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

Comments

Hello WhiteCollar,

The question with 'did' refers to the past and the question with 'does' refers to the present. Is that what you mean?

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello, Mr. Kirk
I meant when we should use 'where do you come from?' and when we should use 'where did you come from?'
Usually we use 'where did you come from?' but yesterday I saw 'where do you come from?' in the test. Why "where DO you come from?'
With best wishes,
WhiteCollar

Hello WhiteCollar,

'Where do you come from?' is a question about something which is always true. in other words, it asks about our place of birth or, in a more philosophical sense, the origin of life or our species.

'Where did you come from?' is a question about a specific beginning in the past such as the start of a journey. I might ask this when someone has just arrived and I am wondering if they travelled far.

 

I hope that clarifies it for you.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello, Peter M
Thank you very much for your helping. I understood.
Best wishes,
White Collar

hello sir
we use two helping verbs with simple present- do and does
but with the verb BE (am,is,are) we do not use them.

i am
i am not
am i
am i not
what am i
what am i not
.
.
we use HAVE in simple present tense
we can use DO/DOES with the verb HAVE

.
.
I have
i do not have
do i have
what do i have

and without helping verb also we can make negative
.
i have
i have not
have i
what have i

MY QUESTIONS ARE....
1) are there other verbs, we can use without DO/DOES(helping verbs) in simple present
2) why do we not use DO AND DOES with the verb BE in simple present(i do not am)
3) is HAVE only one verb that can be used with or without helping verb

Hello INS-PRAKASH,

We're happy to try to help you, but we don't generally respond to such questions, as our concerns here are helping our users learn, not so much come up with rules about the language. Such general rules often have exceptions or just aren't all that useful for learning.

1. all modal verbs are auxiliary verbs and, like 'be', are not used with auxiliary 'do'. 'have got' is another one that doesn't use auxiliary 'do'.

2. This is related to the history of the English language, i.e. how it's developed over time. I'm afraid answering this is well beyond what we do here. 

3. As far as I can think right now, yes, in addition to 'be' and the modal auxiliary verbs. I don't think I'm forgetting any others, but I'm afraid I don't normally think of grammar in terms of these kinds of lists, so perhaps I've missed something.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

hello Sir,
can you explain the sentence " You will be tired out after you have been working all night"
Shouldn't it be "You will be tired out after working all night"

Hello lotusflower123,

Both forms are acceptable and have the same meaning. I would say that '...after working...' is more common but '...after you've been working...' would be a good way to emphasise the point. For example, you might imagine a context like this:

New worker:  This job is easy!

Experienced worker:  You think so? You wait until you have a night shift. You might think it's easy now but you will be tired out after you have been working all night, trust me.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Be.
Don't be.

Above commands are correct
We can use DONT with the verb BE in command

We do not use do/does with am/is/are/was/were

^
Kirk sir I am not expert in grammar, but I have practical experience.
^
This is the question , I have not answered yet to my students,

Why do we not use do/does with the verb BE in simple present ?

Hello INS-PRAKASH,

It's great that you and your students have noticed this apparent contradiction to the rule about not using 'don't' with 'be'. The case here is different, as you've noticed, because it's an imperative and not, for example, a present simple form.

There are historical reasons for the auxiliary verb 'do' not being used with 'be', but I'm afraid this is not a subject we address here at LearnEnglish. Although there are logical structures in languages and we sometimes speak of reasons in explaining grammar, in the end, languages are created through the way people speak over millenia. We focus on helping people learn how to speak English as it is used nowadays and less on explaining why, which is more in the domain of historical linguistics.

By the way, as a teacher you might be interested in our sister site TeachingEnglish. If you haven't already checked it out, you might find some useful materials there.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

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