Present Tense

Present Tense

Present tense is used to talk about actions or events that are happening in the present.
There are further four forms of this tense, all these forms are discussed in detail below which includes both their structure and use.

1. Present Indefinite Tense

It is one of the four forms of Present Tense, which is generally used to talk about routine work and general truths. There are other uses also which will be discussed below in this article.

It is also called Simple Present.

Structure:

Simple sentence(Declarative)- S + V1/(V1+s/es) + O.
Negative sentence- S + Do/Does + Not + V1 + O.
Interrogative sentence – Do/Does + S + V1 +O?
Question word(QW) Interrogative – QW + Do/Does + S + V1 + O? (exception-Which)
Negative Interrogative – Do/Does + S + Not + V1 + O?

You can also see the Tense chart which is given under the post Tenses: Introduction.

Now sentences based on the above structures are:

  1. I read the newspaper daily.
    He reads a newspaper daily.
  2. I do not read a newspaper daily.
    He does not read a newspaper daily.
  3. Do I read a newspaper daily?
    Does he read a newspaper daily?
  4. Where do I read a newspaper?
    Where does he read a newspaper?
  5. Do I not read a newspaper daily?   or  Don’t I read a newspaper daily?
    Does he not read a newspaper daily?   or  Doesn’t he read a newspaper daily?

The structure of the Present Indefinite tense is really simple you just have to keep in mind that the first form of the verb takes ‘s’ or ‘es’ with it when the Subject mentioned is the Third person singular pronoun(he, she, it) or a Singular Noun.

Third-person singular pronoun or singular noun – V1+s/es.

for example-
He comes home at 7 pm.
She works at my company.
It designs book covers.
Mr. Parker leaves office at 7 pm. (Subject – singular noun)

Rest of the pronouns and plural nouns just simply take the first form of the verb.

for example-

I come home at 7 pm.
We go to the park daily.
They visit us every Sunday.
Vehicles emit harmful gases.

In the case of interrogative, negative and negative interrogative sentences, ‘does‘ is used with the third person singular pronoun(he, she, it) and a singular noun.

Whereas ‘Do‘ is used with the rest of the pronouns and plural nouns.

for example-
Alina does not sing.
They do not participate in the games.
Does it happen every year?
Do people like him?

Consider the following sentences:

He is a teacher at our school.
Honey is sweet.
I am very happy today.

These sentences are also simple present.

Simple Present is also called present indefinite tense because they refer to the present time(and there is no sense of completeness or continuity).

Uses of Present Indefinite

1. To express routine works or habitual action.

for example:
She runs in the park every evening.
John plays with his daughter in the evening.
I go to bed at 11 pm.
We exercise together in the gym.

2. To express universal truths or general truths or facts.

for example:
Earth moves around the Sun.
Two plus two makes four.
Trees give us oxygen.
The Sun sets in the west.

3. To express future events that will happen according to a fixed timetable or a scheduled program.

for example:
The show starts at 8 pm.
When does the store close?
The next movie is at 10 am tomorrow morning.
The flight takes off at 4:30.

4. Present indefinite is used to talk about the future with future indefinite tense, in time clause and condition.

for example:
He will not come until you call him.
I shall visit the church before the bell rings.
She will pick up the phone as soon as I call her.
If he does not come, we will not play.
If John invites us, we shall go.
If you keep running for an hour, you will be exhausted.

5. In sports commentaries, where the actions finish as soon as commentators have said the sentences and where there is stress on the succession of actions rather than duration.

for example:
The first ball, Sachin drives to the midwicket fielder and takes a single.
Second ball, Sachin plays and misses, the ball goes through to the wicketkeeper.
Ronaldo hits an outswinger from the corner and winds up on Goncalo head near the penalty spot but misses the target.

2. Present Continuous Tense

This form of Present Tense is used to talk about an action or an event that is going on at the time of speaking.

Structure:

Simple sentence(Declarative)- S + is/am/are +V1+ing + O.
Negative sentence- S +is/am/are + Not + V1+ing + O.
Interrogative sentence – is/am/are + S + V1+ing +O?
Question word(QW) Interrogative – QW + is/am/are + S + V1+ing + O?
Negative Interrogative – is/am/are + S + Not + V1+ing + O?

Read the following sentences:

  1. I am reading an article.
    He is writing a paragraph.
    They are waiting for me.
  2.  I am not writing an essay.
    Rohan is not going to school.
    Teachers are teaching in the class.
  3. Am I disturbing you?
    Is she participating in the game?
    Are you listening to music?
  4. Why am I dancing with him?
    Where is she learning this art?
    When are they performing now?
  5. Am I not studying hard?
    Is Helen not talking to you?
    Are they not celebrating Christmas?

Above examples show the structure of the Present Continuous tense in different sentences. In this tense you have to use is, am and are as helping verbs depending upon the subject.

Am is used with I, ‘is‘ is used with a singular noun & pronoun and ‘are‘ is used with a plural noun & pronoun.

The base form of the verb is used with ‘-ing‘ in this form of tense.

Uses of Present Continuous:

1. To talk about an action which is going on at the time of speaking.

for example:
John is playing football.
She is preparing her speech.
They are performing at the stage.

2. To talk about an event has already arranged to happen in the near future.

for example:
They are taking a cab to the hotel.
The President is meeting his counterpart tomorrow.
My grandfather is arriving in the evening.
I am not going to the playground in the evening.

3. To talk about temporary actions or events(which may not be actually happening at the moment).

for example:
She is reading ‘The Alchemist’.
Jake is working in a hotel this month.

4. To talk about any obstinate habit which persists or to express irritation(of a speaker) about a repeated action.

for example:
He is always complaining about his company.
She is constantly violenting the policies.
He is continually donating money to the charity.

*5. Some verbs are not normally used in the continuous form, such as:
  1. Verbs of perception, such as – recognize, hear, smell, see, hear, taste.
  2. Verbs of thinking, such as – imagine, mean, think, believe, consider, suppose, forget, know, understand, trust, agree, remember, mind.
  3. Verbs of appearing, such as – seem, appear, look
  4. Verbs of emotion, such as – desire, love, hate, feel, want, wish, hope, refuse, prefer.
  5. own, belong to, contain, have(possess), contain, consist of, be (except when used in the passive)

This room is smelling good. (wrong)
This room smells good.

He is seeming happy. (wrong)
He seems happy.

They are thinking this is the right answer.  (wrong)
They think this is the right answer.

However, the verbs can be used in the continuous tense with a change of meaning.

He is thinking of choosing our college.
He is having dinner at the hotel.

3. Present Perfect Tense:

This form of tense is generally used to talk about the actions completed in the immediate past.

Structure:

Simple sentence(Declarative)- S + Has/have + V3 + O.
Negative sentence- S + Has/have + Not + V3 + O.
Interrogative sentence – Has/have + S + V3 +O?
Question word(QW) Interrogative – QW + Has/have + S + V3 + O?
Negative Interrogative – Has/have + S + Not + V3+ O?

Read the following sentences representing the different sentences of the present perfect tense:

  1. I have finished my assignment.
    You have played very well.
    He has packed his bag.
  2. We have not arranged the books yet.
    They have not captured the image.
    She has not spoken to him yet.
  3. Have I delivered the parcel?
    Have all the people left the building?
    Has it helped you in any way?
  4. When have you finished the assignment?
    Why have they joined this team recently?
    Where has he hidden my gift?
  5. Have I not finished my assignment?  Or  Haven’t I finished my assignment?
    Have you not captured the photo?  Or  Haven’t you captured the photo?
    Has he not helped you?  Or  Hasn’t he helped you?

In the present perfect tense helping verb ‘has’ is used with the third person singular pronoun(he, she, it) and singular noun, all other pronouns, and nouns take ‘have’ as a helping verb.

The third form of a verb(past participle) is used in this form of tense

Uses of Present Perfect:

1. To express an action or activity completed in the immediate past.

for example:
I have just made an online transaction.
He has just asked me about you.
We have just arrived at the hotel.
John has just finished his exercise.

2. To talk about past actions whose time is not definite or not given.

for example:
I have read the novel you gave me.
Has he watched this movie?
They have joined the sports club.

3. To express an action that started sometime in the past and continuing up to the present moment.

for example:
She has been ill since Friday.
We have known each other for a long time.
They have not talked to us for two years.
He has not called his dad since last week.

4. To talk about past events when you think more of their effect in the present time.

for example:
I have lost my wallet.
The train has left the station.
David has eaten all bananas.  (there are not any left for others)

4. Present Perfect Continuous:

This tense is used to talk about an action or event which began at some time in the past and is still going on.

for example:
She has been packing her bag since morning.
You have been walking for two hours.
I have been living in this city since the year 2000.
John has been teaching at this college for six months.

Structure:

Simple sentence(Declarative)- S + Has/have + been + V1+ing + O.
Negative sentence- S + Has/have + Not + been + V1+ing + O.
Interrogative sentence – Has/have + S + been + V1+ing +O?
Question word(QW) Interrogative – QW + Has/have + S + been + V1+ing + O?
Negative Interrogative – Has/have + S + Not + been + V1+ing + O?

Read the following sentences:

  1. I have been studying in this institute for two months.
    He has been preparing for the exam since last month.
  2. She has not been attending her classes for 2 days.
    We have not been playing since Monday.
  3. Has she been working on the project for 4 months?
    Have you been surfing the internet since evening?
  4. What have you been teaching in the class since January?
    Where has he been roaming for three hours?
  5. Has she not been walking in the park since 6 am?
    Have you not been cooking food for 15 minutes?

Has‘ and ‘have‘ are used as helping verb in this tense whose use we have discussed earlier in this article(under Present Perfect Tense), in addition to these two ‘been’ is also used in it as you can see in the above examples.

‘Since’ is used for the point of time such as- October, 1997, 9 am, last month, Tuesday etc and ‘for‘ is used for the period of time such as- two years, three months, two hours, four weeks etc.

So this is all about the Present tense. You can discuss it on our facebook page.

Thanks for reading:)

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