How Do We Use The Present Simple Tense?


subject+auxiliary verb+main verb

There are three important exceptions to remember about this rule:

  • Do not use the auxiliary verb for positive sentences.
  • Add -s to the main verb or -es to the auxiliary when you are using third person singular (he, she, it, etc).
  • Do not ever use an auxiliary when the verb “to be” is used.

Take a look at this table:

subjectauxiliary verbmain verb
+I, You, We, Theyreada book.
He, She, Itreadsa book.
I, You, We, Theydonotreada book.
He, She, Itdoesnotreada book.
?Do(auxiliary verb)I, you, we, they(subject)reada book?
Does(auxiliary verb)he, she, it(subject)reada book?

Take a look at the examples in the following table of the verb “to be” in the present simple tense. There is no auxiliary.

subjectmain verb
You, We, Theyarehungry.
He, She, Itishungry.
You, We, Theyarenotscared.
He, She, Itisnotscared.
?Am(main verb)I(subject)fun?
Are(main verb)you, we, they(subject)fun?
Is(main verb)he, she, it(subject)fun?

When Do We Use The Present Simple Tense?

Here are some times when we use the present tense:

  • If the action is broad
  • If the action happens frequently in the past, present and future
  • If the action is not just happening now
  • If the statement is always true
Gabby studies for a test.
Gabby needs to study for a test in order to get a good grade. She does it in the past, the present, and the future.

Take a look at the following examples:

  • I wake up early in the morning.
  • My tooth hurts.
  • Do you work today?
  • The bird flies over the trees.
  • The rabbit climbs in its burrow.
  • The compass points north.

The verb “to be” can be used to make the present simple tense more specific. By using the present simple tense, we can talk about the present, or what is happening now. Take a look at the following examples of the verb “to be” being used. Some statements are happening now and some are general statements.

Does he work?

The drink is cold.

I bite into the pizza.

These sentences are happening now.
Why do you always make me mad?

He is a hard worker.

The dog is man’s best friend.

These sentences are general in the past, present, and future.


How Do We Create The Present Continuous Tense?

subject+auxiliary verb+main verb
bebase + ing

Take a look at the following table:

subjectauxiliary verbmain verb
+Iamlisteningto music.
+Theyaregoingto a concert.
Iamnotdrawinga picture.
?Is(auxiliary verb)she(subject)studyingfor a test?
?Are(auxiliary verb)we(subject)playingtogether?


How Do We Make The Present Perfect Tense?

Take a look at the following table:

subject+auxiliary verb+main verb
havepast participle


subjectauxiliary verbmain verb
+Ihavebeento England.
Wehavenotvisitedour family.
?Have(auxiliary verb)I(subject)succeeded?
?Have(auxiliary verb)we(subject)finishedstudying?

Contractions With The Present Perfect Tense

When we speak using present perfect tenses, we usually connect the subject and auxiliary verb with a contraction. We also do this when we write.

I haveI’ve
You haveYou’ve
He hasHe’s
She hasShe’s
It hasIt’s
Myranda hasMyranda’s
The dog hasdog’s
We haveWe’ve
They haveThey’ve

Take a look at the following examples:

  • He’s finished his work for today.
  • Myranda’s graduated from college.
  • We’ve watched a show at the theater.

How do we use the Present Perfect Tense?

When we use the present perfect tense, there is always a connect with the past and the present. There are three different uses for this tense:

  • experience
  • change
  • continuing situation

For Experience

We sometimes use present perfect tense when we refer to our experiences from the past.Take a look at the following examples and table:

I have finished my homework.

He has written a book.

Michael has drank a soda.

The action or statement took place in the past.I have gone to sleep.

The event is connected with the past when it happened in the past.

The event is connected with the present when your experience happened in the past, and you are talking about it in the present. If you have a memory of it, then it is connected to the past.

For Change

We use present perfect tense when we are talking about a change or have new information:

He has gone to the doctor.
He did not go to the doctor yesterday.Now he has gone to the doctor.


Isabel has a new job.
Last week Isabel had no job.Now she has a new job.


When are you going to finish?
Did you finish earlier?Are you finished now?


The rabbit was given a carrot.
Yesterday the rabbit did not have a carrot.Now it has a carrot.

Connection with past: the past is the opposite of the present.

Connection with present: the present is the opposite of the past.

For A Continuing Situation

We use the present perfect tense when we talk about a continuing situation. This is when an event started in the past, continues in the present, and will continue into the future. This is not an actionable event, it is a state of something. When we refer to a state, we use the words “for” or “since”.

I have been studying for hours.

He has been there since last week.

How long has she been away?

The situation began in the past.It continues to the present.It will continue into the future.

Connection with past: the situation started in the past.

Connection with present: the situation continues in the present.

For And Since With Present Perfect Tense

We often use the words “for” and “since” with the present perfect tense. We use “for” when referring to a certain period of time, such as: 5 minutes, 3 days, 7 weeks, 5 months, and 8 years. We use “since” when we refer a certain period of time that took place or started in the past, such as: Tuesday, May 5th, and 8:00 am.

a period of timea point in past time
5 minutes5:00 pm
2 daysSaturday
5 monthsMay
3 decades2010
1 century1999

Take a look at the following examples:

  • He has worked since 7:00 am.
  • It has been many years since I’ve seen my parents.
  • Myranda has been an actress for four years.
  • I have not heard from my boyfriend for five days.
  • That has been my favorite song since I was a teenager.
  • I have been waiting for three hours.

Constructing the Present Perfect Continuous Tense

subject+auxiliary verb+auxiliary verb+main verb
have/hasbeenbase + ing

Take a look at the following table of present perfect continuous tense:

subjectauxiliary verbauxiliary verbmain verb
+Hehasbeenplayingvideo games.

(auxiliary verb)




(auxiliary verb)



Using the Present Perfect Continuous Tense

The present perfect continuous tense can be used in two ways. It usually connects with the present, or now.

For Something That Has Stopped Just Now Or Recently

We use the present perfect continuous tense when we want to show the result of an action that started in the past and stopped in the present.

We have been studying hard for our exam.
Recent action.Result now.

Take a look at these examples:

  • We are not hungry because we had dinner.
  • Her painting is complete because she has been working on it all day.
  • He made a bad grade because he did not study for his test.

Action Continuing Up To Now

We also use the present perfect continuous tense when we talk about an event that happened in the past and is continued now.

He has been petting his dog for ten minutes.
Action started in past.Action is continuing now.

Take a look at these examples:

  • You have been on vacation for more than a week.
  • She has been cooking Thanksgiving Day dinner all day.
  • They have been playing video games all night.
  • What have you been doing all day?

Present Perfect Continuous Tense Using For and Since

We use the words “for” and “since” when we use present perfect tense.

  • We use “since” when we talk about a certain point of time in the past: 11pm, September 3rd, August
  • We use “for” when we talk about a certain period of time: 6 days, 2 months, 5 years
a period of timea point of time in the past
two days2:00 pm
five weeksJanuary 15th
six monthsyesterday
fifteen years1989
millenialast century
decadeslast night
seven minuteswe had dinner

Take a look at the following examples:

  • We have known one another for two decades.
  • She has been eating since we had dinner.
  • Katie has been home for five minutes.
  • The baby has been asleep since last night.
  • They have been planning on getting married for seven months.
  • His family has owned that house since last century.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply