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 Desola,

You're welcome. There are probably several books written by historical linguists that have wanted to know more about this same issue, but I'm afraid going deeply into this is far beyond our role here at LearnEnglish. I'd suggest reading through the Wikipedia page I linked to earlier and then working from there if you'd like to know more about this.

English speakers do use the subjunctive, but many of them don't realise it, as of course they are just speaking the language as they learned it. English also uses the subjunctive far less than Spanish or French, so that also means that there is less need to learn about it in grammar class.

There are indeed cases where not using the subjunctive would sound wrong in English. Taking an example from the Wikipedia page, 'I insist that he leaves now' (the correct form is the subjunctive 'leave') sounds wrong, though most of my friends, for example, wouldn't know how to explain why.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello! Is it correct to say "they ARE/AREN'T agree with my opinion" or is it wrong? The situation is this: my English teacher gave me a multiple choice test where I should circle the correct answer. He gave me to choose between the options "are","aren't","do" and "don't". I should complete the sentence "They ___ agree with my opinion". I chose "don't" because​ all my ex teaches taught me that way. The thing is that my teacher told me it was wrong but he never gave me his reasons. He only told me he don't agree with that rule... what's the rule? I asked him but I received no explanation. Thanks for your help!

Hello niky_02nqn,

The correct form here is 'don't'; 'aren't' is not correct. The reason is that 'agree' here is a normal verb in the present simple and the negative is formed with 'do not' (or 'does not').

You can use 'aren't' with the following phrase:

They aren't in agreement with my opinion.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

sir i want ask about sentence like Have you got plaster? i have been chopping the vegetables for dinner and i have cut my finger.
this giving me the sense of past continuous when "i have been chopping the vegetables'

Hello attiq ur rehman,

'have been chopping' is a present perfect continuous form, not a past continuous form (which would be 'was chopping'), but you've used the present perfect continuous form correctly here -- it is the best form for this situation.

By the way, you should say 'a plaster' -- 'plaster' without an article means something different that doesn't make sense here.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

she put forward some cogent
here I don't use the "s" with put but still the sentence is correct why?

Hello Najid Ali,

I think you can find the answer to this question yourself. Use a dictionary to check the various forms of the verb 'put' and then analyse the sentence and identify the tense of the verb in this sentence - you may need to look at the context in which you found the sentence.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

This he achieves by means of words...
here in this sentence i have use "s" with achieves and also with means "S" why?

Hello Najod Ali,

This question has already been answered on a different page (you can see the answer here). Please post questions once only as multiple posts of the same question will be deleted and it only makes the process slower.

I think you can work out the answers to many of your questions yourself with a little thought and some use of a dictionary (as I suggested in the answer above). Please try to find the answer yourself before posting - it is much better if you can work something out yourself as you will remember it much better than if someone simply tells you.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

If we make a question with WHO , it's normally used with 3rd person singular.
Eg. Who likes football? Who has seen this film?
But we can use Who with third person plural of to be, eg Who are your friends?
What happens in present continuous? Is it correct: Who are playing football now?

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