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This unit focuses on the four aspects of the present tense. These four aspects are Present Simple, Present Continuous, Present Perfect and Present Perfect Continuous. Below I will break down the usages and form for each aspect.
1) Present Simple
-habitual or routine actions
-permanent situations and facts
-directions and instructions
Affirmative: subject + base form of verb (+s/es)
I teach. You teach. He/she teaches. We teach. You teach. They teach.
Negative: subject + aux. verb 'do' + not + base form of verb
I don't teach. You don't teach. He/she doesn't teach. We don't teach. You don't teach. They don't teach.
Question: aux. verb 'do' + subject + base form of verb
Do I teach? Do you teach? Does he/she teach? Do we teach? Do you teach? Do they teach?
2) Present Continuous
-to talk about an action that is in progress at the time of speaking
-to talk about a temporary action that is not necessarily happening at the time of speaking
-to emphasize very frequent actions
-background events in a present story
-to describe developing situations
-to refer to a regular action around a point of time
Affirmative: subject + aux. verb 'be' + verb+ing
I am running.
Negative: subject + aux verb 'be' + not + verb+ing
I am not running.
Question: aux. verb 'be' + subject + verb+ing
Am I running?
3) Present Perfect
-to refer to finished actions/states that happened in an indefinite time (a general experience)
-completed past actions carried out in an unfinished time period at the time of speaking
-something that began in the past, is still true now at the time of speaking and we are not sure it will continue into the future
-past actions with present results
Affirmative: subject + aux. verb 'have' + past participle
I have taught.
Negative: subject + aux. verb 'have' + past participle
I haven't taught.
Question: aux. verb 'have' + subject + past participle
Have I taught?
4) Present Perfect Continuous
Usages: Relates past activities to the present
-to discuss an action likely to continue into the future
-to discuss an action in progress for some length of time
- both of the above!
Affirmative: subject + aux. verb 'have' + been + verb+ing
I have been studying.
Negative: subject + aux. verb 'have' + not + been + verb+ing
I haven't been studying.
Question: aux. verb 'have' + subject + been + verb+ing
Have I been studying?
While the various uses of these four aspects of the present tense may be second nature for a native English speaker, it is essential for ESL teachers to understand the grammatical details of each in order to best help their students in grasping the concepts/usages/forms.