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,
The question is about the time the verbs are referring to, not the tense of the verbs. Remember that time and tense are different in English. 'Handles' is something that McEwan did in the past.
Best wishes,
Adam
The LearnEnglish Team

sir, I can't make difference between present perfect continuous and future simple as you have given example " You will be tired out if you have been working all night." In this sentence you have been working..... present perfect continuous and you will be tired... future simple. My question is which form of verb I shall  see. It is not clear to me. Please help.
regards

Hello,
I don't quite understand your question, I'm afraid. That sentence is an example of using the present perfect continuous to talk about the future.
By the way, I don't think it's a good idea to describe 'will' as the 'future simple'. 'Will' is a modal verb that, like other modal verbs, is sometimes used to talk about the future. There are also many other ways to talk about the future in English.
Best wishes,
Adam
The LearnEnglish Team

we need more exercise plzz...
 

So effective, thank you.
 

^_^

Hello i want to know Use of May or May Not in English, I want to know in which cases may or maynot is used.What does actually may or maynot means.

Hello neelus!
 
We usually use may to show we are not sure about something:
It may rain tomorrow = I don't know - maybe it will rain, maybe it won't
 
Or to ask for things politely (this is not the same as the use above)
May I have a cup of tea?

You can read more about may and do some exercises about it on our grammar page talking about may.

Hope that helps!
 
Regards
 
Jeremy Bee
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello.. I am a new member and i do not know from where to start.. plz guide me
 

Hello Skikha Vyas!
 
Welcome to LearnEnglish! Well, you should see this website as a library – just borrow whatever interests you! A good place to start is our Elementary Podcasts. These are short radio shows about different topics. To help your listening, vocabulary and grammar, you can listen to them, read the transcripts, and do the exercises. You can talk to other learners in the comments, too. There is lots of other material in our Listen and Watch section as well. If you want to work on grammar, take a look at our grammar section.
 
Don't forget that we also have a search box. Put a topic you're interested in into the box – like 'meeting people' or 'the present simple' - and you'll get a list of pages about that topic.
 
We have a lot of different levels on the site, so don't worry if something is too hard – find something easier, and come back to it later. Just try to look at something every day!
 
Hope that helps,
 
Jeremy Bee
The LearnEnglish Team

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