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Linguapress English Grammar

Present tenses in English

Different types of present tense in English 

English uses two forms of the present, the Present simple and the Present progressive. This page looks at verbs in the active voice. See The Passive for forms of the present tenses in the passive voice.

► Interactive verb quiz  Test your tenses: present tense.  

1. The present simple 

In short, the Present Simple is used to express:
   a) permanent states and permanent truths.
   b) repetitive actions
   c) instant actions.

1.1. The present simple affirmative

It is formed using the root form of the verb : there is only one ending to add, an S on the third person singular, or ES onto verbs ending in -s, -sh, -x, and - o

Sample verbs 1st sing. 2nd sing. 3rd sing. 1st plural 2nd plural 3rd plural
Bring I bring you bring he, she, it brings we bring you bring they bring
Do I  do you do he, she, it does we do you do they do
Pass I  pass you pass he, she, it passes we pass you pass they pass

1.2. The present simple negative

For all verbs, the present simple negative is formed using the root of the verb, and the auxiliary do in the negative form: do not and does not are normally contracted in spoken English, and may also be contracted in the written language.
Sample verbs 1st sing. 2nd sing. 3rd sing. 1st plural 2nd plural 3rd plural
Bring I don't bring you don't bring he, she, it doesn't bring we don't bring you don't bring they don't bring
Speak I  don't speak you don't speak he, she, it doesn't speak we don't speak you don't speak they don't speak

   a1) I like apples, but I don't like oranges.
   a2) I live in London, and I work for a big bank.
   a3) Flowers grow well in a warm sunny climate.
   a4) Tomorrow never comes
   b1) My brother often goes to London.
   b2) It snows in winter in New York.
   b3) I get up at 6 every morning.
   c1) Oh, I understand what you mean.
   c2) And now Beckham gets the ball, he shoots, and he scores

2. The present progressive 

In short, the Present Progressive is used to express:
   a) developing  situations.
   b) actions that are actually taking place.
   c) future actions.

2.1. The present progressive affirmative

This is  formed using the present participle of the verb and the present tense of to be.  The present participle is formed by adding -ing to the root (or to the root minus its final -e for verbs ending in e). The auxiliary is usually contracted in spoken English (as in the second line of examples).
Sample verbs 1st sing. 2nd sing. 3rd sing. 1st plural 2nd plural 3rd plural
Stand I am standing you are standing he, she, it is standing we are standing you are standing they are standing
Take I'm taking you're taking he, she, it's taking we're taking you're taking they're taking

2.2. The present progressive negative

The negative is formed by adding the particle not :  there are two different ways of contracting the present progressive negative, as illustrated by the two lines of examples for the verb take. Contracted forms are normally used in spoken English, and may be used in the written language too.
Sample verbs 1st sing. 2nd sing. 3rd sing. 1st plural 2nd plural 3rd plural
Stand I am not standing you are not standing he, she, it is not standing we are not standing you are not standing they are not standing
Take I'm not taking you're not taking he, she, it's not taking we're not taking you're not taking they're not taking
Take you aren't taking he, she, it isn't taking we aren't taking you aren't taking they aren't taking
► Click here for more on negative structures
  a1) John is getting better.
   a2) The weather isn't improving.
   b1) This week I am working in New York.
   b2) Look! That man's stealing my car!
   b3) Slow down, you're going too fast!
   c1) He's not going on holiday tomorrow.
   c2) He said he's retiring next year. 

Verbs that are never used in the progressive form

Note: some verbs are almost never used in the present progressive - notably certain verbs of permanent state, such as know, be, like, exist.
   We can say: I know the train is arriving late.
   We cannot say: I am knowing the train is arriving late.

3. Present simple vs. present progressive:

A contrastive example :
This sentence is a clear example of the difference in usage between the two forms:
  I eat hamburgers, but I'm not eating a hamburger right now.

► Online verb quiz Test your tenses: present tense.  

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