The present tense is a grammatical tense that locates a situation or event in present time.

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161k views

'I get it' vs. 'I got it'

When someone tells me something, how should I respond, "I get it" or "I got it"? I have a feeling that "I got it" means "I already knew the thing before you told me," and "I get it" means "Now I know ...
16
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1answer
11k views

“The news is good.” Why?

We use "the news is good" instead of "the news are good." What is the rationale behind this? Are there similar situations in English?
13
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5answers
29k views

Why is the past tense used in “I was wondering if you would like to come for dinner?”

Why isn't the present tense used? I am wondering if you would like to come for dinner.
13
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3answers
126k views

Simple Past vs. Present Perfect: “was” vs. “has been” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: “Did it close” vs “Has it closed”? Which is correct: “has died” or “died”? How do the tenses in English correspond temporally to one another? ...
11
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3answers
2k views

To tell the name of a person I met in the past

I have a basic grammar question about the past tense. If I met a guy yesterday, which tense should I use about his name today? For example, "Yesterday I met a guy, his name is/was John."
11
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3answers
43k views

Difference between “are you done” and “have you done.”

I was just wondering, how can we differentiate "are you done?" and "have you done?", and what is the appropriate way to use each?
10
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2answers
18k views

“The train will leave” vs. “is going to leave” vs. “leaves” vs. “is leaving”

From the grammatical point of view all are correct, just the meaning are different, please bring your clarification, thank you. The Train will leave at 10:00 tomorrow morning. The Train is ...
8
votes
2answers
11k views

“Why are you asking?” versus “Why do you ask?”

Why are you asking Tom? He does not know the answer. Ask me instead! versus No, I have not seen Tom for quite some time. Why do you ask? Is it correct? And if it is, why the difference? Is ...
8
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2answers
194 views

“Why don't they help him?” Why do we use simple present here?

THE SETTING You are walking in the street and you see an old man on the other side stumble and fall to the ground. He tries to get up but he can’t. Nobody is helping him. You say, to no-one in ...
6
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4answers
1k views

She's always knowing something she's not supposed to

She's always knowing something she's not supposed to. Is this sentence correct? Why? Why not? Are we dealing with a so called "present progressive"?
6
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3answers
6k views

What tense is “If I were a bird, I could fly”

The sentence is not referring to any time past, present of future. It's just referring to an imaginary condition which has never existed and seemingly will never exist. Still, the sentence and other ...
6
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2answers
718 views

Is it wrong to use “Did you ever” in a sentence?

My German friend thinks that it is wrong to use "Did you ever" in the sentence "Did you ever fly a kite"? She is telling me it is wrong because you must use "Have" with "Ever", which would make the ...
6
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4answers
1k views

Tense change: previous actions on something that's currently true

I'm describing a situation that happened in the past. To explain it, I want to use a description that is both true now and true when the situation happened. Specifically, I want something like: ...
6
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3answers
1k views

Present tense for future events

Why does it sound perfectly natural to say Our flight leaves tomorrow at 6pm but weird to say It rains tomorrow at 6pm? What kind of scenario, if any, could make the rain sentence sound natural?
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1answer
20k views
6
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3answers
2k views

Present simple on temporary action

Mary is sleeping in the living room while we redecorate her room. Why is the present simple "redecorate" used? Present simple is used when there's something permanent, but they don't want to ...
5
votes
4answers
3k views

“He was the first person” vs. “he is the first person”

What is the correct tense to be used when talking about firsts? He was the first person to reach the South Pole. He is the first person to reach the South Pole. The first one seems right, ...
5
votes
1answer
424 views

Present continous and present simple

Why do we say, "Who is that man? What does he want", but, "Who is that man? Why is he looking at us". If the second is okay, which I am sure it is, why can't we say, "Who is that man? What is he ...
5
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1answer
4k views

Past simple with today

For example, I want to say that I found a ball today. But "today" means action in present, am I right? I've already searched the Internet and it seems the right way is this: I found a ball today ...
5
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2answers
2k views

Why present perfect in “When the night has come”?

In the song “Stand by Me”, we see a sentence like “when the night has come.” I was taught that in a when clause, we use the past tense, yet the present perfect has been used in the sentence cited ...
5
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2answers
2k views

“The author wrote” vs. “the author writes”

What is the rule for the following examples? In the passage, the author writes. . . . In the passage, the author wrote. . . . I’m trying to explain to my son that both are correct, but I can’t ...
5
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3answers
6k views

What brings you here? What has brought you here?

Why do we ask people "What brings you here?" instead of "What has brought you here?" According to Oxford Dictionary, "bring" here means "cause someone to come to a place." The cause of the visit ...
5
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1answer
200 views

Is it appropriate to omit “will not be”?

Often, someone will say: I'm not living in a senior's home! When the intended meaning is: I will not be living in a senior's home! Is this acceptable?
5
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2answers
624 views

Tense used with statistics

I would like to place a statistics in front of the sentence, followed by the agency that has reported it. The findings and reports were done many years ago. Which of the two is correct and why? ...
5
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2answers
1k views

Grammaticalization of third person singular -s

Is there any evidence that the third person singular -s can be traced back to a lexical item before it became an inflection ? I am trying to see if the theory of grammaticalization applies to its ...
5
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1answer
1k views

Is every sentence in a tense?

I know that "tense" indicates time. If that is true, then not every sentence can be indicated of its tense. Please review these sentences: "If I could go to the market , I must have taken breakfast ...
5
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3answers
183 views

Tense usage with dead writers' work

My friend and I discussed some books and their authors the other day. And the question arose. Is it possible to say Do you like what he writes about? using Present Simple, although writer did that ...
4
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3answers
15k views

“I came from Italy” or “I come from Italy”

If I originally lived in Italy and then moved to the United States and currently live in the United States. Then somebody asked me where I am from. I say: I come/came from Italy. Should it ...
4
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3answers
3k views

Why is “the test is failed” acceptable?

In software interfaces, technical documentation, scientific documentation and legal documents, I see phrases like: The build is failed. The test is failed. If the test is failed,... It ...
4
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1answer
1k views

Present perfect continuous

Are the answers I chose correct. My choices are in bold. I have been pumping/I have pumped up three tyres. Would you like to do the forth? I have been greasing/I have greased my car. That's why my ...
4
votes
2answers
242 views

“Decided to do X the next time she went for a walk” vs. “…the next time she goes for a walk”

I came across this sentence in the book Grammar Essentials for Dummies which confused me. The lion with a thorn in her paw decided to wear sneakers the next time she went for a walk in the jungle. ...
4
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1answer
3k views

“Why aren't you listening to me?” versus “Why don't you listen to me?”

What should I use, "Why aren't you listening to me?" or "Why don't you listen to me?" Example: I'm chatting with my friend, who seems to just ignore some issues: Bill, why aren't you listening ...
4
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4answers
65 views

Can the present tense be used in the past tense to refer to something that always happens or to something that hasn't happened yet? [duplicate]

I'm new here so please excuse me if this question's already been asked, I just couldn't seem to find it anywhere. What I want to know is, can the present tense be used in the past tense? Let's say ...
4
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1answer
940 views

Verbs not normally used in the present continuous

I found the information below in a grammar book: The following verbs are not normally used in the present continuous : like, love, hate, want, need, prefer, know, realize, suppose, mean, ...
4
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2answers
814 views

Should I reply in the past simple or in the present perfect? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Present perfect for past action with present effect Is this sentence correct? What exactly does it mean? Person 1: Where did you hide my keys? Person 2: I put ...
3
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3answers
15k views

Present Progressive or Present Continuous?

What is the correct term used to describe this tense in English — Present Progressive or Present Continuous? I see both terms used in grammar books.
3
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2answers
11k views

“Whenever you arrive/are arrived/were arrived”

Which one of these sentences is grammatically correct? Would it be alright if the other sentences were being used in daily conversations? Let me know whenever you arrive. Let me know whenever ...
3
votes
3answers
13k views

“I've just arrived” vs. “I just arrived” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Is “I just spent all my money” grammatically incorrect? “I just ate them” and “I've just eaten them” — what's the difference in American and British English? ...
3
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4answers
6k views

Differences between ways to express future actions

I asked this question on a different site but I haven't gotten a useful answer. Could you tell me the difference in meaning between these sentences? Do you think you will visit them next week? ...
3
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4answers
10k views

Which is more correct here: “find” vs. “have found”?

I recently came across this sentence from an e-mail I received and have pondering thoughts about it: I have completed an evaluation of your application file and find that the items listed below ...
3
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2answers
90 views

In the present tense, can I use “ought to have” where “have” means “to possess”?

I'm not a native English speaker. All the examples of "ought to have" in my grammar book are in the past tense. But can I use it in the present tense to say that someone probably has something? ...
3
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1answer
671 views

Present simple or present continuous?

Here is an exercise from Intermediate Language Practice by Michael Vince: Complete the following sentence with a present simple or present continuous form of the words in bold. Pat has ...
3
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2answers
17k views

“I am going to bed” vs. “I will be going to bed”

What is the difference between saying the following? I am going to bed in a few minutes. I will be going to bed in a few minutes. Or I will be getting off here. Or, I guess, I will be ...
3
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2answers
1k views

“They knew what mercy is” vs. “they knew what mercy was”

They knew what mercy is. They knew what mercy was. Mercy is something that always exists so can I say is as in the quoted example?
3
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1answer
280 views

I quote/ I am quoting

This is the last paragraph of a book review: "To conclude, I quote the concluding paragraph from the..." Is this correct English? Why is it "I quote"? Can "I am quoting" be used insteand?
3
votes
1answer
225 views

'Comes in' instead of 'is coming in' or 'came in' [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Why is the historical present tense used so often by sports broadcasters? Yesterday I watched a basketball game. There was a substitution, and a commentator said “Vince ...
3
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2answers
269 views

What tense is “I see that …” [closed]

For example, in "I see that you have a new car." the "I see" seems to imply something like "I am seeing now" or "I noticed", rather than the usual present simple tense connotation of a habit or ...
3
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2answers
208 views

Using Past-tense or Present-tense for verbs

I found a perfect example on the internet about what I am trying to ask. Take a look at this: "Mr. Dilger wants to see you." Mr. Bruce went on to say. "It's about the same thing. I thought I'd ...
3
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2answers
565 views

Verb agreement for something that was discussed in the past, while the issue still exists in the present

How do you write something that was discussed in the past, while the issue still exists in the present? The discussion resulted in the committee members highlighting crucial areas that need to ...
3
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1answer
34 views

Present tense for future scheduled program

I write course descriptions for an educational institution and am considering using the simple present. For e.g., "You learn how to" instead of "You will learn how to" and "We teach you what to do" ...