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...



Dear Sir,
Which of the following sentences is correct?

We have been living in Alberta since my father was transferred here.

1.We have been living in Alberta since my father was transferred here.

2.We have lived in Alberta since my father was transferred here.

the last question in quiz "anything the matter?" i have read a lot of such "i was at meeting the target" i just cant get these questions
P.S. how much questions we ask, it's our right to get answered
so please need some satisfactory reply British team :)

Hello omi20,

The question 'Anything the matter?' is really the question 'Is anything the matter?'. The auxiliary verb 'do/does' and the verb 'be' are often omitted from the beginning of sentences in colloquial English. Strictly speaking, it's not correct, but this is the way many people speak.

I don't understand your second question - could you please rephrase it?

You can ask up to one question per day if you like, but we might not always be able to answer them - we have a lot of other work each day in addition to the dozens of questions we typically get.

Best wishes,
The LearnEnglish Team

hi British council team,
congrats on your super hard work and sincere efforts towards your web followers :)
can u please explain the difference btw these two sentences
1. you will be tired out after you have been working all night
2. you will be tired out after you have worked all night
P.S. check out these sentences whether grammatically right or wrong
2nd question: is that necessary that perfect continuous tenses be used with "for" n "since" or any time or period reference...that we read in our school tenses books and now things are bit changed

Hello omi20,

Thanks for your nice comment! Both of the sentences are grammatically correct, though 'You will be tired out after working all night' would be probably be more commonly said. The sentence with the continuous form emphasises the action of working at this time a bit more than the other, but there's really no difference between them in terms of meaning.

It's not absolutely necessary to use a time reference in a sentence with the present perfect continuous, though it is quite common. By the way, you might want to take a look at our Present Perfect Simple and Present Perfect Continuous page.

I hope this helps.

Best wishes,
The LearnEnglish Team

tyvm kirk
and yes..that's quite helpful :)
i have other question too
1. take me up the mountain
2. take me up to the mountain

1.why the U.S. can't beat an army the size of a junior college
2.why the U.S. can't beat an army of the size of a junior college
I want to know whether all of these sentences are grammatically true
P.S. i once read a sentence in an authentic magazine as "she was scared the cat"
please elaborate these kinda sentences or any link in here to explain them
Are they formal kinda sentences, i mean if its right to write them as a student?:)
would be thankful for your guidance :)

Hello omi20,

I've already answered these questions on another page. Please don't post your questions more than once, and please know that it can take us several days to answer.

Best wishes,
The LearnEnglish Team

apologies for that...but truly u guys are very efficient in solving learners problems..splendid work..hats off :)

well, u said chose the word order that suits u..but it's like i wanna learn this pattern :)
waiting for positive response :)

Hi omi20,

We're a very small team that gets dozens of queries every day and that has a lot of other work. We do our best to answer users' questions, but since our priority is to help people use LearnEnglish, we normally can't explain topics that are not explained here. That's why I suggested you do some searching. Even if you don't find that exact pattern, by reading about word order in general - and just by reading a lot in English - I'm sure you can learn more about this and other patterns.

Good luck!

Best wishes,
The LearnEnglish Team