The present tense is the base form of the verb: I work in London.
But the third person (she/he/it) adds an -s: She works in London.

Use

We use the present tense to talk about:

  • something that is true in the present:

I’m nineteen years old.
He lives in London.
I’m a student.

  • something that happens again and again in the present:

I play football every weekend.

We use words like sometimes, often. always, and never (adverbs of frequency) with the present tense:

I sometimes go to the cinema.
She never plays football.

  • something that is always true:

The adult human body contains 206 bones.
Light travels at almost 300,000 kilometres per second.

  

  • something that is fixed in the future.

The school term starts next week.
The train leaves at 1945 this evening.
We fly to Paris next week.

 

Questions and negatives

Look at these questions:

Do you play the piano?
Where do you live?
Does Jack play football?
Where does he come from?
Do Rita and Angela live in Manchester?
Where do they work?

  • With the present tense, we use do and does to make questions. We use does for the third person (she/he/it) and we use do for the others.

 

 We use do and does with question words like where, what and why:

 

 But look at these questions with who:

Who lives in London?
Who plays football at the weekend?
Who works at Liverpool City Hospital?

Look at these sentences:

I like tennis, but I don’t like football. (don’t = do not)
I don’t live in London now.
I don’t play the piano, but I play the guitar.
They don’t work at the weekend.
John doesn’t live in Manchester. (doesn’t = does not)
Angela doesn’t drive to work. She goes by bus.

  • With the present tense we use do and does to make negatives. We use does not (doesn’t) for the third person (she/he/it) and we use do not (don’t) for the others.

Complete these sentences with don’t or doesn’t:

Exercise

Section: 

Comments

hello sir/madam
please tell me which sentence is right and why?
can you tell me why did you not speak the truth? or
can you tell me why did you not speak the truth?

Hello sharmaswati,

I think you that made a mistake in your post - the two alternatives are the same!

However, I think I can guess what you meant. You have here an example of an indirect question. The direct question would be Why did you not speak the truth? 

However, when the question is indirect we do not use question word order and so when the question is inside a request (Can you tell me...) we use regular word order. Therefore the correct answer is

Can you tell me why you did not speak the truth?

As an aside, while it is possible to say 'speak the truth' the more common form is 'tell the truth'.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

What about 'Future tense' ? I am confused here it says there are only two tenses. Past and Present.

Hello LynnWang,

A tense is a form of the verb which refers to time, and English has only two of these: the past (looked, was, saw) and what is usually called the present (look/looks, was/were, see/sees). In some analyses instead of present the term 'non-past' is used, to reflect the wide range of meanings possible.

What is sometimes called the future tense is in fact not a tense at all. 'Will' is not a verb tense but a modal verb, similar to 'should', 'must', 'can' and so on - all of which can refer to future time. Other forms used to talk about the future are also not future tenses: we use present continuous, present simple, 'going to' and others.

In other words, English has tenses for past time and present time, and has a range of options for describing future time, but no future tense.

For more information about talking about the future in English see this page.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello there,

Please can you tell me which of the following sentence is correct? Or both of them are correct:

I am on holiday next week

I will be on holiday next week

As it will happen in the future, I think the second sentence is correct, but sometimes I notice that people say 'I am on holiday next week.' Please help!

Further, If I want to ask someone if they will have their lunch in kitchen. Should I say 'Are you lunching in the kitchen? or 'will you be lunching in the kitchen?

Kind Regards,
SK

Hello SK,

Yes, all of those sentences are correct. Our talking about the future page discusses how different forms are used to speak about the future in different ways. 

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Dear sir,
I'm not sure I understand something. You are using the adverb always both with simple present and present continuous:
I play football every weekend.

We use words like sometimes, often. always, and never (adverbs of frequency) with the present tense:

And on the next page there are these examples:

for something which happens again and again:
It’s always raining in London.
They are always arguing.
George is great. He’s always laughing.

I don't understand the difference
Thanks in advance

Hello Selenia,

It's great that you noticed this! Adverbs of frequency are most often used with verbs in the present simple, as they describe things that happen regularly, i.e. with a certain frequency.

The adverb of frequency 'always' (only 'always', not so much the others) can also be used with the present continuous to talk about things that happen again and again. It can also sometimes communicate a sense that it is too much. For example, if I say 'It's always raining!', it can mean I think it's raining too much. Note that 'always' + present continuous does not always communicate the idea of 'too much' – for example, in 'George is great. He's always laughing.' I like the fact that George laughs a lot.

I hope this helps you.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Dear sir kindly clarify me,
It looks that it may rain ( is it a correct sentence or I use "It is looking that it may rain" what is the difference between the two sentence )

Hello SatyaD,

I'm afraid that is not a correct sentence. We can say the following, with no difference in meaning:

It looks like it might rain.

It looks like it may rain.

It is possible to say 

It's looking like it might rain.

It's looking like it may rain.

The suggestion here is that the appearance is temporary: a short time before it probably did not look so likely, for example.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Pages