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
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If you look down the page a little, you will see a discussion of the first sentence.

Can you please tell us a bit more about what you don't understand in the second sentence? I can tell you that it is probably both from a film or book review and McEwan is the director or author.

Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by mohamedzezoo on Wed, 28/03/2012 - 07:23



i can't understand ------why?

Submitted by Jeremy Bee on Sun, 06/05/2012 - 13:28

In reply to by mohamedzezoo


Hello mohamedzezoo!


Sorry to hear you are having problems. Can you tell me which part of the exercises you can't understand?  I will try to explain.




Jeremy Bee
The Learn English Team

Submitted by Carlos Andrés … on Thu, 22/03/2012 - 22:42



Could anyone help me to understand this phrase from the test, please?

"Brando plays an ex-boxer standing up to corrupt bosses."

Thank you

Submitted by me_ashesh on Mon, 30/01/2012 - 06:09


Media Mission News is an online news portal run by Media Mission Nepal. or Media Mission News is an online news portal ran by Media Mission Nepal.

Help me pls