Present Tense

The simple present tense expresses a general truth or a customary action.

  • The sun rises in the east
  • Uncle Joe wears glasses.
  • Ducks love water.
  • The children go to school by bus.
  • Mary enjoys singing.
  • Peter sometimes lends me his bike.
  • Cows eat grass.
  • Monkeys like bananas.
  • Tom collects stamps.
  • The earth goes around the sun.
  • It often snows in winter.
  • We always wash our hands before meals.
  • We eat three meals a day.
  • Father takes the dog for a walk every morning.

Use the simple present tense to talk about things that are planned for the future.

  • Melanie starts school tomorrow.
  • Next week I go to summer camp.
  • The train departs in five minutes.
  • We join the senior scout troop in July this year.
  • My big brother leaves school at 4 o’clock.
  • The new supermarket opens next Friday.
  • The new grammar book comes out in September.
  • Grandad retires next year.
  • We fly to London next Thursday.
  • The plane lands at 5:30 P.M.
  • We move to our new house in a month.
  • My big sister begins her summer job next week.

Present Progressive Tense

When do you use the present progressive tense? To talk about actions in the present, or things that are still going on or happening now.

  • I am writing a letter.
  • Mom is knitting a sweater for Sally.
  • The phone is ringing.
  • I’m playing chess with my friend.
  • She's riding a horse.
  • He’s taking a walk in the park.
  • The man’s counting the money.
  • They are practicing tai chi.
  • We’re rushing to the airport to meet Mr. Smith.
  • They are still sleeping.
  • They are swimming in the sea.
  • What are they doing?
  • What’s happening?
  • Why aren’t you doing your homework?
  • Aren’t I sitting up straight?

Form the present progressive tense like this:

  • am + present participle
  • is + present participle
  • are + present participle

The present participle is the form of a verb ending with -ing. For example:

  • show + ing = showing
  • come + ing = coming

You have to double the last letter of some verbs before you add -ing. For example:

  • get + ing = getting
  • rob + ing = robbing
  • nod + ing = nodding
  • stop + ing = stopping
  • jog + ing = jogging
  • swim + ing = swimming

The verbs above are all short verbs of just one syllable. They all end with a consonant such as b, d, g, m, p, t and have only one vowel before the consonant.

If a verb ends in e, you usually have to drop the e before you add -ing. For example:

  • chase + ing = chasing
  • cycle + ing = cycling
  • drive + ing = driving
  • smile + ing = smiling

Use the present progressive tense to talk about things you have planned to do, or things that are going to happen in the future. To form the present progressive tense, use am, is and are as helping verbs or auxiliary verbs.

  • When are you taking me to the zoo?
  • We are having a barbecue later this evening.
  • We are going camping tomorrow.
  • I’m starting piano lessons soon.
  • Jim’s parents are taking him to Texas next week.
  • My favorite TV program is starting in a minute.
  • All our friends are coming.
  • Who’s bringing salad for the barbecue? I am.
  • I am visiting Joe next week.
  • Where are you going for your vacation?
  • What are we eating for dinner?

Present Perfect Tense

Use the present perfect tense to talk about happenings in the past that explain or affect the present. The verbs have and has are used as "helping" or auxiliary verbs to form the present perfect tense.

  • Sam has scored two goals.
  • I’ve just finished my shower.
  • Uncle Tom has lost his wallet.
  • John has gone out.
  • The Lees have moved to Ohio.
  • It has not rained for months.
  • Have you found your keys yet?
  • Tim has made two spelling mistakes.
  • They have opened a new shop.
  • It’s been very wet today.

To form the present perfect tense, join have or has to the past participle of the verb:

  • have + past participle
  • has + past participle

The past participle of a regular verb usually ends in -ed, just like the simple past tense. But the past participles of irregular verbs don't follow this rule.