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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


Hi loraa sumz,

I'm afraid I don't understand what you mean by business tips. Could you give a couple of examples of these? I'm sure we can help you to understand them.

Best wishes,

The LearnEnglish Team

What is  the correct sentence to  ask in present simple or present continuous :
Does she want to go home now?
Is she wanting to go home now?
Kindly advise 

Hi Zahir Fareed,
That depends on the context in which the sentence is used, but in general, the verb want is not used in the present continuous, so the first sentence will be much more often correct than the second one. When verbs like want that are not normally used in the continuous aspect are used in the continuous, they generally indicate some kind of change or development.
You can read more detailed explanations and get more practice with the present forms on our pages on the present simple, present continuous, and talking about the present.
Best wishes,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hi! Can you please give us some examples of clauses when present tenses are used to talk about the past?
Thank you for all the work and in advance for the answer to my request!

Hi Anca_SzS,
We use present tenses to talk about the past when, for example, we are telling jokes or anecdotes and we want them to sound immediate and exciting:
'I was sitting in the cafe yesterday when a man came in and...' (standard past tense)
'I'm sitting in the cafe yesterday when a man comes in and...' (present tense used to describe past action)
It is also used, in a similar way, by sports commentators:
'Messi passes to Iniesta who runs with the ball...'
I hope that clarifies it for you.
Best wishes,
The LearnEnglish Team

Respect Sir 
I have very little knowledge of English. My mother tounge is Hindi. Please guide me what is the proper way to learn english. I shall be highly obliged 
thanking your sir 

Hello avani,
I'm not sure I can answer your question!  There are many ways to learn a language and different ways are more or less helpful for different people.  
On LearnEnglish you can find all sorts of materials to help you, including materials you can listen to and watch, materials to read and many grammar exercises and vocabulary games.  My advice to you is to try as many different ones as possible, so you can find materials at the best level and see what is most helpful to you.  And remember that you can always use the comments to ask us any specific questions you might have and we'll try to help.
Good luck!
The LearnEnglish Team

Sir I am having doubts regarding to the use of present tenses with future tense
like in the following two examples
1. I’ll phone you when I get home.
2. I’ll come home as soon as I have finished work.
according to my understanding in the second sentence it should be 'as soon as I finish my work.'.
and in another example to
You will be tired out after you have been working all night.
Kindly explain it.
Thanks in advance.

Hello aavi,
After 'as soon as' we can use the present simple ('as soon as I finish') or the present perfect ('as soon as I have finished') and they have very similar meanings, to the point that I cannot think of an example in which only one could be used.
You third sentence ('You will be tired out...') is also fine, but might be more natural with just the -ing form following 'after'.  This is because we tend not to repeat the subject ('you') in successive clauses unless there is a possibility of confusion:
'You will be tired out after working all night.'
I hope that clarifies it for you.
Best wishes,
The LearnEnglish Team

Thank for your help.I was little comfused with these two sentences:"I work" and "I have worked" are they all in present form? The last one somehow looks like in past form.pls explain to me.