Peter explained, saying that a particular person 'dies' would be very unusual. You can talk about a species, e.g. 'Mosquitos die in the winter and then hatch again in the spring', but most people only die once, not regularly or in cycles.

Best wishes,
The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you sir it is because i found this in a news paper

Hello It seems as if I am bothering you with the same question this is because i encountered this statement again in a national newspaper may you please help me figure out what is being expressed by this sentence "the famous magician dies" i understood what you told me but when i came across it let alone on a national newspaper i got confused. Does this mean the journalist has made a mistake?

Hello Lamastry,

I understand your question better now. What's confusing you here is the fact that newspaper headlines have a special style that doesn't necessarily follow normal usage. Since a headline is reporting news, the present tense is often used – and that is why they say 'dies' here. In normal speaking, the present perfect form 'has died' would probably be the most appropriate form (and certainly not 'dies'), but since headlines have little space and this kind of reduction is standard there, 'dies' is acceptable in that context.

I hope this clarifies the issue a bit more for you.

Best wishes,
The LearnEnglish Team


I would like to know the difference between these two sentences. Both are listed under present tense but what is the difference?

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.

Please explain.

Ananth Krishna.