There are two tenses in English – past and present.

The present tenses in English are used:

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


There are four present tense forms in English:

Tense Form
Present simple: I work
Present continuous: I am working
Present perfect: I have worked
Present perfect continuous: I have been working


We use these forms:

  • to talk about the present:

He works at McDonald’s. He has worked there for three months now.
He is working at McDonald’s. He has been working there for three months now.
London is the capital of Britain.

  • to talk about the future:

The next train leaves this evening at 1700 hours.
I’ll phone you when I get home.
He’s 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.

  • We can use the present tenses 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 ….

      Romeo and Juliet is a violent play. After Romeo and Juliet have married in secret, Romeo is walking in Verona when Juliet’s cousin, Tybalt tries to provoke Romeo into a fight. Romeo refuses to fight and leaves, but his friend, Mercutio, is so angry that he fights Tybalt and is killed ….

Exercise

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Comments

Hi!
I always do or I am always doing ?
Some teachers at my school.say that " I always do " is something planned while the other is not planned and some teachers say that " I am always doing " is somwthing which happens a lot and is negative and((annoys)) the speaker and some other say it can either be negative or positive.
Who should I believe? What's the right usage?

Hello uchiha itache,

It's difficult to be entirely sure without knowing the context in which the sentence is used, but the present continuous for repeated actions often suggests some kind of irritation (if we are talking about another person) or frustration (if we are talking about ourselves). For example:

She always doing that! [this behaviour annoys me]

 

I'm always doing that! [it frustrates me that I cannot stop making this mistake]

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

And if I say :
We often meet a lot .
We're always meeting in the supermarket
The 1st sentence is planned and I get it
But..is the second not planned or it annoys me or both ?

Hello uchiha itache,

The sentence We're always meeting in the supermarket describes something which happens frequently, not a future event, and so I don't think whether it is planned or not is relevant here. The sentence suggests that the speaker does not feel happy about constantly meeting in the supermarket for some reason, but that is all we can say from it.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello!

Could you please tell me the difference between "Thanks for acceding to our request for coming." and "Thanks a lot for having acceded to our request for coming."? Is the person for whom this sentence is meant, has already come? Could you please help me understand theses phrases in socio-cultural contexts?

Hello raj.kumar123,

These do not look like natural sentences in English to me. You could say Thanks for acceding to our request for a meeting, for example. It is a very formal way to say this, however, and agreeing to would be much more likely.

In general, the perfect form emphasises recent completion with a concrete result. It is possible to say, for example, Thanks for having done this. However, even in this case I would say that Thanks for doing this is a far more common choice

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

This is the headline : Temperature continue soaring high in Pune

Should it not be ' temperature continues ... '

Hello dipakrgandhi,

I think there are two possibilities here: The temperature continues... or Temperatures continue...

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

I have read this headline in Business newspaper :

Sachin Bansal readies plan sell his stake to Walmart & quit Flipkart

Should it be ' readies plan to sell ... ' . Please clear the confusion.

Hello dipakrgandhi,

We often omit certain words in headlines but the 'to' part of the infinitive here would not be omitted, I think, and the sentence looks odd to me even as a headline. I would say that 'to sell' is really required here.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

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