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...

Exercise

Section: 

Comments

Why 'is' and not 'has'?

'Most modern birds require parental care – the brush turkey of Australia (which is no relation to American turkeys) is one of the few exceptions.'

Thanks in advance.

Hello feli3105,

That sounds odd to me, too, so I'm afraid I can't explain that. 'have' or 'bear' are the verbs that are typically used in such a phrase.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hi :) whats the different between

I’ll come home as soon as I have finished work. AND
You will be tired out after you have been working all night.

Hello Elsa99,

'I have finished work' is the present perfect simple and 'you have been working' is the present perfect continuous. The difference between these two forms is explained on our present perfect and present perfect simple and continuous pages.

If you have any other questions about these sentences, we're happy to help you, but please explain to us what you understand and don't understand so that we can help you better.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you so much! But whats the difference between "You will be tired out after you have been working all night" AND
"You will be tired out after you have worked all night."

Hello again Elsa,

In general, a continuous form views the action as something that was happening during a period of time, whereas a simple form views it as something done. Beyond that it's difficult to say without knowing the context and what the speaker meant. One other resource of ours that might help you is the video on this Word on the Street page.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Sir! How are you ? I'm a little bit confused regarding these sentences, and I can hope you will reduce my stress.The sentences are: "I have always answered his letters". and "I always answer his letters."

Hello nadarali1996,

The first sentence (have always answered) tells us about your behaviour up to now. It does not tell us what might happen in the future. In fact, you might say this to highlight a change:

I have always answered his letters but from now on I'm going to ignore them.

You can read more about this form (the present perfect) on this page.

 

The second sentence (always answer) describes your typical behaviour. It tells us that it is normal for you to answer the letters.

You can read more about this form (the present simple) on this page.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

can anyone tell me where is the main verb in this sentence "I’m sure you could ask him"
I'm still confuse about be as an auxiliary or a main verb and whether infinitive belongs to verb or not.

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