Hi there everyone!
Today we’re going to look at maybe the most commonly used tense in the English language: the present tense.
The present has two forms: the simple and the continuous. Do you know the difference? Answer
Did you get it right? Well done! The present simple is used for general truths and recurring events, for example «I play tennis on Saturdays» = every Saturday, I play tennis. The present continuous is used for actions happening at the moment, for example «I am playing tennis» = right now, I am in a tennis match.
NB – both of these structures are also used in the future voice, which we will see in a later lesson…
The present simple is very easy to conjugate. Simply take the infinitive of the verb, remove the «to», add the correct pronoun, and remember that the third person singular has an «s» at the end:
|I play||We play|
|You play||you (plural) play|
|He/she/they (singular)/it plays||They (plural) play|
NB: when a verb ends in «consonant + y», the ending becomes «-ies» in the third person singular to preserve the sound. For example: he studies.
It is often found in sentences with time adverbs such as often, usually, frequently, sometimes, occasionally, never.
The continuous form uses the auxiliary verb «to be», in the correct conjugation, plus the present participle (verb stem + ing ending), for example:
|I am playing||We are playing|
|You are playing||you (plural) are playing|
|He/she/it is playing||They (singular or plural) are playing|
The present continuous is often used following time adverbs expressing specific times, such as now, today, at the moment.
There are some verbs which rarely appear in the present continuous, these are known as state verbs because they refer to thoughts, emotions, relationships, senses, states of being and measurements. For example, I love ice cream, rather than
I am loving ice cream.
That’s all there is to it! Let’s practice: