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For other uses, see Present tense (disambiguation).

The present tense is a grammatical tense whose principal function is to locate a situation or event in present time.[1] The term "present tense" is usually used in descriptions of specific languages to refer to a particular grammatical form or set of forms; these may have a variety of uses, not all of which will necessarily refer to present time. For example, in the English sentence My train leaves tomorrow morning, the verb form leaves is said to be in the present tense, even though in this particular context it refers to an event in future time. Similarly, in the historical present, the present tense is used to narrate events that occurred in the past.

There are two common types of present tense form in most Indo-European languages: the present indicative (the combination of present tense and indicative mood) and the present subjunctive (the combination of present tense and subjunctive mood).

Present tense may be denoted by the glossing abbreviation PRES or PRS.


The present indicative of most verbs in modern English has the same form as the infinitive, except for the third-person singular form, which takes the ending -[e]s. The verb be has the forms am, is, are. For details see English verbs. For the present subjunctive, see English subjunctive.

A number of multi-word constructions exist to express combinations of present tense with aspect. The basic form of the present tense is called the simple present; there are also constructions known as the present progressive (or present continuous) (e.g. am writing), the present perfect (e.g. have written), and the present perfect progressive (e.g. have been writing).

Use of the present tense does not always imply present time. In particular, the present tense is often used to refer to future events (I am seeing James tomorrow; My train leaves at 3 o'clock this afternoon). This is particularly the case in condition clauses and many other adverbial subordinate clauses: If you see him,...; As soon as they arrive... There is also the historical present, in which the present tense is used to narrate past events.

For details of the uses of present tense constructions in English, see Uses of English verb forms. The formula: Positive: S + V1 (s / es) Negative: S + DO / DOES + NOT + V1 Question: DO / DOES + S + V1

It is used to express an action in present time, habitual or usual actions or daily event or universal fact. It is used to express an action in present time which is usually done on a regular basis. For example a student says, “I go to school”. It is a daily activity of a student to go to school, so such actions are expressed by present simple tense. Another example is, “I work in a factory”. It tells about a usual action of a person that he works in a factory on regular basis.

Positive Sentence

    • Subject + Main verb + Object
    • Subject + 1st form of verb (or base verb) + Object

Note: If the subject in a sentence is “he, she, it, singular or proper noun” then “s” or “es” is added to the first form of verb or base form in the sentence. Examples.

        I write a letter. 
        He gets up early in the morning.
        Sun rises in east.

Negative Sentences

  • Subject + auxiliary verb +NOT + Main verb +object
  • Subject + Do not/Does not + 1st form of verb (or base form) + object


        I do not write a letter.
        He does not get up early in the morning.
        Sun does not rise in east.

Note: In negative sentence auxiliary verb “do or does” along with “not” is used. If the subject in a sentence is “he, she, it, singular or proper noun”, then “Does not” is used after subject in sentence. If subject is “I, we, they, you or plural” then “Do not” is used after subject in sentence. “s” or “es” is not added to main verb in negative sentence

Interrogative Sentence

  • Auxiliary verb + Subject + Main verb + Object
  • Do/Does + Subject + 1st for of verb (or base verb) + Object


        Do I write a letter?
        Does he get up early in the morning?
        Does sun rise in east?

Note: If the subject in a sentence is “he, she, it, singular or proper noun” the sentence is started with Auxiliary verb “Does”. If the subject in a sentence is “I, we, they, you or plural” the sentence is started with auxiliary verb “Do”. “s” or “es” is not added to main verb in Interrogative sentence

Positive Sentences

         I sing a song.
         He drinks water
         They read lessons
         Birds chirp
         John reaches home in time.
         Water maintains its surface level.

Negative Sentences

         I do not sing a song
         He does not drink water
         They do not read lessons
         Birds do not chirp
         John does not reach home in time.
         Water does not maintain its surface level.

Interrogative Sentences

       Do I sing a song?
       Does he drink water?
       Do they read lessons?
       Do birds chirp?
       Does John reach home in time?
       Does water maintain its surface level?

Hellenic Languages[edit]

Modern Greek present indicative tense[edit]

In Modern Greek, the present tense is used similarly to the present tense in English, and they can also convey the present continuous. As with some other conjugations in Greek, some verbs in the present tense accept different (but equivalent) forms of use for the same person. What follows is an example of present tense conjugation in Greek for the verbs see (βλέπω), eat (τρώω) and love (αγαπώ).

  βλέπω τρώω, τρώγω αγαπώ, αγαπάω
εγώ βλέπω τρώω, τρώγω αγαπώ, αγαπάω
εσύ βλέπεις τρως, τρώεις αγαπάς
αυτός/αυτή/αυτό βλέπει τρώει, τρώγει αγαπά(ει)
εμείς βλέπουμε τρώμε, τρώγομε, τρώγουμε αγαπάμε, αγαπούμε
εσείς βλέπετε τρώτε, τρώγετε αγαπάτε
αυτοί/αυτές/αυτά βλέπουν(ε) τρών(ε), τρώγουν(ε) αγαπούν(ε), αγαπάν(ε)

Romance languages[edit]

The Romance languages are derived from Latin, and in particular western Vulgar Latin. As a result, their usages and forms are similar.

Latin present indicative tense[edit]

In Latin, the present tense can be translated as being progressive or simple. Below is an example of present indicative tense conjugation in Latin.

  plicāre debēre dicere cupere scīre
ego plicō debeō dīcō cupiō sciō
tu plicās debēs dīcis cupis scīs
is, ea, id plicat debet dicit cupit scit
nos plicāmus debēmus dīcimus cupimus scīmus
vos plicātis debētis dīcitis cupitis scītis
ei, eae, ea plicant debent dīcunt cupiunt sciunt

French present indicative tense[edit]

In French, the present tense is used similarly to that of English. Below is an example of present tense conjugation in French.

  parler perdre finir partir
je parle perds finis pars
tu parles perds finis pars
il/elle/on parle perd finit part
nous parlons perdons finissons partons
vous parlez perdez finissez partez
ils/elles parlent perdent ←finissent partent

To express (and emphasise) the present continuous, expressions such as "en train de" or "en cours de" may be used. For example, Jean est en train de manger, may be translated as John is eating, John is in the middle of eating. On est en train de chercher un nouvel appartement may be translated as We are looking for a new apartment, we are in the process of finding a new apartment.

Italian present indicative tense[edit]

In Italian, the present tense is used similarly to that of English. What follows is an example of present indicative tense conjugation in Italian.

  parlare vedere sentire
io parlo vedo sento
tu parli vedi senti
egli/ella parla vede sente
noi parliamo vediamo sentiamo
voi parlate vedete sentite
essi/esse parlano vedono sentono

Portuguese and Spanish present indicative tense[edit]

The present tenses of Portuguese and Spanish are similar in form, and are used in similar ways. What follows is an example of the present indicative conjugation in Portuguese.

  falar comer insistir
eu falo como insisto
tu falas comes insistes
ele/ela/você fala come insiste
nós falamos comemos insistimos
vós falais comeis insisteis
eles/elas falam comem insistem

There follows an example of the corresponding conjugation in Spanish.

  hablar comer insistir
yo hablo como insisto
hablas comes insistes
él / ella / usted habla come insiste
nosotros hablamos comemos insistimos
vosotros habláis coméis insistís
ellos / ellas / ustedes hablan comen insisten

Slavic languages[edit]

Bulgarian present indicative tense[edit]

In Bulgarian, the present indicative tense of imperfective verbs is used very similarly to that of English. It can also be used as present progressive. Below is an example of present indicative tense conjugation in Bulgarian.

  писати* говорити* искати* отваряти*
аз пиша говоря искам отварям
ти пишеш говориш искаш отваряш
той, тя, то пише говори иска отваря
ние пишем говорим искаме отваряме
вие пишете говорите искате отваряте
те пишат говорят искат отварят

*Archaic, no infinitive in the modern language.

Macedonian present tense[edit]

The present tense of the Macedonian language is made of the imperfective verbs. The following table shows the conjugation of the verbs write (пишува/pišuva), speak (зборува/zboruva), want (сака/saka) and open (отвaра/otvara).

  пишува зборува сака отвaрa
јас пишувам зборувам сакам отвaрам
ти пишуваш зборуваш сакаш отвaраш
тој, таа, тоа пишува зборува сака отвaра
ние пишуваме зборуваме сакаме отвaраме
вие пишувате зборувате сакате отвaрате
тие пишуваат зборуваат сакаат отвaраат

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Comrie, Bernard, Tense, Cambridge Underwear . Press, 1985.

External links[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Present_tense — Please support Wikipedia.
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563 news items

The Guardian

The Guardian
Mon, 28 Jul 2014 08:32:53 -0700

Understandably, then, panellists find themselves using the present tense to keep listeners from peeling off, even though they're talking about past events. So it might be “What Socrates is trying to do here is …” or “Montezuma uses human sacrifice as ...

Tennis Magazine

Tennis Magazine
Fri, 04 Jul 2014 12:18:50 -0700

WIMBLEDON, ENGLAND—This year's Wimbledon has been cast as a battle of the generations. A long-delayed future, we're told, is trying to push its way onto the stage, while a glorious present is clinging desperately to its last moments in the spotlight.
Sky Hi Daily News
Thu, 31 Jul 2014 16:15:00 -0700

He explained afterward that “is” is present tense, and at the exact moment he uttered the statement, his undies were pulled up and his britches were zipped. So his statement was honest, accurate and true and got him impeached. Later he pointed out that ...

The Guardian

The Guardian
Thu, 31 Jul 2014 21:52:30 -0700

No, I'm not using the historic present tense to evoke August 1914 (and rile John Humphrys). I'm talking about August 2014. What is happening in eastern Ukraine is war – “ambiguous war”, as a British parliamentary committee calls it, rather than ...
Fairborn Daily Herald
Thu, 31 Jul 2014 12:52:30 -0700

I decided I would recreate it and write it in the present tense.” His degree has given Brownstein a whole new career and a booster shot of self worth, tending to cardiology patients. “Every day — several times a day — you know exactly why you're ...
Rock M Nation (blog)
Tue, 29 Jul 2014 09:10:43 -0700

Maybe it's a huge game in the present tense, i.e. a game that could decide a conference title, or a game deep in the NCAA Tournament, or simply a game one or both teams absolutely needs to have to reach a given goal. (Examples: 2007 Mizzou-Kansas ...
The Conversation
Wed, 30 Jul 2014 06:00:40 -0700

Humphrys has taken objection to the way Bragg tolerates the use of the present tense in order to describe past events – for example: “So, Darwin arrives on the Galapagos, starts to explore.” He calls this use the historic present, and thinks it ...

The Guardian (blog)

The Guardian (blog)
Wed, 30 Jul 2014 04:50:15 -0700

Some might prefer "was presented" (because filming is completed) or "will be presented" (as viewers outside Scotland haven't seen it yet), but I'm sticking with the present tense often used in TV criticism because the medium exists in the moment it is ...

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