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I'd appreciate it if someone would answer my question. Thank you in advance.

I'd like to know about the usage of "at present" and "in the present". Which is right A or B?

A: At present the earth is overcrowded with human beings, and they need more residential areas. However, I think in the future humans will solve this problem by colonizing other planets.

B: In the present the earth is overcrowded with human beings, and they need more residential areas. However, I think in the future humans will solve this problem by colonizing other planets.

Which is right C or D?

C: In the past dinosaurs roamed the earth. At present we can see the fossils of them in the museum.

D: In the past dinosaurs roamed the earth. In the present we can see the fossils of them in the museum.

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'In the present' is not used quite correctly in either B or D. It is a phrase used frequently when discussing tenses, but 'Today' or 'In the present day' might be better here.

So A and C are - slightly - better than B and D.

Unfortunately 'At present' is not quite right either. "At present we can see the fossils of them in the museum" sounds as if you are in the museum with the fossils in front of you. 'At present' - like 'At the moment' - suggests something more immediate, more fleeting than is required. "Today we can see the fossils of them in the museum" is more colloquial and suggests a broader period of time.

  • "The earth is overcrowded with human beings..." You don't need "In the present" because "is" is present tense. You could say "Dinosaurs once roamed the earth. We can see their fossils in the museum" – David D May 21 '19 at 15:10
  • Thank you Old Brixtonian. I see your idea very much. – magic-dragon May 22 '19 at 1:38

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