Level: intermediate

We use the present simple to talk about:

  • something that is true in the present:

They live next door to us.
He works for the Post Office.

  • something that happens regularly in the present:

The children come home from school at about four.
We often see your brother at work.

  • something that is always true:

Water boils at 100 degrees Celsius.
The Nile is the longest river in Africa.

We use the present continuous to talk about:

  • something happening at the moment of speaking:

I can't hear you. I'm listening to a podcast.
Please be quiet. The children are sleeping.

  • something happening regularly in the present before and after a specific time:

I'm usually having breakfast at this time in the morning.
When I see George he's usually reading his Kindle.

  • something in the present which we think is temporary:

Michael is at university. He's studying history.
I love Harry Potter. I'm reading the last book.

  • something which is new and contrasts with a previous state:

Nowadays people are sending text messages instead of phoning.
I hear you've moved house. Where are you living now?

  • something which is changing, growing or developing:

The weather is getting colder.
Our grandchildren are growing up quickly.

  • something which happens again and again:

It's always raining in London.
They are always arguing.
George is great. He's always laughing.

Note that we normally use always with this use.

We use modal verbs:

I don't know where Henry is. He might be playing tennis.
'Who's knocking at the door?' – 'I don't know. It could be the police.'

I can speak English quite well but I can't speak French at all.
You should do your homework before you go out. 

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Comments

Hello Oscas Po,

You can use the present continuous in those sentences, but the meaning is not the same:

They live next door to us. [a permanent state]

They are living next door to us. [a temporary situation which is true at the moment]

He works for the Post Office. [this is his permanent job]

He is working for the Post Office. [at the moment, but probably not for ever]

I hope that help to clarify it for you.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

 

thank you very much Peter, I got understand it clearly

Hello,

I'd like to know about these two sentences.
We are open on 18 march.
We are closed at lunch time.

The problem is are these two sentences passive form or 'open and close' act as the adjectives? If it is passive form why they use 'open' instead of 'opened'?

Thank you.

Hello bimsara,

The first sentence here is best thought of as having an adjective, for the reason which you give - that we would use the past participle 'opened' rather than 'open'.  The second sentence could be seen as either, but I think it is more helpful to consider it an adjectival form as it describes the state of the business rather than a particular action of closing.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello there,

We have known each other for long time. This is a present perfect sentence. And I'd like to know that can we use 'for' with present simple sentences?As an example

We know each other for long time.
And also what are the sentence pattens that we can use 'yet'? I only know present perfect.

Thank you.

Hello bimsara,

We would use the present perfect in the sentence you suggest, provided the two people still know one another:

We have known each other for long time.

If, on the other hand, they no longer know each other (because they, for example, lost contact with each other long ago), then we would use a past form:

We knew each other for long time.

We would not use a present form with this construction as this use of 'for' by definition involves a non-present time reference.

With this meaning, 'yet' can also be used with past perfect forms.  As with the present perfect, it is used with a negative verb:

I called, but he hadn't arrived yet.

We do not use 'yet' with future perfect forms ('will have').  Instead we use 'by then', and can use this with positive or negative verbs:

I will have finished the job by then.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello,

Could we use 'for' with past perfect and past perfect continuous?.As examples,

We had known each other for long time.
I had been sitting there for hours.

Thank you.

Hello bimsara,

Yes, it's perfectly fine to use 'for' with those verb forms.  In fact, it's very common to use it with perfect verb forms, whether present perfect, past perfect or future perfect (will have).  You should, though, remember the article in the phrase 'a long time'.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Sir,
"My wife usually goes in to the office, but she is working at home today."
I am confused about why "goes into the office" is used instead of "goes to the office".
Thank you.

Hello mangeshnik,

We often use the phrases 'go into work' or 'go into the office' with the same meaning as 'go to work' or 'go to the office'.  In this context either of the forms you suggest would be acceptable.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

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