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This unit explains the four different forms of the present tense and all of these have a positive, negative and question form.
Present simple is the tense we use to express things in general. With it we can talk about habits or routines, facts, give instructions or directions, review moments in history, view headlines and stories in the present tense and even listen commentaries.
Present continuous is what we use to describe actions happening at the time of which someone is speaking, to talk about a temporary action, to emphasize frequency, and so on. There are some non-progressive verbs in which we use simple form, but for the others we add -ing to the verb.
Present perfect form also uses a past participle verb. For example, go becomes gone, and play becomes played. We use it when we talk about finished experience without detail, and basically when things that have happened before are relevant to what is happening now or is just simply true now. For example,” I have taught English.” or “I have studied French since primary school.” This tense often uses since or for to indicate some sort of time and is usually used for state verbs.
The final form is present perfect continuous, which to students can be confused with present perfect. Where present perfect uses phrases with ‘have’, present perfect continuous uses ‘have+been+verb+ing.” We use it to speak about an incomplete, ongoing activity, or recently finished uninterrupted activity. “I’m tired because I have been studying TEFL since 10am this morning.”
What I have learned the most is ways of teaching the difference between tenses which sound so similar. I have heard my own students in the past make mistakes between them. Now I will be prepared with activities in which they can study and practice each tense individually, not having to think about the others until it is necessary to bring them together, perhaps for higher level students.