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


Thanks again Kirk
your answer helped me a lot my confusion is now clear :) 

i don't understand why verbs are conjugated on simple present but answers are showing past ,
Best Rgds,

Hello Emna!
Well, the exercise and the article show that even when we use the present tense form, it sometimes has a past (or future) meaning. As the article says, we can use present tense

  • to talk about the past when we are telling a story in spoken English or when we are summarising a book, film, play etc

3 of the questions in the exercise use the present tense to talk about the past.
Jeremy Bee
The LearnEnglish Team

its written here that there are only two tenses in English language while I've read everywhere else that there are three tenses i.e present, past and future and if it is so then how can one say 'I will play cricket tomorrow'.

In English, time and tense are different. A tense is a grammatical form of a verb, where the ending changes. There are two of these, past and present. However, there are lots of different ways to talk about time, including the past, the present and the future. So, as it says higher up this page, you can use the present tense to talk about the future as well as the past.
Looking at your example, 'will play cricket' is using a modal verb to talk about what we believe will happen in the future, but it isn't the future tense.
Best wishes,
The LearnEnglish Team

How do improve the written communication ? Please advice me because my written communication is very pathetic

Hi, this a very useful website, have learned a lot with the help of this website, but now i want to improve my specking english, is there some one who also wants to improve their specking english, if yes, please do let me know. we can share our skype id for english specking practice.

Hello Ridham!
We really like it when students want to practice their English together and find out about people in different parts of the world. That's why we have comment sections on almost all of our pages – so you can talk to other students!
However, please remember our house rules ask you not to share personal information, including Skype and e-mail. This is to protect you and everyone else who uses our site.
Have fun, and enjoy your stay on LearnEnglish!
Jeremy Bee
The LearnEnglish Team

Dear  Learn English team 
i do not know when i can use Present perfect and Present perfect continuous
can you explain to me plz ?
Best regards

Hello Mina!
That's a very big question! Why not look at our page on the present perfect tenses? Take the time to look through the comments - this is often a difficult area for learners, and you'll see a lot of answers and information from other students and the LearnEnglish staff!
Hope that helps!
Jeremy Bee
The LearnEnglish Team