The Simple Present
Table of Content
Types of Present Tense
The Present Tense is of Four Types;-
- Present Indefinite tense
- Present continuous tense
- Present perfect tense
- And, present perfect continuous tense
The Simple Present Tense and its Uses
Construction: base form (with added for the third person)
Passive: am/is/are + past participle
The simple present tense is used to talk about something that happens always, regularly, often, sometimes, or never.
- I take a bath every morning.
- We never cross the road without looking both ways.
- I occasionally meet Amit for a coffee in town.
- The rubbish is collected once a week.
The simple present tense is used to state facts or say something you know about a person or thing.
- Ritu is a doctor.
- Neha has two sisters.
- The Earth goes around the sun.
- The petrol tank holds 10 liters.
You use the simple present when you use a verb such as a promise, think, hope, like, and so on.
- I admit I was wrong.
- I agree with you entirely.
- I hate making decisions.
- Mom prefers cold weather.
You use the simple present tense to talk about things that have been scheduled for the future.
- The train departs in ten minutes.
- Grandfather retires next year.
You can use you + the simple present to give instructions in a friendly way.
You take the first left, then you go on to the traffic lights and turn right.
Similarly, you can ask the instructions in the simple present.
Where do we buy our air tickets?
Newspaper headlines reporting very recent events often use the simple present.
- Amitabh flies to America.
- Indian team wins the World Cup.
Sports commentators on radio and television use the simple present tense.
- Lavi passes the ball to Kiran.
- Tendulkar crosses the line, closely followed by the wicketkeeper.
In a similar way, the explanations (called captions) underneath the pictures in magazines and newspapers usually use the simple present.
- Children from our school demonstrate their communication skills.
- Delegates from all parts of Germany arrive at the National seminar.
The Present Continuous Tense and its Uses
Construction: am/is/are + present participle
Passive: am/is/are +being+ past participle
You use the present continuous tense to talk about activities in the present, or things that are going on or happening now.
- A new hall is being constructed inside a huge building.
- Are you listening to me?
Notice the difference between an ongoing activity in the present, expressed by the present continuous, and a
regular or frequent activity in the present, expressed by the simple present:
Dad’s listening to a program-he often listens to programs on the radio.
Likewise, notice the difference between a permanent situation, expressed by the simple present, and a
a temporary one, expressed by the present continuous
- Joana lives in Delhi.
- Joana is living with us till her apartment is ready to move into.
Verbs that represent gradual change are often in the present continuous.
For example; The children are growing so fast.
You can indicate repeated activity in the present by using forever or always with the present continuous; this is often an expression of frustration.
- The males are forever dominating.
- She is always praising about herself and her achievements.
You use the present continuous tense to talk about things that have already been arranged or decided on for the future.
For example; My cousins are coming to stay with us next week.
The present continuous can express determined resolve or insistence with reference to the future.
- I’m not taking any more favors from him.
- “Mom, I’m going out now.’ ‘Oh no, you’re not – you’re staying here till you finish your lunch.’
The present continuous of go’ is used with a to-infinitive to express intensions and predications.
- Are you going to play with them?
- This work is going to cause long delays.
The Present Perfect Tense and its Uses
Construction:have/has + past participle
Passive:have/has+been + past participle
When you are speaking in the present-tense, you often use the present perfect to refer to happenings that are in the past but affect or explain the present situation or explain your comments about it.
- I’m afraid, I can’t pay for the drinks—I’ve lost my purse.
- You’re much tired – have you been on holiday?
You use the present perfect for an ongoing situation that began in the past and still continues.
- I’ve worked for ten years. (and I’m still working here)
- Grandpa has worked all his adult life.
You use the present perfect for individual, occasional or repeated events in the past, with the implication that they could go on occurring.
- Rahul has failed his maths test six times. (but he’s trying again)
- My friends have often mentioned you to me.
- ‘Do I know you?”No, we‘ve never met before.’
Notice that using the simple past implies that the events will not be repeated.
For example; Rahul failed his maths test six times. (he passed at the seventh attempt)
In British English, the present perfect usually accompanies already, yet and just.
- Veronika has just called to invite us on Friday.
- Have you made any holiday plans yet?
The present perfect is used in some cases interchangeable with the simple present after the conjunctions when, after, before, as soon as, until and if when referring to the future or present.
- When I’ve finished my work, I’ll be able to take a rest.
- I’ll be setting off before the sun has risen.
The Present Perfect Continuous Tense and its Uses
Construction: have/has+been + present participle
Passive: have/has+been+being+ past participle
You use the present perfect continuous tense to talk about ongoing activities that began in the past and are still continuing.
- Malini has been living in this country since 1986.
- It’s been raining all day.
- You’re out of breath-have you been playing?
The present perfect and present perfect continuous are more or less interchangeable in some cases.
- Malini has lived (or Malini has been living) in this country since 1986.
- It‘s been raining (or it’s rained) all day.
But in other cases, the present perfect continuous implies that the process is incomplete, while the present perfect means that it has been completed.
- I‘ve been reading Martin’s new comedy. [I haven’t finished it yet]
- I‘ve read Martin’s new comedy. [I’ve finished it]
When you’re talking about individual, occasional or repeated occasions, the present perfect accompanies the mention of a number of occasions, and the present perfect continuous accompanies the mention of a period.
- I‘ve called Krish three times this morning, and there’s still no answer.
- I‘ve been phoning Krish all morning, and there’s still no answer.