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Present tense

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


May I ask.. 
"Brando plays an ex-boxer standing up to corrupt bosses." 
why this sentence is in Past tense?

Hello Lanapon,
It's not in the past tense, it's in the present tense. If you read the instructions of the exercise carefully, you'll see it's about time, not tense.
Best wishes,
The LearnEnglish Team

 He has worked here for two years"
"He has been working here for two years" Do these two sentences mean the same? Please explain.
thank you

Hello shabbo22,

Your examples here are both present perfect, used for describing events which started in the past and continued up to the present, and possibly beyond.  The first sentence is a simple form, emphasising the result/achievement; the second is a continuous form, which tends to be used to emphasise the process or the activity.  In many contexts, including this one, both forms are possible and have similar meanings, but there are contexts in which they have different uses.  For example:

'I've read this book' = the book is finished

'I've been reading this book' = the book is not yet finished

I hope that helps to clarify it for you.  You can find more information on the uses of the present perfect here.

Best wishes,



The LearnEnglish Team

thanks Peter
your explanation was very clear and good.

if u plz can u undersatand me slowly when i can use past simple and past perfect and present perfect and present and past perfect continuos as all of them happened in the pas 
i has confelct  . thnx alot

Hello Amal.mahmoud,

That's a lot of information to put in one answer!  I think the best thing for you to do is to look at the relevant pages and exercises for each form.  If you go to our grammar section then you can find many links.  For example, here are the links to English verb formsincluding links to other forms, such as the past continuous and present perfect continuous.

I would say one more thing, however, and that is that concentrating on particular grammar forms does not necessarily help us to improve the most.  Sometimes focusing on listening and reading skills, and on building vocabulary, is a more productive way to work.  Perhaps you'll find our Elementary Podcasts useful, for example - the episodes have transcripts so you can read as well as listen and there are exercises with each episode, including on grammar.

I hope that is helpful for you.

Best wishes,



The LearnEnglish Team

Could anyone please explain me about these tenses and example.
We use present Indefinite tense to talk about things that will happen in future. Examples: 1.My little sister starts school tomorrow.  2.My family moves to a new house next month. We also use present continuous to talk about things that will happen in future examples: 1. We are going to London next Sunday. 2.He is taking the exams tomorrow. 
Please kindly help me about how to differentiate these examples and how to use tenses in correct way in this situation. Because i don't understand the difference between these tenses and these examples.
please explain me in details

Hello saima khan,

I think you can find a clear explanation of exactly these sentences here.  In general, we use the present simple (starts, moves) to describe events in the future which are fixed or timetabled in some way, especially if they are part of a regular and/or repeated sequence.  We use the present continuous (are going, is taking) to describe arranged events, where the actors have agreed as to what they want to do in some way.

However, as I think you can see from the explanations above, which form we use is highly dependent on the context.  The speaker often has several forms which would be correct in a given situation, and can choose between them according to how he or she sees the particular context, or what he or she wants to emphasise.  For example, all of the following sentences are correct; which one we use depends on the particular context and our own emphasis:

My family moves to a new house next month.

My family will move to a new house next month.

My family is moving to a new house next month.

My family is going to move to a new house next month.

My family will be moving to a new house next month.

My family will have moved to a new house next month.

Without knowing the context of your sentences it is impossible to say which of these is most likely or most natural.

I hope that helps to clarify it for you.  It is a complex aspect of English!

Best wishes,



The LearnEnglish Team

hey,can someone help me to know the uses of the present tense in business tips?