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

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'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 ...
14
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1answer
6k 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?
11
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5answers
13k 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.
10
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3answers
77k 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? ...
10
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2answers
12k 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 ...
10
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3answers
31k 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?
6
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3answers
4k 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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3answers
902 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
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6
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3answers
1k 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
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4answers
2k 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
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4answers
838 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: ...
5
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1answer
322 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
2k 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
1k 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
1k 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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1answer
192 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
499 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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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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2answers
877 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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3answers
75 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
2k 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
votes
1answer
859 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
220 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
2k 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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3answers
3k 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
67 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
690 views

Past simple or 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
9k 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.
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4answers
9k views

“By clicking submit you agree…” or “By clicking submit you are agreeing…”

By clicking submit you agree to the Terms and Conditions. By clicking submit you are agreeing to the Terms and Conditions. Which is correct? Why?
3
votes
2answers
7k 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
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4answers
6k 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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1answer
478 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
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
votes
1answer
140 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
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1answer
165 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
votes
2answers
513 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
votes
2answers
69 views

stop vs stopped?

what is the difference between; "what if we stop X" and "what if we stopped X" We are trying to write an inspirational statement, not so much a question, to provoke thought around stopping X. For ...
3
votes
3answers
6k 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 for quite some time. Why do you ask? Is it correct? And if it is, why the difference? Is it ...
3
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3answers
339 views

The use of the Present Simple within a short period of time

Help me understand how idiomatic this usage of the Present Simple is. Usually, PS conveys repeated actions within relatively long (or almost unlimited) time frames. For instance, “The sun rises in the ...
2
votes
3answers
6k views

“I am gonna have to” vs. “I have to”

What is the difference between "I am gonna have to" and "I have to"? When would you use the first one? update: I am specifically asking about situations like the one described here.
2
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2answers
277 views

“Connection to/with the server was/has been lost”

Which one is correct? Connection to the server was lost. Connection to the server has been lost. Also, should to or with be used with server?
2
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2answers
16k views

“Is used” vs. “has been used” vs. “was used”

I have three sentences of which I'm not sure which one is grammatical, and why. It refers to the Eiffel Tower. It is used as the symbol of Paris and of France for over a century. It was ...
2
votes
1answer
300 views

“There are several reasons proposed for the collapse of the bridge.”

There are several reasons proposed for the collapse of the bridge. Is this present simple tense or the present perfect tense? I thought it might be the latter since there is a retrospective ...
2
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3answers
1k views

Use of “I am having” in SO sites

I use Stackoverflow a lot and have noticed a certain trend that I myself got caught up in at one time of using the phrase "I am having a problem" in place of "I have a problem." I would use this ...
2
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3answers
81 views

“U.S. stocks were modestly higher at the opening bell Wednesday” vs. “… are higher …”

Here's a news heading from CNN: U.S. stocks were modestly higher at the opening bell Wednesday as political wrangling over the fiscal cliff continues to dominate the market. The author used ...
2
votes
3answers
9k 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? ...
2
votes
2answers
254 views

Sequence of Tense [duplicate]

Which one is correct? Centuries ago, people weren't aware that the planets revolved around the sun. Centuries ago, people weren't aware that the planets revolve around the sun. In my ...
2
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3answers
2k views

What tense to use here (sending an email)

What should be the correct tense: Dear XY, As agreed, I am sending / I send this email so you can find...
2
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3answers
172 views

“Boys will be boys!” Is 'will be' a future simple of 'be' or a present simple of modal auxiliary 'will'?

In the proverb: Boys will be boys! is 'will be' one verb or two? the future simple of 'be' (one verb)? or the present simple of modal auxiliary 'will' + the bare present infinitive of 'be' ...