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


" These good deeds bring you merit, which in turn helps you go deep in meditation and elevate your consciousness."

Should it not be ' help ' in place of ' helps ' as ' these deeds ' is plural

Hi dipak,

The subject of 'helps' is the idea of good deeds bringing merit -- in other words, not the good deeds themselves, but the concept that good deeds bring merit. This idea is grammatically singular, which is why 'helps' is singular.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Very good answer sir ; thank you

I was a watching a movie, and I found this dialogue" I tell you that I always do as an action hero in the movie." Here though the speaker of this dialogue at that time speaking to someone but he used " I tell you.." instead of " I am telling you that..". Why did he use simple present instead of continuous though his telling was in progress? Could you explain this ?I don't understand.

Hi jitu_jaga,

That doesn't seem right to me. Perhaps it would in context, but out of context it does not, so I'm afraid I can't explain it to you.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

I read this ' I tell you ' many many times. Is it also used as filler like ' you know '

Hi dipak,

I'd have to see an example in context because I can't think of an instance when I would say that. This may be due to my lack of imagination! In other words, perhaps I am wrong -- it's just that at the moment I can't think of an instance when I'd say that.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Thanks Kirk


In which tense should I summarise a story/news to my friend that I have read on Wall street journal, facebook or listen to TED Talks?

I have the same question for writing.

Thank You