Use of Present Tense

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Learn to Speak Fluent English: Use of Present Tense

In the previous unit you have learnt about Regular Verbs and their three different forms. In this unit you will learn about the ‘Use of Present Tense‘.

We use tenses to express the time of the event or the action. Time and tense are not the same but they are interrelated. In English there are three tenses—present, past and future. Each tense has four forms: simple, continuous, perfect and perfect continuous. The following table shows the different forms of the tenses for the verb ‘give’. Similarly other verbs, both regular and irregular, change as given in the table below.

Table showing different forms of the tenses for the verb ‘give’

Simple Continuous perfect Perfect continuous
  Present   give   am/is/ +    giving   have/has + given   have/has + been + giving
  Past   gave   was/were +       giving   had given   had been giving
  Future   will/shall + give   will/shall +       be giving   will/shall + have given  

This table shows how a verb can be used in the present, past and future in its different forms. In this unit you will learn the use of different forms of each tense.

Present Tense

There are four forms of the Present TensePresent Simple, Present Continuous, Present Perfect and Present Perfect Continuous.

Present Simple Tense

We use Present Simple Tense to talk about actions which take place in the present. In this tense, we use the base form of the verb (e.g. come, go and so on) with ‘I, you, we and they’. With ‘he, she, it or any name’, we add ‘s’ or ‘es’ to the base form (e.g. give—gives, play—-plays, do—-does, go—–goes). Verbs ending in ‘y’ change as follows:

study—-studies, try—–tries

I study regularly.              
She likes roses. 
The dog bites.

Use of Present Simple Tense

Present Simple Tense is used–

  • To talk about an action which is habitual or often repeated. With Present Simple we use–daily, regularly, always, every morning/day/week/year and so on.

I do yoga every morning.
He reads the newspaper daily.
They always drink coffee.

  • To talk about an action which represents general truths and proverbs.

The Sun rises in the East.
All that glitters is not gold.
The Earth revolves round the Sun.

  • To describe people, places, animals and things.

Paris is a beautiful city.
Peacock is a beautiful bird.
There are many chairs in this room.

  • In explanations and demonstrations.

Kabaddi refers to a game.
To make a cup of tea, pour a cup of water into a kettle. Add a teaspoonful of tea leaves and boil it for a few minutes…….

Present Continuous Tense

We use Present Continuous Tense to talk about an action which is ‘happening’ now.  It means that at the moment of speaking the action is incomplete and still continuing. It is formed with ‘am, is, are’ plus ‘ base form of the verb’ plus ‘ing’.

am/is/are + Base form of the verb + ing

I am reading a book.
She is singing a song.
We are playing a game.

Use of Present Continuous Tense

Present Continuous Tense is used–

  • To talk about future plan of action, arrangement and intention.

I am going to meet a friend.
He is planning to visit Delhi.
We are preparing for the exam.

Present Perfect Tense

We use Present Perfect Tense for an action which is just over in the present. It is formed with ‘have or has’ plus past participle form of the verb.

have/has + past participle

I have completed my work.
They have won the match.
She has understood the lesson.
Use of Present Perfect Tense

Use of Present Perfect Tense

We use Present Perfect Tense

  • To talk about an action just over in the present with a time indicator—just now, recently, already, yet, still, this minute, this morning and so on.

The Prime Minister has arrived in Hyderabad just now.
I have visited the museum recently.
We have seen him this morning.

To talk about length of time, we often use ‘for or since’ with present perfect. To refer to ‘period of time’ we use ‘for’ and to refer to ‘point of time‘ we use ‘since’.

Period of Time  Point of Time 
  for 30 minutes  since 6 p.m
  for seven days  since Sunday
  for four months  since January
  for four years   since 2005
  for two hours   since last month

I have studied for ten years.
I have worked since 2003.
She has spoken for ten minutes.

Present Perfect Continuous Tense

We use Present Perfect Continous Tense to talk about an action which may have started in the past or in the present but the effect continues at the time of speaking. It refers to an action which is not completed. It is formed with ‘have/has’ plus ‘been’ plus ‘base form of the verb’ plus ‘ing’.

Have/has + been + present simple + ing

I have been cooking all day.
Srinivas has been suffering from fever.
It has been raining.

Use of Present Perfect Continuous Tense

Present Perfect Continuous Tense is used–

  • To talk about length of time, we often use ‘for or since’ with present perfect. To refer to ‘period of time’ we use ‘for’ and to refer to point of time we use ‘since’.

I have been suffering from fever since Monday.
I have been working for one week.
She has been attending the class since one month.

Previous: Regular Verbs

Next: Use of Past Tense

Check the meanings of the words in English Oxford Living Dictionaries