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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 fantastic team!
I am writing to find out more about the difference reduced adjective clasues and postponed adjective clauses.

However, I can't decide whether the word 'related' in the sentence below is postponed adjective clause or reduced passive adj clasue.

"experiences related to reopening schools"

I have a habit of mixing postponed adjective clauses up with reduced passive adj. clasues.

I would be grateful if you could clear up my confusion.

I look forward to hearing from you.
Best wishes!

Hi Nevi,

I guess what you mean here is postposed or postpositive adjective (i.e. an adjective which follows the noun it describes) rather than postponed. In any case, I think your example here is a relative clause (experiences which are related to...).


Postpositive adjectives are quite rare in English. You can read more about them here:

You can also read a discussion on the topic here:



The LearnEnglish Team

Thanks for the links teacher.

You said 'experiences which are related to' is reduced passive adj clasue. But I am not sure who is the agent doing the action
'to relate A to B '

However, I thought 'related' is postposed adjective because related can also be adjective like in the following link

You'd be really helping me out.

Hello again Nevi,

In my answer I said that it is a relative clause; I did not say whether I would class related as a passive verb or an adjective. This was deliberate. The sentence is ambiguous and can be read either way (people relate it to..., for example).

Past participle adjectival forms are often ambiguous. Even a simple sentence such as 'I was interested' this can be read either way, and I don't think it makes any difference which label you choose to apply to it.



The LearnEnglish Team

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

Thank you teacher for the information.
However, I read following sentence in the news
"Agent gave his boss the background information necessary to understand the issue"

I think the adj. phrase
'necessary to understand the issue' may be - heavy- like you said so it is postponed.

Am I correct, teacher?

Hi Nevı,

Yes, exactly :)


The LearnEnglish Team