PRESENT SIMPLE TENSE
Form of the present simple tense
We add –s or –es to the base form of the verb in the third singular:
He plays football.
Most verbs add –s: work/works, play/plays, drive/drives, run/runs
Verbs normally add –es when they end in –o, -s, -x, -ch and –sh: do/does, miss/misses, mix/mixes, touch/touches, wash/washes etc.
When there is a consonant before –y, then it changes into –ies: cry/cries but compare: buy/buys, say/says, obey/obeys (in these cases there is a vowel before –y and only –s is added.)
The use of Present Simple Tense
1. For general truths, to express an action or event that is permanent and often involves repetition in the past, present and probably in the future. This is the “timeless” present:
Water boils at 100 degrees. The sun rises in the east and sets in the west.
Summer follows spring. Gases expand when heated.
2. For an action or event that is regarded as permanent and that reflects current situation:
Anna works in Oak Street High School.
The present used in the above two terms is often regarded to as “neutral present”. Such present is characteristic of scientific and technical English.
3. For repeated or habitual actions or events. Such habits existed before now, and will probably continue to exist in the future.
They always take a walk in the evening. They snore heavily.
4. For daily habits:
Mary gets up at 6, has a breakfast, takes a shower and goes to work.
The English drink tea at 5 o’clock in the afternoon.
5. With frequency adverbs or adverb phrases such as: usually, often, sometimes, hardly ever, never, on Mondays, twice a week
6. Present simple tense is also used instead of Present Continuous Tense with verbs which cannot be used in the continuous form such as: keep, understand, love, believe, know etc. I know what you mean. You look as if you have seen the ghost.
7. In commentaries on radio or TV: One of the players hits the ball and it goes straight to the goal.
8. In announcements: The shop opens at 9 a.m.
9. In newspaper headlines: The USA launches another rocket into space.
10. In stage directions: Hamlet talks to himself. Enter Ghost and Hamlet.
11. In summaries: The writer describes Oliver Twist as...
12. For a planned future action or series of actions: We leave London at 11.00 and arrive in Paris at 14.00
13. Timetables and schedules: The bus leaves at 10 o’clock.
14. Repeated actions: I go to cinema every day.
15. For expressing feelings and emotions: I love you.
PRESENT CONTINOUS TENSE
Generally the continous form of a tense is used for a single temporary event that has begun and is continuing. This form occurs with verbs expressing relative duration (work, study, learn) or some stage in the development of an action either its beginning, end or its continuation.
The story is beginning (ending) now.
It is getting more and more dark.
Form of Present Continuous Tense
The tense is formed with the present of the verb be + the –ing form.
I am I’m
You are You’re
He is waiting. He’s waiting.
She is writing. She’s writing.
It is running. It’s running.
We are beginning. We’re beginning.
You are lying. You’re lying.
They are They’re
We can add –ing to most verbs without changing the spelling of their base forms. Other examples: beat/beating, carry/carrying, catch/catching, drink/drinking, enjoy/enjoying, hurry/hurrying.
If a verb ends in –e, omit the –e and add –ing. Other examples: come/coming, have/having, make/making, ride/riding, use/using. This rule does not apply to verbs ending in double e: agree/agreeing, see/seeing, or age/ageing, singe/singeing.
In case of a verb that has only one vowel which is followed by one consonant, it happens that the final consonant doubles. Other examples: hit/hitting, run/running, let/letting, get/getting, put/putting, sit/sitting.
With two-syllable verbs, the final consonant is normally doubled when the last syllable is stressed. Examples:forget/forgetting, prefer/preferring, upset/upsetting. Compare verbs in which the first syllable is stressed: benefit /benefiting, differ/differing, profit/profiting, their final consonant is not doubled.
There are just four exceptions: label/labelling, quarrel/quarrelling, signal/signalling, and travel/travelling.
Other examples: die/dying, tie/tying.
The uses of Present Continuous Tense
1. For an action happening now (real present)
Look! He’s giving that monkey a banana.
Why are you sitting there? Come over here!
2. For an action happening not at the moment of speaking but about this time:
He is writing a very interesting book these days.
She is teaching Spanish.
3. For a habitual activity, a series of repeated actions of limited duration over a limited period of time:
This winter we are cleaning the sitting-room only.
4. For a definite arrangement in the near future:
Tom is driving me home.
Are you doing anything next Sunday? -Yes, I’m meeting some old friends.
I’m visiting my grandma tomorrow.
5. With always for a frequently repeated action to express annoyance:
She is always leaving the door opened.
6. It is used instead of present simple in a slightly different meaning:
She spends a lot on her clothes. (general idea- she usually spends a lot on her clothes)
She is spending a lot on her clothes. (particular behaviour that happens temporary- she usually doesn’t do that)
Verbs not normally used in continuous tenses
The continuous tenses are chiefly used to express deliberate, intentional actions. That is why the following verbs cannot be used in the continuous tenses:
1. Verbs of senses: see, hear, smell, taste, feel, observe.
Still, verbs with similar meanings such as listen, watch, stare, gaze can be used in the continuous tenses:
He is listening to a CD and he does not hear what we are talking.
I’m watching but I can’t see anything usual.
2. Verbs expressing feelings and emotions: admire, adore, respect, appreciate, care for, desire, detest, dislike, fear, hate, like, loathe, love, mind, value, want, wish.
He admires his mother. NOT *He is admiring....
We love our parents.
3. Verbs of mental activity: assume, believe, expect, remember, forget, know, mean, perceive, realize, recall, recognize, suppose, think etc.
I understand what you mean.
We know nothing about it.
I see what you mean.
4. Verbs of possession: belong, own, possess
I owe some money to him.
PRESENT PERFECT TENSE
Form of the simple present perfect tense
The present perfect is formed with the present of have + the past participle (the third part of a verb). For regular verbs the past participle has the same form as the simple past tense: e.g. arrive, arrived, have arrived. For irregular verbs the simple past and the past participle can be formed in a variety of ways e.g. drink, drank, have drunk.
I have (I’ve)
You have (You’ve)
He has (he’s) arrived (regular verb)
She has (She’s) finished (regular verb)
It has (It’s) started (regular)
We have (We’ve) shut (irregular)
You have (You’ve) lost (irregular)
They have (They’ve) drunk (irregular)
The present perfect tense always suggests a relationship between present time and past time. So I’ve had lunch implies that I did so very recently. However, if I say I had lunch, I also have to say WHEN e.g I had lunch an hour ago. We use present perfect tense to express the action which happened in the past but we don’t know when exactly it happened, or we don’t want to say. Similarly, I’ve been here since February shows a connection between past and present, whereas I am here can only relate to present and cannot be followed by a phrase like since February.
The Present Perfect Tense is a sort of mixture of present and the past. It always implies a strong connection with the present.
The uses of the present perfect tense
It is used:
1. For recent actions when the time is not mentioned
I have read the book but I don’t understand it.
Have you had lunch?
Compare: I read the book last week.
Did you have lunch at home?
2. For recent actions having results in the present
John has washed the dishes.
Mary has had a baby. vs. Mary had a baby.
(she is at home) (she is at hospital)
3. For actions which occurred further back in the past, but may be repeated, therefore still having connection with the present:
This writer has written 6 novels. (he is going to write more)
This writer wrote six novels. (he is probably dead or stopped writing)
4. For actions occurring in an incomplete period: this incomplete period may be today, or this morning/week, month/ year/ century etc.
Compare: Tom has phoned three times this morning. (morning is still on)
Tom phoned three times this morning. (morning is over)
5. For an action that started in the past and continues up to the present.
They have not said a word during the drive.
The number of cars in the streets has increased over the last few years.
6. It is often used in formal letters:
We have carefully considered your offer sent to us and have decided to accept it.
The tense is used with
- prepositions indicating duration: during, over, in, for, since
-adverbs of time (past-to-present time): so far, up to now, until now, up to the present, all his life, in her whole life etc.
-adverbs that indicate repetition: ever, never, always, occasionally, often, sometimes, twice, three times, several times etc.
-adverbs showing that the event happened recently: just, already, yet, recently, lately, in recent years
PRESENT PERFECT CONTINUOUS TENSE
It is formed with have been + the –ing form.
I have (I’ve)
You have (You’ve)
He has (He’s)
She has (She’s)
It has (It’s) been waiting, playing, going, studying....etc.
We have (We’ve)
You have (You’ve)
They have (They’ve)
Like other continuous formed, the present perfect continuous draws attention to the duration of an action and shows that the duration of the action is limited. This time differ from other continuous forms because it shows exactly that one or more actions began at some point earlier in time (before now)
This tense is used:
1. for an action which began in the past and is either still continuing into the present or has only just finished:
Mary has been reading for two hours.
He has been learning all morning.
Somebody has been reading my letters. I put them in this drawer and now they are not here.
2. sometimes it is used for repeated events. In this case the accent is on duration of an action not on its result. We can see the difference in these examples:
He had been smoking since breakfast. (accent on duration)
He has smoked 20 cigarettes since breakfast. (accent on result)
Mary has been writing letters since 10 o’clock. (accent on duration)
Mary has written ten letters since 10 o’clock. (accent on result)
In the following examples the time of the action is not mentioned at all. The only thing that is important is whether the action is completed or still in process. This is how we can make the difference:
He has polished his car. (the action completed)
He has been polishing his car. (He started that for example in the morning and now is afternoon, and he is still polishing his car.)
He has taken some photos. (action is done)
He has been taking some photos. (He is still doing that.)
The present perfect continuous normally does NOT occur with the following adverbs (like present perfect tense does): just, already, ever, never, finally etc.
Also, it is important to know that this tense has no passive form. Its passive equivalent is the present perfect tense:
They have been building the house à The house has been built lately.
- Verbs tenses
- Present Tenses
- Present Simple Tense
- Present Continous Tense
- Present Perfect Tense
- Present Perfect Continuous Tense
- Past Tenses
- Past Simple Tense
- Past Continuous (Progressive) Tense
- Past Perfect Tense
- Future Tenses
- The Simple Future Tense
- Future Continuous Tense
- Future Perfect Tense
- Future Perfect Continous Tense
- Stative and dynamic verbs
- Transitive and intransitive verbs
- Reflexive verbs
- Full verbs and auxiliary verbs
- Modal verbs
- Indirect speech