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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
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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

Hi,

Is it grammatically correct to use the simple past tense without any time expression (e.g. simply "I went to the cinema", instead of "I went to the cinema yesterday", where the time expression is "yesterday"). In this case, I am simply indicating that these events began and concluded (i.e. occurred or happened) at some point in the past, and while i do have a time period in mind, I simply did not say it. Is this grammatical?

Regards,
Tim

Hello Tim,

Yes, that's fine. The time reference may be implied by the context or it may simply not be stated and we understand that it exists but is not relevant to what we want to say. For example:

Do you know any good doctors?

Sure. I studied medicine. I know lots of them!

 

Hey, guess what? I went to shop and Joe was there!

Really? How is he?

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hi Peter, thanks for clarifying. I guess just to add on, for the example you quoted (i.e. I studied medicine), We could also have used the present perfect (i.e. I've studied medicine) since the aim is to simply say that I've had the experience of studying medicine but when exactly the studying of medicine happened is not important - this would be a perfect situation to used the present perfect (i.e. for a past action that finished in the past but which still has an effect in the present/now), wouldn't it?

Regards,
Tim

Hi Tim,

That's correct, though I think we would be more likely to use the past simple here as the present perfect would suggest a more direct present result such as knowing first aid or being a qualified doctor.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello, please advice.
I do not understand why the exercise 'present tense 3' has the 'present perfect' as the correct answer?
Thank you,
Auden

Hello Auden,

The frog says "Read it!"

This is a shortened form of the present perfect: "I have read it!"

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hi!
Which is correct and why?
1- What is your name and address?
OR
2- What are your name and address?

Can we consider" name and address"as one entity or two separate things?!

"The delicious round chocolate''
" the round delicious chocolate "
Which is correct please?

Hello raphway,

Normally opinion words come first, so we would say delicious round rather than round delicious. However, sometimes a speaker or writer might change the normal order round to achieve a certain effect. This is common in marketing, for example.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hi, please kindly advise:
If I say “one doesn’t get tired of going there no matter how many times they were (he/she was) there”
Can I use “they” instead of he or she ?
Thanks

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