Questions tagged [present-tense]

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

30
votes
3answers
327k views

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

Possible Duplicate: “Did it close” vs “Has it closed”? As a English non-native speaker it is difficult for me to understand when I must use present perfect or past simple ...
30
votes
2answers
404k 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 ...
18
votes
5answers
83k 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.
17
votes
2answers
55k 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 ...
13
votes
1answer
851 views

What is the name for the grammatical figure, where the present tense is substituted for a past event?

I am preparing a book for publication which contains the following passage: Stromberg in Religious Liberalism in Eighteenth-Century England (1954) noted that 'the critical moment in the emergence ...
13
votes
4answers
601 views

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

CONTEXT 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 ...
12
votes
5answers
84k views

In which cases would you say, “I am seeing” instead of “I see”?

In which cases would you say, "I am seeing" instead of "I see"?
11
votes
3answers
4k 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
votes
2answers
3k views

You won't catch the train if you don't/won't leave in time [closed]

You won't catch the train if you don't leave in time You won't catch the train if you won't leave in time I'm pretty sure the correct version is "You won't catch the train if you don't leave in ...
11
votes
3answers
123k 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
votes
2answers
46k 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 it not ...
9
votes
6answers
26k 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 ...
8
votes
4answers
3k 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: ...
7
votes
2answers
2k views

When describing a detail of an ex, is it correct to use past or present tense?

To start, would it be correct to say "My ex-girlfriend used to eat at Red Lobster." or "My ex-girlfriend eats at Red Lobster." Another example: "My ex-girlfriend used to be into karate....
7
votes
1answer
32k views

Why are the past and present tenses of “read” spelt the same?

and only have different pronunciations?
6
votes
3answers
7k views

How to use the UK verb “reading” to mean studying/majoring in some university subject in the present tense?

I’m not a native speaker. I was told that if I’m currently studying something at university I should say: I’m majoring in [subject]. But how can I say this in the present tense but using the ...
6
votes
4answers
2k 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
votes
5answers
9k 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, ...
6
votes
3answers
2k 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?
6
votes
3answers
32k 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 ...
6
votes
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 ...
6
votes
3answers
2k 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
872 views

Is it grammatically correct to use 'now' third person past tense narration? [closed]

Here's my specific example: Puffing, Ralphie rested her elbows on the guardrail. Body Woman was now talking to a bald super spy. (For context, Ralphie is on a balcony looking at Body Woman and ...
5
votes
1answer
535 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
votes
3answers
43k 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 be ...
5
votes
2answers
7k 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 tell ...
5
votes
4answers
10k 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? ...
5
votes
1answer
229 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
votes
1answer
4k 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
votes
2answers
1k 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
votes
1answer
5k 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, ...
5
votes
3answers
3k 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
11k 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
4k 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
517 views

Should we use past tense in “Lugo admitted he is the father”?

In this sentence, should the is be a was? On April 13, 2009, Lugo admitted he is the father of a child conceived with Viviana Carrillo.
4
votes
3answers
13k 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
2k 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
38k 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
574 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
votes
1answer
7k 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 to ...
4
votes
4answers
530 views

Why does English use the present continuous so often?

Why is the present continuous used in English so often in comparison to the simple present? For example I eat is possible, but the preferred way I am eating meaning roughly the same thing, is ...
4
votes
4answers
1k 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 I'...
4
votes
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?
4
votes
1answer
1k 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?
4
votes
6answers
56k views

“Did you like what you saw/see?”

So I heard this in a movie and I'm not sure if it's grammatically correct . . . Should it be: 1.) "Did you like what you saw?" or 2.) "Did you like what you see?" Which one is right, you guys? I'...
4
votes
6answers
55k views

“I don't understand you” vs. “I'm not understanding you” [closed]

Which sentence is correct? What are you talking about? I don't understand you. What are you talking about? I'm not understanding you. That was a question we've had in an exam and it was: ...
4
votes
2answers
137 views

Is there a word for a subset of English specifically designed to be easily understood by non-native speakers?

Looking at examples like Basic English or Simple English, I see phrases like "controlled language" or "controlled vocabulary". Is there a simpler word?
4
votes
2answers
2k 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 them on ...
3
votes
3answers
30k views

What's the difference between “I want” and “I am wanting”?

What is the difference between the two? Why and where is the latter very strange sounding variant used?
3
votes
3answers
23k 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.