Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Present Tense

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Simple present tense

I Sing

Subject+Aux+main verb do base
How do we make the Simple Present Tense?

There are three important exeptions:
For positive sentences, we do not normally use the auxiliary.
For the 3rd person singular (he, she, it), we add s to the main verb or es to the auxiliary.
For the verb to be, we do not use an auxiliary, even for questions and negatives.
Look at these examples with the main verb like:
subjectauxiliary verbmain verb
+I, you, we, theylikecoffee.
He, she, itlikescoffee.
-I, you, we, theydonotlikecoffee.
He, she, itdoesnotlikecoffee.
?DoI, you, we, theylikecoffee?
Doeshe, she, itlikecoffee?
Look at these examples with the main verb be. Notice that there is no auxiliary:
subjectmain verb
+IamFrench.
You, we, theyareFrench.
He, she, itisFrench.
-Iamnotold.
You, we, theyarenotold.
He, she, itisnotold.
?AmIlate?
Areyou, we, theylate?
Ishe, she, itlate?

How do we use the Simple Present Tense?

We use the simple present tense when:
  • the action is general
  • the action happens all the time, or habitually, in the past, present and future
  • the action is not only happening now
  • the statement is always true
John drives a taxi.
pastpresentfuture

It is John's job to drive a taxi. He does it every day. Past, present and future.
Look at these examples:
  • I live in New York.
  • The Moon goes round the Earth.
  • John drives a taxi.
  • He does not drive a bus.
  • We meet every Thursday.
  • We do not work at night.
  • Do you play football?
Note that with the verb to be, we can also use the simple present tense for situations that are not general. We can use the simple present tense to talk about now. Look at these examples of the verb "to be" in the simple present tense - some of them are general, some of them are now:
Am I right?
Tara is not at home.
You are happy.
pastpresentfuture

The situation is now.

I am not fat.
Why are you so beautiful?
Ram is tall.
pastpresentfuture

The situation is general. Past, present and future.









Present Continuous Tense


I am Singing

How do we make the Present Continuous Tense?

The structure of the present continuous tense is:
subject+auxiliary verb+main verb
bebase + ing
Look at these examples:
subjectauxiliary verbmain verb
+Iamspeakingto you.
+Youarereadingthis.
-Sheisnotstayingin London.
-Wearenotplayingfootball.
?IshewatchingTV?
?Aretheywaitingfor John?

How do we use the Present Continuous Tense?

We use the present continuous tense to talk about:
  • action happening now
  • action in the future

Present continuous tense for action happening now

a) for action happening exactly now
I am eating my lunch.
pastpresentfuture

The action is happening now.
Look at these examples. Right now you are looking at this screen and at the same time...
...the pages are turning....the candle is burning....the numbers are spinning.

b) for action happening around now
The action may not be happening exactly now, but it is happening just before and just after now, and it is not permanent or habitual.
John is going out with Mary.
pastpresentfuture







The action is happening around now.
Look at these examples:
  • Muriel is learning to drive.
  • am living with my sister until I find an apartment.

Present continuous tense for the future

We can also use the present continuous tense to talk about the future - if we add a future word!! We must add (or understand from the context) a future word. "Future words" include, for example,tomorrownext yearin Juneat Christmas etc. We only use the present continuous tense to talk about the future when we have planned to do something before we speak. We have already made a decision and a plan before speaking.
I am taking my exam next month.
pastpresentfuture
!!!
A firm plan or programme exists now.The action is in the future.
Look at these examples:
  • We're eating in a restaurant tonight. We've already booked the table..
  • They can play tennis with you tomorrow. They're not working.
  • When are you starting your new job?
In these examples, we have a firm plan or programme before speaking. The decision and plan were made before speaking.

Present Perfect Tense

I have sung

How do we make the Present Perfect Tense?

The structure of the present perfect tense is:
subject+auxiliary verb+main verb
havepast participle
Here are some examples of the present perfect tense:
subjectauxiliary verbmain verb
+IhaveseenET.
+Youhaveeatenmine.
-Shehasnotbeento Rome.
-Wehavenotplayedfootball.
?Haveyoufinished?
?Havetheydoneit?

Contractions with the present perfect tense

When we use the present perfect tense in speaking, we usually contract the subject and auxiliary verb. We also sometimes do this when we write. 
I haveI've
You haveYou've
He has
She has
It has
John has
The car has
He's
She's
It's
John's
The car's
We haveWe've
They haveThey've
Here are some examples:
  • I've finished my work.
  • John's seen ET.
  • They've gone home.






How do we use the Present Perfect Tense?

This tense is called the present perfect tense. There is always a connection with the past and with the present. There are basically three uses for the present perfect tense:
  1. experience
  2. change
  3. continuing situation






For & Since with Present Perfect Tense

We often use for and since with the present perfect tense.
  • We use for to talk about a period of time - 5 minutes, 2 weeks, 6 years.
  • We use since to talk about a point in past time - 9 o'clock, 1st January, Monday.
forsince
a period of timea point in past time

x------------
20 minutes6.15pm
three daysMonday
6 monthsJanuary
4 years1994
2 centuries1800
a long timeI left school
everthe beginning of time
etcetc
Here are some examples:
  • I have been here for 20 minutes.
  • I have been here since 9 o'clock.
  • John hasn't called for 6 months.
  • John hasn't called since February.
  • He has worked in New York for a long time.
  • He has worked in New York since he left school.






Present Perfect Continuous Tense



I have been singing

How do we make the Present Perfect Continuous Tense?

The structure of the present perfect continuous tense is:
subject+auxiliary verb+auxiliary verb+main verb
have
has
beenbase + ing
Here are some examples of the present perfect continuous tense:
subjectauxiliary verbauxiliary verbmain verb
+Ihavebeenwaitingfor one hour.
+Youhavebeentalkingtoo much.
-Ithasnotbeenraining.
-Wehavenotbeenplayingfootball.
?Haveyoubeenseeingher?
?Havetheybeendoingtheir homework?

Contractions

When we use the present perfect continuous tense in speaking, we often contract the subject and the first auxiliary. We also sometimes do this in informal writing.
I have beenI've been
You have beenYou've been
He has been
She has been
It has been
John has been
The car has been
He's been
She's been
It's been
John's been
The car's been
We have beenWe've been
They have beenThey've been
Here are some examples:
  • I've been reading.
  • The car's been giving trouble.
  • We've been playing tennis for two hours.

How do we use the Present Perfect Continuous Tense?

This tense is called the present perfect continuous tense. There is usually a connection with thepresent or now. There are basically two uses for the present perfect continuous tense:

1. An action that has just stopped or recently stopped

We use the present perfect continuous tense to talk about an action that started in the past and stopped recently. There is usually a result now.
I'm tired because I've been running.
pastpresentfuture

!!!
Recent action.Result now.
  • I'm tired [now] because I've been running.
  • Why is the grass wet [now]Has it been raining?
  • You don't understand [now] because you haven't been listening.

2. An action continuing up to now

We use the present perfect continuous tense to talk about an action that started in the past and is continuing now. This is often used with for or since.
I have been reading for 2 hours.
pastpresentfuture

Action started in past.Action is continuing now.
  • have been reading for 2 hours. [I am still reading now.]
  • We've been studying since 9 o'clock. [We're still studying now.]
  • How long have you been learning English? [You are still learning now.]
  • We have not been smoking. [And we are not smoking now.]

For and Since with Present Perfect Continuous Tense

We often use for and since with the present perfect tense.
  • We use for to talk about a period of time - 5 minutes, 2 weeks, 6 years.
  • We use since to talk about a point in past time - 9 o'clock, 1st January, Monday.
forsince
a period of timea point in past time

x
20 minutes6.15pm
three daysMonday
6 monthsJanuary
4 years1994
2 centuries1800
a long timeI left school
everthe beginning of time
etcetc
Here are some examples:
  • I have been studying for 3 hours.
  • I have been watching TV since 7pm.
  • Tara hasn't been feeling well for 2 weeks.
  • Tara hasn't been visiting us since March.
  • He has been playing football for a long time.
  • He has been living in Bangkok since he left school.

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