The present tense) is the tense (that is, the form of the verb) that may be used to express:
・action at the present
・a state of being
・an occurrence in the (very) near future
・an action that occurred in the past and continues up to the present.
The English present tense has the following aspects:
1. Simple aspect
2. Progressive aspect ( continuous aspect)
3. Perfect aspect
4. Perfect progresseive aspect (perfect continuous aspect)
1. I (do) work.
2. I am working.
3. I have worked.
4. I have been working.
・You only speak English.
・Do you only speak English?
*For positive sentences, we do not normally use the auxiliary.
Use the Simple Present to express the idea that an action is repeated or usual.
The action can be a habit, a hobby, a daily event, a scheduled event or something that often happens. It can also be something a person often forgets or usually does not do. We use it to makegeneral statements about repeated activities (such as things you do every day, every week, every summer, etc.)
The simple present is also often used in combination with adverbs of frequency:
The Simple Present can also indicate the speaker believes that a fact was true before, is true now, and will be true in the future. It is not important if the speaker is correct about the fact. It is also used to make generalizations about people or things.
Speakers occasionally use Simple Present to talk about scheduled events in the near future. This is most commonly done when talking about public transportation, but it can be used with other scheduled events as well.
Speakers sometimes use the Simple Present to express the idea that an action is happening or is not happening now. This can only be done with Non-pregressive Verbs and certain Mixed Verbs.
The simple present is often employed in newspaper headlines
・Oldest man alive wins an olympic race or Stock markets crash
The simple present is employed in conditional sentences
・If he finds your sweets, he'll eat them!
Here comes … etc.
・Here comes the bus.
・There goes your girl friend.
・Here he comes.
・There you are.
The present progressive is used to talk about present situations which we see as short-term or temporary. We use the present simple to talk about present situations which we see as long-term or permanent.
・You are still watching TV.
・Are you still watching TV?
Use the Present progressive with Dynamic Verbs to express the idea that something is happening now, at this very moment. It can also be used to show that something is not happening now.
We use the present progressive to talk about temporary actions and situations that are going on ‘around now’.
In English, "now" can mean: this second, today, this month, this year, this century, and so on.
Sometimes, we use the Present progressive to say that we are in the process of doing a longer action which is in progress; however, we might not be doing it at this exact second.
Sometimes, speakers use the Present progressive to indicate that something will or will not happen in the near future.
The Present Progressive with words such as "always" or "constantly" expresses the idea that something irritating or shocking often happens.
Notice that the meaning is like Simple Present, but with negative emotion. Remember to put the words "always" or "constantly" between "be" and "verb+ing."
The present perfect has perfect aspect, which means that it is used to refer to a subject's past actionsor states while keeping the subject in a present state of reference or in a present state of mind. Therefore, in English, the following logic helps to understand the tense: Think of the words in the construction separately: "have" (or "has") is in the present, and the past participle is in the past. For example
"I have gone to the cinema" implies that the subject has completed a certain action (this is what "gone to the cinema" relates), but that the subject is, in a sense, "holding" or "possessing" that completed action in the present time (this is what "I have" relates to).
In other words, the subject is in a current state (now), and a past action that the subject has done or a past state that the subject has been in, is being referred to from the current state of the subject, which is the present time.
This differs from the simple past tense,
"I went to the cinema", which implies only that an action happened, with the subject having norelationship at all to the present.
・The boy saw the car.
(Emphasis is on the fact that the boy saw the car.)
・The boy has seen the car.
(Emphasis is on the present state of the boy, resulting from the fact that he saw the car.)
・I left Brazil eight years ago.
・I have left Brazil for now.
In summary, both the present perfect tense and simple past tense are used for past actions or states, but the present perfect describes the present state of the subject as a result of a past action or state
(i.e., the subject is being talked about in the present),
whereas the simple past describes solely a past action or state of the subject (i.e., the subject is being talked about in the past).
The present perfect simple is often used with
・over the last few years(months)
・You have only been waiting here for one hour.
・Have you only been waiting here for one hour?
We use the Present Perfect to say that an action happened at an unspecified time before now.
The exact time is not important.
You can not use the Present Perfect with specific time expressions such as: yesterday, one year ago,last week, when I was a child, when I lived in Japan, at that moment, that day, one day, etc.
We can use the Present Perfect with unspecific expressions such as: ever, never, once, many times,several times, before, so far, already, yet, etc.
With Stative Verbs , we use the Present Perfect to show that something started in the past and has continued up until now. "For five minutes," "for two weeks," and "since Tuesday" are all durations which can be used with the Present Perfect.
We use the present perfect progressive to talk about situations which started in the past and are still going on, or which have just stopped and have present results.
Present progressive vs. Present perfect progressive
Both the present perfect progressive and present progressive can be used to talk about situations which started in the past and are still going on. The difference is that the present perfect progressive has an ‘up to now’ focus. It is common when we are talking about how long a situation has lasted.
・It is raining again.
・It has been raining since Christmas.
(NOT It is raining since Christmas.)
・I am learning English.
・I have been learning English for two years.
(NOT I am learning English for two years.)
Present perfect vs. Present perfect progressive
Both the present perfect and present perfect progressive can be used to talk about recent actions and situations that have present results. There is an important difference. The present perfect progressive focuses on the idea of continuity. The present perfect, on the other hand, looks more at the ideas of completion.
・I have been painting the house. (focus on continuous activity)
・I have painted two rooms since lunchtime.
・I have been reading your book. (focus on continuous activity)
・I have read your book. (focus on completion)
The present perfect progressive is often used with
・over the last few months
・You have only been waiting here for one hour.
・Have you only been waiting here for one hour?
We use the present perfect continuous tense to talk about an action that started in the past and is continuing now. This is often used with for or since.
We can use the present perfect progressive to refer to an action that has finished but you can still see evidence.Without the duration, the tense has a more general meaning of "lately.
We often use the words "lately" or "recently" to emphasize this meaning.
It is not possible to use the continuous form with verbs expressing knowledge or opinion. As for the difference in meaning between using the continuous and the simple form, it often depends on whether the speaker thinks the state is likely to be temporary or permanent.
Thus an expatriate might say, 'I've been living in Hong Kong for years,' as he (she) perceives him(herself) to be a temporary resident here, even though he (she) may have lived here a long time.
It is also not possible to use it with verbs of perception like 'see' and 'hear' unless they are being usedin the sense of actions. For example a manager might say, ' I've been seeing a lot of my sales staff recently.' (i.e. meeting or talking with them) or, ' I've been hearing a lot of good things about your work recently.' (i.e. people have told him).
We prefer the present perfect progressive to talk about more temporary actions and situations; when we talk about longer-lasting or permanent situations we often use the present perfect.
・He has been standing at the gate all day.
・For 1000 years the castle has stood on the hill above the village.
・I have been living in Mumbai for the last month.
・My parents have lived in Chennai all their lives.
We use "since" when we are talking about when the action or state started:
Since can be a preposition (since five o'clock) or a conjunction (since I met her).
Use normally perfect (progeressive) tense
But since can also be used in the structure "It is [period] since...":
・It is a year since I saw her.
・How long is it since you got married?
・I have lived here since my childhood.
・I haven’t seen him since last week.
・He has been working since he arrived.
We use "for" when we are talking about the duration of an action or state:
For is a preposition here. For can be used with all tenses.
・They study for two hours every day.
・They are studying for three hours today.
・He has lived in Bangkok for a long time.
・He has been living in Paris for three months.
・I worked at that bank for five years.
・Will the universe continue for ever?
Both for and since also have other meanings.
・This is for you. (intended to belong to)
・Is this the train for London?(for the purpose of going to)
・This is a nife for cutting bread. (meant to be used in this way)
・He wouldn't apologize; and just for that, she refused to help him.
・I will stand in for him.(on behalf of)
・I'm saving for a car.(to obtain)
・All I want is for you to be happy.(that)
・Since you ask, I'll say yes. (because: conjunction)
・I had seen him previously, but hadn't seen him since.
(From a specified time in the past : adverb)
"ago" means, literally, at a certain time before "now."
"Ago" is used to explain the time between the present and the time that something happened. It tells us when and gives us a time or a date. Because you're referring to a specific time in the past,
the simple past tense is used.
・It was two years ago that I first met Alice.
・I saw him two months ago.
Ago always counts back from the present time.
Note that if we are counting back from a past time, before or earlier or previously are used, not ago:
Before means "earlier than something else"
We normally use the present perfect tense because the effect of meeting or seeing someone or being somewhere is still felt in the present.
Simple past is also possible because we are talking about unknown occasions in the past, but it is less likely:
・I think I have seen him before.
・She (had) left before I arrived.
・Our secound visit to America was in 1993, and our first visit was 3 years before (=1990).
・It happend many years ago, before the war.
Before can be used as a conjunction or preposition as well as an adverb.
If before is used as a conjunction, it often connects two clauses together which discuss past events.
But note that it can also be used with a present tense in the subordinate clause to indicate future activity.
・They left the dining table before I had finished my meal.
・Clean your teeth before you go to bed.
・The roof must be repaired before the rain starts.
・I shall read all the reports before I decide what action to take.
It can also link clauses denoting habitual current activity with the simple present:
・I always shave before I take a shower.
・You must take off your shoes before you enter the mosque.
before vs. in front of
If before is used as a preposition, it usually refers to time, not to place when in front of is preferred. Compare the following:
・To stay young and beautiful, try to get to bed before midnight each night. To stay in shape, I try to go for a jog and a swim in the sea every morning before breakfast.
・There were so many tall people in front of me that I could see nothing of the procession as it passed by.