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
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Present tense 2
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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
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Present tense 4
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Intermediate level

Comments

Hello orlanda,

It depends a bit on the context, but as a summary of the story, it is normal and correct to use the present simple. This was part of the explanation on this page, but it seems to have disappeared from the page! I'll have to look into this before I can fix it, but in the meantime if you read the Stories and commentaries section of this Cambridge Dictionary page, it should clarify this use of the present simple for you.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Sir
I have just sent you a question under 'present perfect tense' in that I have asked about the word 'NOW' you have used it in your website above in both simple and continuous so it is very clear to me now. I am sorry about it but please clarify my first quetion.
Thank you.
Andrew internationnal

Hello Sir
Please clarify this: We have walked about thirty kilo meters today, so we feel tired.(the couple look very tired of course and the picture show that they are unable to walk further) in this situation can't I say : We have been walking thirty kilo meters today, so we feel tired./ so we feel tired now.
Please let me know whether I am right or wrong. Also I would like to know the word 'NOW' is correct to use in both present perfect simple and continuous.
Thank you.
Regards
Andreew international
is alright to use

Hello Andrew international,

The difference between the present perfect simple and continuous is, like any question of aspect, one of how we see the action expressed by the verb. The simple form focuses on the action as a whole and its result; the continuous form focuses on the activity as a process. Sometimes there is a clear difference in meaning, as in:

We've read that. [= we finished it]

We've been reading that. [= we (probably) haven't finished it]

 

In other cases the difference is one of perspective or focus:

She's worked there for a while. [= she still works there; my focus is on the fact or the achievement]

She's been working there for a while. [= she still works there; my focus is on the ongoing activity of working]

 

Generally, when we have a quantity or amount we are focusing on the total and the simple form is more common. Thus, in your example the simple form is more natural because you have the phrase 'thirty kilometres', showing a (completed) achievement. The continuous form, focusing on the activity rather than the act, would be more likely without this phrase.

You can read more about the present perfect simple and continous on this page.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

I have got a Question as follows:
1.Have and has are auxiliaries for present perfect simple.
What are the auxiliaries for present perfect continuous?
A. If the answer is have/has too, then we have the same auxiliaries for two tenses. And this contradicts with the role of auxiliaries which is tense determination.
B. If the answer is that both have/has and been are the auxiliaries for present perfect continuous, then we have two auxiliaries for one tense(have and been). Can that be true?

I hope to get your valuable answers.

Hello mbkhayata,

Auxiliary verbs do not determine the tense, strictly speaking. They are a part of the verb form which adds aspect (perfect or continuous) and voice (passive) to whatever tense the verb has (past or present).

In present perfect simple forms the auxiliary is have or has (followed by a past participle) In present perfect continuous forms the auxiliaries are have been or has been (followed by a present participle).

There is no reason why one auxiliary verb cannot be used with different verb forms. For example, the auxiliary verb be is used in passive forms as well as continuous forms.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

I have read that we do not use preposition ' to ' before ' Home ' because ' Home ' works as an adverb because it gives direction.

Now , there is only one railway station and also only one bus stop in my town . If I say that I am going to railway station or bus stop then anybody will understand which way I am going.

So, can I say that since the word ' Railway station ' and the word ' Bus stop ' gives direction I can use it without preposition like :

1) I am going railway station.
2) I am going bus stop.

What do you say , sir ?

Hello dipakrgandhi,

You need to use 'to' here because 'railway station' and 'bus stop' are both nouns. The fact that there is only one of each in your town means that you would use the definite article ('the'), not that the words suddenly become adverbs. Thus you would say 'I'm going to the railway station'.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

But then why this case is not with " Home " ? Why do we not use " to " before home treating it as an adverb ? Why don't we treat it as a noun?

Thanking you .

Hello dipak,

This is because this use of 'home' is an exception. I'd suggest viewing it as a kind of idiom or expression.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

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