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Present tenses

OdkazyMoje EUO

Present Simple and Present Continuous

Use the simple present (I do) to talk about things in general or things that happen repeatedly:

Excuse me, do you speak Spanish?

Use the present continuous (I am doing) to talk about something that is happening at or close to the time of speaking:

The ice is melting. Could you put it in the freezer?

Use the simple present for a permanent situation:

My grandparents live in Spain.

For a temporary situation use the present continuous:

I'm living with my cousins until I find an apartment.

People often use time expressions such as at the moment, at present, currently, just and still to emphasize that the action or event is happening now:

Have you started dinner? – I'm just starting.

If you want to emphasize repeated actions with words like always, continually, or forever: 

They're always having dance parties that end late at night.

Compare:
I always get up at 7 am.
She's always making trouble.

Present Perfect Simple and Present Perfect Continuous

You can use the Present Perfect Continuous and the Present Perfect Simple to talk about something that began in the past and affects the situation that exists now.

Often the difference between the Present Perfect Continuous and the Present Perfect Simple is simply one of emphasis:

I've been listening to their arguments with great interest. (emphasizes the activity; that is my listening to their arguments)

I've listened to their arguments with great interest. (emphasizes the result; I may now react to what was said or discussed)

You can use either the Present Perfect Continuous or the Present Perfect Simple to talk about activities or events that are repeated again and again until now:

Joe has been kicking the ball over the fence all day. (or has kicked)

You use the Present Perfect Simple rather than the Present Perfect Continuous when you talk about long lasting or permanent situations, or when you want to emphasize that you are talking about the whole of a period of time until the present.

I have always admired Václav Havel.

If you talk about more temporary situations you can often use either the Present Perfect Continuous or the Present Perfect Simple:

Where is the city library? – Sorry, I don't know, I've only lived / I've only been living here for a couple of days.

Present Perfect Continuous

You can use the Present Perfect Continuous to talk about a situation or activity that began in the past and has been in progress for a time until now. There are times that you can use the Present Perfect Continuous with expressions that show the time period (for example with since and for):

The tournament has been running every year since 1930.

Construction workers have been saying for years that the library building should be knocked down.

I've been meaning to buy Mary a gift since I heard she was having a baby shower.

You can often use the Present Perfect Continuous when you ask questions with How long …? and when you say how long something has been in progress:

How long have you been staring at me?

How long have they been living next door to you?

The price of gas has been rising since the war started with Iraq.

You use the Present Perfect Continuous when you are talking about how long the action or event has been going on. Compare:

It's raining. And

It's been raining hard all night. (not It's raining …)


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