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

Hello mbkhayata,

Auxiliary verbs do not determine the tense, strictly speaking. They are a part of the verb form which adds aspect (perfect or continuous) and voice (passive) to whatever tense the verb has (past or present).

In present perfect simple forms the auxiliary is have or has (followed by a past participle) In present perfect continuous forms the auxiliaries are have been or has been (followed by a present participle).

There is no reason why one auxiliary verb cannot be used with different verb forms. For example, the auxiliary verb be is used in passive forms as well as continuous forms.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

I have read that we do not use preposition ' to ' before ' Home ' because ' Home ' works as an adverb because it gives direction.

Now , there is only one railway station and also only one bus stop in my town . If I say that I am going to railway station or bus stop then anybody will understand which way I am going.

So, can I say that since the word ' Railway station ' and the word ' Bus stop ' gives direction I can use it without preposition like :

1) I am going railway station.
2) I am going bus stop.

What do you say , sir ?

Hello dipakrgandhi,

You need to use 'to' here because 'railway station' and 'bus stop' are both nouns. The fact that there is only one of each in your town means that you would use the definite article ('the'), not that the words suddenly become adverbs. Thus you would say 'I'm going to the railway station'.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

But then why this case is not with " Home " ? Why do we not use " to " before home treating it as an adverb ? Why don't we treat it as a noun?

Thanking you .

Hello dipak,

This is because this use of 'home' is an exception. I'd suggest viewing it as a kind of idiom or expression.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you.
Now regarding Peter Sir's suggestion ( in his reply , above ) to use " The " before railway station if there is only one in town :

Can we say that railway station is a general noun and so rule of zero article would apply to it ; or is it applicable for noun in plural only - like railway stations. Please clarify.

And regarding my first sentence in above paragraph :
Is the use of semicolon correct there after a question , or do I need to put question mark after " ... apply it " and then start a new sentence " Or is it ... "

Thank you

Hello dipakrgandhi,

We use 'the' not because it is the only railway station, but because the speaker knows which one he or she has in mind and the listener understands this. Obviously, one way in which they could know is if it is unique in the town. By contrast, we would say 'a railway station' only if it makes no difference which one the person will go to. The use of 'the' is not related to grammar forms such as singular or plural.

The best punctuation would be to use a comma rather than a semi-colon after 'to it' and to have a question mark after 'railway stations':

Can we say that railway station is a general noun and so rule of zero article would apply to it, or is it applicable for noun in plural only - like railway stations?

 

Semi-colons are used between sentences, not in the middle of sentences.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Sir
Please tell me this sentence is correct or not. This is about the subject and the verb agreement.
The graphs below shows the marks obtained by students of languages on degree courses at a British university. or Is it alright to write: The graph below shows or The
graphs below show ... I think this is the correct way to write.(subject - verb agreement)
Please let me know.
Thank you.
Regards

Hello Andrew,

You are right. Both 'the graphs below show' and 'the graph below shows' are correct, but 'the graphs below shows' is not.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

hello sir
I do work
I work

same or not sir?

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