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Verbs – using the present tense

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By Mary Morel

Within the present tense, we express greater subtlety of meaning by using simple, perfect or continuous tense forms.

Simple present

The simple present is used for:

  • General truths — Broccoli is good for you.
  • Recurring actions — I walk every day.
  • Future events — The bus departs at 9pm.
  • Events that are taking place now — She eats while he sleeps.

Present progressive

The present progressive emphasises the continuing nature of an event.

He is studying hard.

Present perfect

The present perfect is:

  • Action that began in the past and continues into or impacts on the present

I have worked on this document since last week.

  • Habitual action

She has limped all her life.

Present perfect progressive

The present perfect progressive is an event that began in the past, continues into the present and may go into the future. This tense stresses the ongoing nature of the event.

He has been studying since 1998.

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