Level: intermediate

There are two tenses in English: past and present.

The present tense is used to talk about the present and to talk about the future.

There are four present tense forms:

Present simple I work
Present continuous I am working
Present perfect I have worked
Present perfect continuous I have been working

We can use all these forms:

  • to talk about the present:

London is the capital of Britain.
He works at McDonald’s.
He is working at McDonald's.
He has worked there for three months now.
He has been working there for three months now.

  • to talk about the future:

The next train leaves this evening at 17.00.
I'll phone you when I get home.
He is 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.

Present tense 1
Present tense 2

Level: advanced

We can use present forms to talk about the past:

  • when we are telling a story:

Well, it's a lovely day and I'm just walking down the street when I see this funny guy walking towards me. Obviously he's been drinking, because he's moving from side to side …

  • when we are summarising something we have read, heard or seen:

I love Ian Rankin's novels. He writes about this detective called Rebus. Rebus lives in Edinburgh and he's a brilliant detective, but he's always getting into trouble. In one book, he gets suspended and they tell him to stop working on this case. But he takes no notice …

Present tense 3
Present tense 4
Intermediate level


I have read this :

I love New York ! With its bright lights, bustling traffic , gleaming skyscrapers and crazy nightlife , this city make you feel alive.

' This city make you... ' : should it not be - This city makes you ...

Hello dipak,

Yes, you are right.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Good evening Learn English Team,

I don`t now in what context to use each of the four times. I need a more detailed explanation.

What is the difference between the present simple and the present continous?

Thank you so much!

Best wishes,

Hello irina diaconescu,

I'm not sure what you mean by 'four times'. English has two tenses (past and present). We use various non-tense devices to refer to the future and we have aspects such as perfective and continuous to describe other elements of meaning such as permanent, temporary, repeated, single action and so on.

There are many uses of the present simple and continuous. Most generally, the present simple is used to describe actions or states which are generally true, while the present continuous describes temporary and ongoing actions or states.

You can read more about this, and see many examples, on this page.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you, it is clear to me now.

Best wishes!

Could you please explain the grammar of the following sentence?
He decides to fund her education on the condition that she writes to him regularly about her progress.
Is the use of present simple in the second part of the sentence correct? Is the second part (on the condition....) is a conditional sentence? What is the rule about such sentence? If the first part of such sentences is in past tense, should we use past tense in the second half also?

Hi naghmairam,

The phrase on condition that is a conditonal form which puts a limit on a situation or action. In meaning it is similar to if or unless... not.  The present form following the phrase has a future meaning here but other forms (present perfect for conditions required before the situation or action takes place, past forms if the whole sentence is put in past time etc).

You can read more about this phrase and others like it on this page.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

dear sir,

how it is past?
Brando plays an ex-boxer standing up to corrupt bosses.

Hello Faizan Sahgal,

This is explained above in the section about using the present simple to summarise a film or book we have seen or read.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

I woud like to know if the following sentence is in the correct tense:

This is a book about a man who deserts his family and goes to America.

Instead of deserts and goes , shouldn't we use instead the present continuous.