Present Tense - Explore Meaning, Definition, Structure, Types, Rules and Examples

In the English language, tense is used to represent the time of an action. Among the three English tenses, the present tense is used to talk about what is happening in the current time. In this article, you will learn the definition, structure, rules of usage along with examples.

Table of Contents

What is the Present Tense?

The present tense refers to the action or event that takes place or is taking place in the present. It represents the current activity or the present state of being of the subject in the given context.

Definition of Present Tense

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines present tense as “the tense of a verb that expresses action or state in the present time and is used of what occurs or is true at the time of speaking and of what is habitual or characteristic or is always or necessarily true, that is sometimes used to refer to action in the past, and that is sometimes used for future events.” According to the Oxford Learner’s Dictionary, the present tense is “the form of a verb that expresses an action that is happening now or at the time of speaking.” The Cambridge Dictionary defines present tense as “the form of the verb that is used to show what happens or exists now.”

Types of Present Tense

The present tense can be used in four different forms namely,

  • Simple Present Tense – used to indicate the current action or an action that takes place regularly.
  • Present Continuous Tense – used to denote an action that is continuing at the present moment.
  • Present Perfect Tense – used to indicate an action that is used to denote an action that is indefinite and still has its effect on the subject or object in the sentence.
  • Present Perfect Continuous Tense – used to represent an action that began in the recent past and is still continuing.

Structure of Present Tense

Have a look at the following table to understand the structure of the present tense.

Structure of Present Tense
Simple Present Tense Present Continuous Tense Present Perfect Tense Present Perfect Continuous Tense
Subject + Verb in the base form/third person plural form + the rest of the sentence Subject + Helping Verb(am/is/are) + Main verb+ing + the rest of the sentence Subject + Helping Verb (have/has) + Past participle of the main verb + the rest of the sentence along with the time frame Subject + Have/Has + Been + Verb+ing + the rest of the sentence
Example: I go to school everyday.

He plays cricket.

Example: Tharun is watching a movie.

They are planning a birthday party for their friend.

Example: Venu has left the hall

I have reached home.

Example: They have been waiting for you for a long time.

Archana has been checking her phone every now and then.

Also, take a look at the following table to understand how the general format in which the present tense behaves in the positive, negative and imperative format.

Positive Negative Interrogative Negative Interrogative
Subject + Verb Subject + Do not/Does not (Don’t/Doesn’t) + Verb Do/Does + Subject + Verb Don’t/Doesn’t + Subject + Verb
Example: She likes pizzas. Example: She does not like pizzas. Example: Does she like pizzas? Example: Doesn’t she like pizzas?

Examples of Present Tense

Given below are a few examples of the present tense.

  • Theo sings wonderfully.
  • Marley and Noah are on the way to the park.
  • Does Rachel dance?
  • Naveen is practising for the annual day.
  • Rani has kept this notebook for so many years.
  • It has been raining for quite some time now.

Frequently Asked Questions on Present Tense

What is the present tense?

The present tense refers to the action or event that takes place or is taking place in the present. It represents the current activity or the present state of being of the subject in the given context.

What is the definition of the present tense?

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines present tense as “the tense of a verb that expresses action or state in the present time and is used of what occurs or is true at the time of speaking and of what is habitual or characteristic or is always or necessarily true, that is sometimes used to refer to action in the past, and that is sometimes used for future events.” According to the Oxford Learner’s Dictionary, the present tense is “the form of a verb that expresses an action that is happening now or at the time of speaking.” The Cambridge Dictionary defines present tense as “the form of the verb that is used to show what happens or exists now.”

What are the different types of present tense?

There are four main types or form of present tense in the English language namely,

  • Simple Present Tense
  • Present Continuous Tense
  • Present Perfect Tense
  • Present Perfect Continuous Tense

Give some examples of present tense.

Here are some examples of present tense for your reference.

  • Theo sings wonderfully.
  • Marley and Noah are on the way to the park.
  • Naveen is practising for the annual day.
  • Rani has kept this notebook for so many years.
  • It has been raining for quite some time now.

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