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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
Present tense 2

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
Present tense 4


Hello dipakrgandhi,

Yes, the verb should be 'deters' to agree with the singular subject.

We generally avoid commenting on examples from elsewhere like this. It's rather unfair on the original authors to comment without their having any opportunity to respond, and we also do not know the context in which the language is used.


The LearnEnglish Team

OK! Thank you!

Hello Sir
When we are talking about something regarding time we use present perfect and past perfect mostly. But can we use past continuos,too. e.g. How long were they waiting for?
They were waiting for an hour. Can't we say : How long had they been waiting for? They had been waiting for an hour. How long have they been waiting for? They have been waiting for an hour. But not 'how long are they waiting for?' They are waiting for an hour.
I think those are wrong. I am I correct? What I want to ask you is: can we use other tenses when we talk about time or only perfect tenses with since or for
Thak you.

Hi Lal,

'time' is a very broad concept; I think you must mean something more specific but I'm not sure what. In any case, all of the sentences you wrote could be correct in certain contexts.

The last one ('How long are the waiting for?') is probably the most unusual one, but if you were speaking about a future arrangement, for example, it would be correct. 'for' speaks of a 'length' of time, i.e. duration, and 'since' indicates a duration from a point of time in the past towards the present.

I hope this helps.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

hello,is it correct to say: "it is really matter"'? or "does it really matter"?and why?

Hi manuel24,

'Does it really matter?' is correct and is a question about how important something is, with the idea that the person asking the question doubts that whatever it is really matters. Here 'matter' is a verb in the present simple tense and so the auxiliary verb 'does' is used.

'It is really matter' is grammatically correct but means something completely different. In this case, 'matter' is a noun and the sentence is affirming that something ('it') is matter (as opposed to something pyschological perhaps? -- it's hard to know without the context). 

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

hello,why is used do+have as the example "I do have a vegetarian favourite restaurant"?is there also the use of "do +be" in the affermative form?

Hello manuel24,

We can use 'do' (or 'does') to add emphasis to a sentence. For example:

I like that film.

You're joking, aren't you?

No, I do like it, honestly.


We do not use this construction with 'be', however.



The LearnEnglish Team

thank you peter!

Dear Sir
Thank you for your answer for my last question: The road is wet. It has rained and it has
been raining. Your answer: both are correct
What I wanted to say was : it is not raining at the moment but the result is there.I am I correct? So in this context both are correct so we can use both tenses in some situations giving the same meaning but not always. I am I correct?
For e.g. Can we say 'I have been chopping beans for dinner./ I have chopped beans for dinner. But I think the first is better because we are talking about the activity. I am I correct Sir? But Sir nobody will change ' I have cut my finger' to continues although it is
grammatically correct because the context is very important like in the above examples.
What I want to say is: some situations we can use both these tenses but not always.
I am I correct? I understood this after going through your website but I want to tell you
what my opinion is.
Thank you.