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Present Time

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When we talk about the present the different tenses we use are determined by the situation we are expressing.

The present simple

We use the present simple to talk about something that is regular and is happening in the present:
I come home from work at around six.
I often meet my friend during our lunch break.

The present simple is also used to talk about something happening continually in the present:
They live on the other side of town.
He works for the national airline.

We use the present simple to talk about things which are generally true:
It is hot in summer in the Mediterranean.
It’s a two hour flight from Paris to London.

The present continuous

We use the present continuous to show that something in the present is temporary:
We are living in a rented flat right now.
I usually go to the library to study but it is being refurbished at the moment.

We use the present continuous for something happening regularly in the present before and after a given time:
I’m usually travelling to work at seven o’clock.
On Saturday mornings I’m always reading the paper at my favourite café.

We use the present continuous for something happening before and after the moment of speaking:
Don’t make a sound. The children are sleeping.
I’m not paying attention to the TV. I’m listening to my iPod.

Modal verbs

We use modal verbs to talk about the present when we are not sure of something:
I don’t know where Sarah is. She might be out shopping.
Who’s ringing you at this time of the night? I don’t know. It could be the police.

When we talk about the present the different tenses we use are determined by the situation we are expressing.

The present simple

We use the present simple to talk about something that is regular and is happening in the present:
I often meet my friend during our lunch break.

The present simple is also used to talk about something happening continually in the present:
They live on the other side of town.
He works for the national airline.

We use the present simple to talk about things which are generally true:
It is hot in summer in the Mediterranean.
It’s a two hour flight from Paris to London.

The present continuous

We use the present continuous to show that something in the present is temporary:
We are living in a rented flat right now.
I usually go to the library to study but it is being refurbished at the moment.

We use the present continuous for something happening regularly in the present before and after a given time:
I’m usually travelling to work at seven o’clock.
On Saturday mornings I’m always reading the paper at my favourite café.

We use the present continuous for something happening before and after the moment of speaking:
Don’t make a sound. The children are sleeping.
I’m not paying attention to the TV. I’m listening to my iPod.

Modal verbs

We use modal verbs to talk about the present when we are not sure of something:
I don’t know where Sarah is. She might be out shopping.
Who’s ringing you at this time of the night? I don’t know. It could be the police.

Lesson by Tristan, teacher at EC Malta English school

Choose the correct form for the following:

  • 1. I _ at my brother’s flat until I find a place of my own.



  • 2. Sarah _ with her parents. She says she has no intention of moving out.



  • 3. What time _ the house?



  • 4. I _ ready for work at around half past six.



  • 5. They _ right next door to us.



  • 6. Whenever we meet David he _ his newspaper.



  • 7. I _ abroad because of work.



  • 8. I am usually at work on Saturdays but today I _ from home.