Present Tenses

Present simple

  • FORM
    • Positive


      I/You/We/They work.
      He/She/It works.
      I/You/We/They don't (do not) work.
      He/She/It doesn't (does not) work.


      Short answer

      Do you work?
      Does he work?
      Yes, I do. / No, I don't.
      Yes, he does. / No, he doesn't.
  • Function
    • Habits and routines

      e.g. We don't go to the supermarket every week.
      e.g. You smoke too much.


      e.g. Does he come from Paris?
      e.g. The sun rises in the east.

      Long-term situations

      e.g. They live in London.


      e.g. Flight BA324 leaves at 14:30.
  • Help
    • We often use the present simple with the following frequency adverbs: never, rarely, sometimes, often, usually, always. Frequency adverbs go before the verb.

      We sometimes watch the news on television but we rarely buy a newspaper.

      However, frequency adverbs go after the verb to be.
      They are always hungry but they are never tired.

      The present simple is also often used with words and phrases such as once a week, twice a month, every day, every week, in general, as a rule. These expressions go at the beginning or, more commonly, at the end of sentences.

      David plays golf every week.
      Maureen does yoga twice a day.

Present Continuous

  • Form
    • Positive


      I'm (am) leaving.
      You’re / We’re / They’re (are) leaving.
      He’s /She’s /It's (is) leaving.
      I'm not (am not) leaving.
      You/We/They aren't (are not) leaving.
      He / She / It isn’t (is not) leaving.


      Short answer

      Are you leaving?
      Is he leaving?
      Yes, I am. / No, I'm not.
      Yes, he is. / No, he isn't.
  • Function
    • Actions happening now

      e.g. Look! Those children are playing football.

      Temporary situations

      e.g. What book are you reading at the moment?
      e.g. I'm taking the train this week because my car is in the garage.

      Current trends

      e.g. The rate of inflation is rising.
      present continuous
  • Help
    • We often use the present continuous with words and phrases such as: at the moment, currently, at present, this week. Frequency adverbs go before the verb.

      She's having a meeting at the moment.
      Currently sales are increasing.

      We do not usually use the present continuous with state verbs. These are the verbs which describe how we feel or what we think.

      Examples of state verbs include:
      like, want, understand, love, know, believe, remember, mean, belong, need, seem, prefer.

      We say, I want a cup of coffee. We do NOT say I'm wanting a cup of coffee.
      We ask, Do you understand? We do NOT ask Are you understanding?

      Verbs of sense (see, hear, smell, taste) are often used with can.

      We ask, Can you smell something burning? or we say, I can hear the bells ringing.

      Some verbs have more than one meaning. Verbs such as have, think and see may express a state or an action.
      I have a car. (possess = state) but We're having dinner. (eating = action)
      I don't see what you mean. (understand = state) but I'm seeing the bank manager. (meeting = action)

      We can also use the present continuous to describe fixed future arrangements. For more information on this, click on Future Tenses.

Present Tenses Practice Test

Select the best answer to complete the sentences below. Sometimes it may seem that two answers are possible but there is always a BEST answer. Check your score at the end of the test by clicking 'RESULTS'.

Complete each sentence by selecting the best answer

  1. 01. Have you ever to London?

  2. 02. How long your current passport?

  3. 03. We are new to the neighbourhood. We have bought the house opposite the park.

  4. 04. The rivers are high because it continuously for over three days.

  5. 05. She's been talking on the phone two hours.

  6. 06. I have some bad news. Annabel an accident and she is now in hospital.

  7. 07. Tom used to e-mail me every week but I from him recently.

  8. 08. For the last ten years Farmitech the market leader in sales of agricultural equipment.

  9. 09. This is a very long film. We it since 8 o'clock and it still hasn't finished.

  10. 10. This must be the best hotel I've stayed in.

  11. 11. Sky TV has been broadcasting live football matches .

  12. 12. We are very concerned because in the last few weeks we over 20 letters of complaint .

  13. 13. How many photos have you ?

  14. 14. I'm not happy at work. In fact of changing jobs for quite a while.

  15. 15. How long to the Labour Party?

  16. 16. I hear you're looking for a new flat. Have you ?

  17. 17. I'm lucky because so far in my career I some of the most successful business leaders in the world.

  18. 18. I don't think they are planning to get married. They each other for very long.

  19. 19. There a lot of problems with my car lately.

  20. 20. The marketing director isn't here because she to a conference in New York.

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