PRESENT TENSES A brief overview PRESENT SIMPLE • It is formed with the base form of the verb => try, explain, play, arrive, phone • We add -s or -es to the base form of the verb in the third person singular => plays, arrives, explains, tries • Some verbs are irregular => have, be – I/you/we/they have, she/he/it has – I am, you/we/they are, he/she/it is Spelling of the third person singular • We usually add only -s to form the 3rd person singular of the present simple => plays, gets, snows, loves • We add -es to form the 3rd person singular when the verb ends in -o => does, -s => misses, -x => mixes, -ch => catches, -sh => wishes • In verbs ending in a consonant + -y, we change -y to -i before adding -es. – try => tries; cry => cries BUT play => plays; buy => buys Pronunciation of -s/-es ending • “-s ending” is pronounced [s] after a voiceless sound => [f], [p], [k], [t] => laughs, hopes, kicks, fits • “-s ending” is pronounced [z] after a voiced sound => [v], [b], [g], [d], [l], [m], [n], vowels, etc. => loves, robs, digs, adds, fills, dreams, runs, sees • “-es ending” is pronounced [iz] after [z], [dʒ], [s], [ʃ], [tʃ], [ks] => loses, manages, kisses, pushes, watches, relaxes PRESENT SIMPLE - negatives • We form negatives with do not/don’t + the base form of the verb => I/You/We/They do not/don’t believe him. • In the third person singular we use does not/doesn’t + the base form of the verb => He/She does not/doesn’t speak French. It does not/doesn’t take long. • We use contracted forms (don’t/doesn’t) in speech and informal writing. PRESENT SIMPLE - questions • Questions are formed with do + the base form of the verb => Do you think so? What do they think of her? • In the third person singular we use does + the base form of the verb => Does she/he live in London? How long does it take to get there? PRESENT SIMPLE is used: • to describe habits, things that happen repeatedly (I go jogging every morning. She doesn’t often stay up late. How often do you go out?) • to describe facts that are always true (The Moon goes round the Earth. Spring follows winter.) • to describe a present state which may continue indefinitely (I like chocolate. My brother works in a bank. She wears glasses.) PRESENT SIMPLE is used: • to talk about FUTURE events based on timetables, programmes or events in the calendar. (My plane takes off at 7:30 tomorrow. Does the film start at 4.30?) • after if, unless, in case, as soon as, before, after, by the time, the next time, till, until, when, etc. where we may expect a simple future (Wait, until you’re called. If it rains, I’ll stay at home.) • to make a summary of the events in a film or a book (They see each other at the ball for the first time and fall in love.) Typical time expressions used with PRESENT SIMPLE • • • • • • • • • always often frequently usually normally sometimes occasionally ever/never rarely/seldom • • • • • • • • hardly ever every day/week/month... once/twice a year... on Saturday(s)... How often...? in the morning(s)... at seven o’clock... ... PRESENT CONTINUOUS Form: be (am/is/are) + -ing form of the verb + + I’m/am leaving next Sunday. It’s/is getting late. - I’m not/am not working this week. They aren’t/are not enjoying the party. ? ? Is it snowing? Why are you looking at me like that? Spelling of the “-ing” form • We add only -ing to most verbs without changing the spelling of the base forms => playing, drinking, waiting, eating, catching, enjoying, opening • Verbs ending in -e drop the -e before adding -ing => come => coming, make => making, use => using • Verbs ending in -ie change -ie to -y => lie => lying, die => dying, tie => tying Spelling of the “-ing” form • One-syllable verbs with a single vowel followed by a single consonant double the final consonant. – stop => stopping; beg => begging; sit => sitting; run => running • We do not double the final consonant when: – the verb ends in -w, -x => snow => snowing; box => boxing – there are two consonants together => help => helping – there are two vowels together => sleep => sleeping Spelling of the “-ing” form • Two-syllable verbs double the final consonant when there is a single vowel followed by a single consonant in the last syllable and the last syllable is stressed. – be´gin => be´ginning; for´get => for´getting; • We do not double the final consonant when the last syllable is not stressed – ´open => ´opening; ´profit => ´profiting – !EXCEPTIONS! to the rule: • ´label => ´labelling; ´quarrel => ´quarelling; ´signal => ´signalling; ´travel => ´travelling PRESENT CONTINUOUS is used: • to describe actions which are in progress at the moment of speaking (They can’t come they’re just having breakfast.) • to describe actions happening “around now” not necessarily at the moment of speaking (I’m reading an excellent book at the moment.) • to describe actions which are temporary (My cousin’s living with me until she finds her own flat.) PRESENT CONTINUOUS is used: • to talk about things that are changing or developing over a period of time (It’s getting late. He’s balding.) • when we are exaggerating or complaining, especially with “always” (You’re always losing your keys.) • to refer to activities planned for the FUTURE. We usually need a time adverbial. => “personal arrangements or appointments” which may be written in a diary (I’m travelling to Dublin on Saturday. What are you doing tonight?) Typical time expressions used with PRESENT CONTINUOUS • • • • • • • • • • now at the moment for the moment at present just still this week these days nowadays ... PRESENT SIMPLE or CONTINUOUS? PRESENT SIMPLE • describes something that is permanent • describes something that is repeated (habits, routines) • describes facts that are always true • describes general situations PRESENT CONTINUOUS • describes something that is temporary not finished yet • describes something that is in progress now • describes events happening at the moment • describes a particular situation Compare: • I live in Prague. (It is my permanent home.) • I’m living in Prague. (Just for a month. My home is in Paris.) • Do you usually work a lot? (Is it your habit?) • Are you working a lot now? (What’s happening now?) • What do you do? (What’s your job?) • What are you doing here? (right now) • The water boils at 100 degrees Celsius. (a fact) • The kettle is boiling. Turn it off, please. (right now) State verbs • State verbs describe states and are not usually used in continuous tenses. • examples of state verbs are: – thinking: admit, agree, believe, consider, forget, know, mean, prefer, realise, remember, suppose, seem, think, understand – feeling: adore, admire, like, dislike, love, hate, hope, want – having: belong to, contain, have, include, own, possess – being: appear, disappear, be, exist – senses: feel, hear, look, see, smell, sound, taste – other: cost, depend on, mean, need State verbs • Some state verbs can also refer to activity. In this meaning they can be used in a continuous tense: – I think it’s a great idea. (think = believe > state) – What are you thinking about. (think = consider > activity) – We have a second-hand car. (have = possess > state) – She is having some tea. (have = drink > activity) – The soup tastes great. (state) – I’m tasting the soup to see if it needs more salt. (action) DON’T FORGET that: 1. some verbs are used only in simple tenses => state verbs (know, want, need ...) 2. when describing a picture/a photo we usually describe the scene using the PRESENT CONTINUOUS 3. PRESENT SIMPLE and PRESENT CONTINUOUS can also refer to future 4. where some languages use PRESENT TENSES, English uses PRESENT PERFECT PRESENT PERFECT SIMPLE Form: have/has + the past participle of the verb + + I’ve burnt/have burnt myself. Fred’s been/has been ill a lot recently. - I haven’t seen/have not seen Tom this morning. She hasn’t told/has not told them about the accident yet. ? ? Have you read Hamlet? How long has she known you? PAST PARTICIPLE (regular verbs) • Regular verbs add -ed to the base form of the verb. – open => opened; explain => explained • Verbs ending in -e add -d to the base form of the verb. – arrive => arrived; phone => phoned • In verbs ending in a consonant + -y, we change -y to -i before adding -ed. – try => tried; cry => cried BUT play => played; obey => obeyed PAST PARTICIPLE (regular verbs) • One-syllable verbs with a single vowel followed by a single consonant double the final consonant. – stop => stopped; beg => begged • Two-syllable verbs double the final consonant when there is a single vowel followed by a single consonant in the last syllable and the last syllable is stressed. – pre´fer => pre´ferred; ad´mit => ad´mitted – !EXCEPTIONS! to the rule: • ´label => ´labelled; ´quarrel => ´quarelled; ´signal => ´signalled; ´travel => ´travelled PAST PARTICIPLE (irregular verbs) • There are about 150 irregular verbs in English. Their past participle forms must be studied and remembered. – put-put => put; cut-cut => cut; cost-cost => cost – ring-rang => rung; sing-sang => sung; sink-sank => sunk – know-knew => known; blow-blew => blown; grow-grew => grown – learn-learnt => learnt; mean-meant => meant – write-wrote => written; drive-drove => driven – buy-bought => bought; bring-brought => brought – go-went => gone; be-was/were => been PRESENT PERFECT SIMPLE is used: TO DESCRIBE PAST EVENTS WHICH ARE CONNECTED TO THE PRESENT • to talk about experiences in our life up to now (I have never smoked. Have you ever ridden a horse? This is the first time he has driven a car. Have you been to Italy?) NOTE: If we want to say when the events happened we use the past simple. PRESENT PERFECT SIMPLE is used: • to talk about a situation that began in the past and continues until the present => unfinished past (He’s been ill for a month. I haven’t seen him since Monday.) NOTE: We often use SINCE and FOR when we refer to “unfinished past”. SINCE + point of time FOR + period of time 2015 seven years Sunday ages I was born half an hour PRESENT PERFECT SIMPLE is used: • to express a past event with a result in the present => present result I’ve lost my keys. => I haven’t got them now. They’ve already eaten. => They aren’t hungry. He hasn’t got up yet. => He’s still in his bed. NOTE: We focus on the present. It is not important when the actions happened. If we want to express when the actions happened, we use the past simple. Typical time expressions used with PRESENT PERFECT • • • • • • • • • • ever/never yet (questions, negatives) so far (up to now) already just recently lately still before today • • • • this year/month/week ... for weeks/years/ages ... since 2007/Monday ... This is the first / second / third time… • It’s the first / second / third time… • ... PRESENT PERFECT or PAST SIMPLE PRESENT PERFECT • connects a past event to the present PAST SIMPLE • describes a past event in a completed time period I’ve broken my wrist. => it is broken now She’s worked for him for two years. => she still does Have you talked to John this morning? => it is still morning How long have you had your cat? => you still have it I broke my wrist last year. => it happened last year She worked for him for two years. => then she left Did you talk to John this morning? => it is now afternoon/evening When did you buy your cat? => I ask about the definite past PRESENT PERFECT or PRESENT SIMPLE PRESENT PERFECT • describes the time until the present PRESENT SIMPLE • describes habits and states in the present I’ve worked as an actor for a year. => I started last year and I still do it I work as an actor. => a permanent state, it is my job have been to and have gone to HAVE BEEN TO HAVE GONE TO Sarah has been to Greece. => she was there but now she is back home Sarah has gone to Greece. => she is in Greece now or she is on her way there PRESENT PERFECT CONTINUOUS Form: have/has + been + -ing form of the verb + + They’ve/have been waiting here for over an hour. She’s/has been working very hard. - I haven’t/have not been reading much recently. He hasn’t/has not been waiting long. ? ? You’re out of breath. Have you been running? How long has Jane been learning French? PRESENT PERFECT CONTINUOUS is used: • to talk about a repeated or continuous activity that started in the past and hasn’t been finished => unfinished past She’s been doing her geography project for about two months. => she is still working on it How long have you been waiting for him? => you are still waiting NOTE: We often use SINCE, FOR, ALL DAY, RECENTLY, LATELY, etc. with the present perfect continuous PRESENT PERFECT CONTINUOUS is used: • to talk about an activity from the recent past which has consequences in the present => present result It’s been raining all morning. => That’s why the streets are wet now. Why are you so dirty? What have you been doing? Your eyes are red. Have you been crying? PRESENT PERFECT SIMPLE or CONTINUOUS? PRESENT PERFECT SIMPLE PRESENT PERFECT CONTINUOUS • describes a finished activity (achievement) • describes an unfinished activity I’ve read King Lear. => I finished reading it. They’ve painted the bedroom. => They started and finished painting it. I’ve been reading King Lear. => I haven’t finished reading it. They’ve been painting the bedroom. => That’s why their clothes are dirty. We don’t know whether they finished or not. PRESENT PERFECT SIMPLE or CONTINUOUS? PRESENT PERFECT SIMPLE • is used when we focus on a result of an activity especially when we give a number or quantity: – how much we have done – how many things we have done – how many times we have done something PRESENT PERFECT CONTINUOUS • is used when we focus on the activity itself especially to explain visible consequences of it • is used to say how long something has been happening • is used to describe repeated actions Compare: • how much/how many • how long He’s run three miles. => focus on the result: he’s covered the distance of three miles He’s been running for an hour. => focus on the activity: this is why he is exhausted now Jill has played squash three times this week. Jill has been playing squash since two o’clock. I’ve written twenty emails today. I’ve been writing emails all day. How many pages of that novel have you read? How long have you been reading that novel? References • ALEXANDER, L.G.: Longman English Grammar. New York: Longman, 1991. ISBN 0-582-55892-1 • MURPHY, R.: English Grammar In Use. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992. ISBN 0-521-28723-5. • VINCE, M. and EMMERSON, P.: Intermediate Language Practice with key. Oxford: Macmillan Publishers Limited, 2003. ISBN 1-40500768-0. • VINCE, M. and EMMERSON, P.: First Certificate Language Practice with key. Oxford: Macmillan Publishers Limited, 2003. ISBN 1-40500765-6.