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Talking about the present

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. 

Present simple and present continuous 1


Present simple and present continuous 2


Present simple and present continuous 3



Hi incredible team!
I wonder sth. about the sentence below.
"Virus really took away those closest to them.”

Which grammatical structure is used in the part -those closest to them-?, teacher.
I haven't known yet.
I'd really appreciate it.

Hi Nevı,

This is a reduced adjective clause. The full version would be:

  • The virus really took away those people who were closest to them.


There are a couple of things to note:

  1. 'those' refers to people.
  2. To make the reduced adjective clause, take out the relative pronoun ('who', in the sentence above) and also the form of 'be' ('were').

I hope that helps :)


The LearnEnglish Team

I studied it, but I haven't seen sth. like the sentence I wrote.

I usually saw
In active meaning
'The girl running in the park is my sister'=
'The girl who is running/runs... is '

In passive
'A house destroyed by the fire will be built. =' A house which was destroyed by the fire will.. '
' ... those people who were closest to them.'

Can we reduce also superlative or comparative adjective relative clauses?
I would be grateful if you could explain to me.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Hi Nevı,

Let me make a correction to my previous comment. I hope this one will explain it better :)

The basic position of an adjective is before the noun. But, it can be positioned directly after a noun, and this is called postposition. Postposition is compulsory with pronouns, e.g. 'those' and 'something':

  • The virus took away those closest to them.
  • I’m looking for something new to read.

The examples above have single adjectives ('closest' and 'new'). But adjective phrases tend to be put in postposition, even with ordinary nouns, if the adjective phrase is ‘heavy’. ‘Heavy’ means that the phrase is long and contains a lot of information. So, it would be natural to say:

  • National income will rise by an amount greater than the initial increase in exports.
  • I need a training course more relevant to my career than this one.

It’s not compulsory, though, and it’s also possible (but perhaps less preferred) to say:

  • National income will rise by a greater amount than the initial increase in exports.
  • I need a more relevant training course to my career than this one.

But not:

  • National income will rise by an amount greater.
  • I need a training course more relevant.

This is not specifically about comparative or superlative adjectives, but since those types of adjective often occur in heavier phrases, they are often postposed. Here are some other examples with ordinary adjectives.

  • She’s the manager responsible for the whole department.
  • His was a performance perfect in every way.

This may also have a lexical element. Some adjectives are used in postposition even as single words, e.g. 'available' in There are a few rooms available, so I believe phrases starting with 'available' will also be commonly postposed (e.g. There are a few rooms available in the hotel).

I hope that helps.


The LearnEnglish Team

Hi helpful team,

I want to learn one more thing.I am learning the subtopic 'The Present Habits' and I am confused about one thing.
My book says 'tend to' and 'usually' has the same meaning.

Firstly, If they are the same meaning, why we don't just use usually?we don't need the 'tend to'?

Secondly, when Should I use 'tend to' insted of 'usually'?

Hello Nevı,

I wouldn't say they have the same meaning, though the meanings are similar. I'd suggest you look them up in the dictionary to see more precise definitions and example sentences. If you want to check your understanding with us afterwards, we're happy to help you work out any final doubts.

All the best,


The LearnEnglish Team

Hi team,
While I am reading news, I don't understand one thing in this sentence. "A new study suggests the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine cuts transmission of the virus."
Why we didn't say" vaccine cut"?Verb in that clause must be an infinitive form with suggest? Could you tell me why?

Hello Aysn,

The verb 'suggest' can be followed by 'that' + a clause. This is the structure of the sentence you ask about. The word 'that' is omitted here -- this happens quite frequently -- but if it were included, the basic elements of the sentence would be: 'A study suggests that the vaccine cuts transmission'.

Perhaps you are thinking of is a different structure after 'suggest' -- the use of a verb in the '-ing' form. This can be seen in the sixth example sentence in the dictionary entry I referred you to: 'Tracey suggested meeting for a drink after work'.

Does that make more sense?

All the best,


The LearnEnglish Team

Teacher,If that is not omitted, sentence would be"Study suggests that the vaccine cuts transmission. "
OK I understand, but that clause in the sentence" must be bare infinitive", says dictionary.
Why is" vaccine cuts" instead of "vaccine cut"?

Hello Aysn,

I can see how that is confusing. Let me explain it more fully, and I'm sorry that my first reply didn't help.

The first thing to note is that 'suggest' has several different meanings. The most common meaning, which is the first one in the dictionary, is to propose something. For example, a teacher often suggests that a student study -- it's like a recommendation.

The second most common meaning is to indicate, and that is the meaning in the sentence you ask about. In other words, the results of the study indicate that the vaccine cuts transmission.

When 'suggest that' has the first meaning (propose), then the verb goes in the bare infinitive form. I'm not sure if you're familiar with the idea of the subjunctive, but that is the idea here -- if that doesn't mean anything to you, then don't worry, it's not important.

But when 'suggest that' has the second meaning (indicate), the verb goes in the normal form. That is why your sentence says 'cuts' instead of 'cut'.

Does that make more sense now? Sorry for not explaining it in more detail the first time!

All the best,


The LearnEnglish Team