In English grammar, there are various elements and parts of speech that we use in order to form a complete and meaningful sentence. Among those, we all know that tenses are a basic and important part without which it is quite impossible to express a complete thought.
Tenses in English are of mainly three types, past tense, present tense, and future tense. All these tenses help describe and communicate the time of an occurrence of activity in a sentence. In this post, we will focus on how the present tense is used and what it actually signifies. Simply put, present tense is a type of tense that describes a current activity. It talks about the present.
However, very interestingly it does not sum up there. The present tense can also be used to indicate past or future activities. Moreover, it has four different types within itself. So, let us get into a detailed discussion below.
What is the present tense?
The present tense is one of the three main verb tenses that aims to describe a current activity or state of being. It is a grammatical tense that has the primary function of locating an event or an action in the present time.
In simple words, the present tense is a form of language that is used to indicate activities that are occurring right now in the present. It talks about something that has a current existence.
- I am sad.
- He is eating right now.
However, unusually sometimes, the present tense can also be used to refer to future or past activities. This generally happens when we use verbs in the present tense, but the context refers to a future or historic event. That means the present tense is applied to narrate things that happened or will happen.
- The train leaves at 6:30 pm.
Here, leaves is in the present tense, but the context indicates a future event.
Types of present tense
The present tense is broadly categorized into four different aspects depending on the action’s state of being. They are;
Simple present tense: This is the basic form of present tense. It is used to describe events that occur habitually in the present or facts.
- I eat every day.
- He talks a lot nowadays.
Present continuous tense: This aspect of the present tense is used to describe an action that is ongoing at the moment.
Here, the verb to be is used along with the root form of the verb added with –ing, the present participle.
- I am eating.
- She is working.
Present perfect tense: This form is used to describe an action that actually started in the past but is still relevant in the present.
Here, we use the auxiliary verb ”have” along with the past participle form of the main verb.
- I have been to London.
- They have played as a band many times.
Present perfect continuous tense: This aspect indicates an action that began in the past but is still ongoing in the present or has just finished.
Here, the auxiliary verb have/has added with the verb been is used along with the present participle form of the main verb.
- I have been working for a long time.
- She has been writing all day.
So, these are basic elements of the present tense in English. Although different aspects have variant purposes, the primary aim of present tenses is to indicate something in the present.