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In this unit, we reviewed the four present tense structures and their use: present simple, present continuous, present perfect and present continuous. Each form has three aspects: positive, negative, question.
Present simple is used most often for habits, facts, description of events (without reference to a specific time), and sequences (again, without reference to a specific time). The most challenging aspects of this tense are usually remembering to add the "s" for third person singular tenses, and the do/does don't/doesn't used in question and negative forms.
Present continuous is used for actions happening now, temporary states or actions, new developments, and frequent actions. The form makes use of the conjugated auxiliary verb "to be" along with the root verb+ing. The frequent use of contractions here, along with the specific nature of the tense makes it somewhat difficult for some students. There are exceptions for this tense: sense verbs (smell, taste), feeling verbs (hurt, feel), possessive verbs and
Present perfect is a challenging tense used most for experiences without a definite time specified (I have been to India before), past actions with a consequence for right now (I can't see you, I've lost my glasses!) and states-of-being that may not be permanent (I've been in school for about three months now. The form uses the conjugated auxiliary have along with the past participle form of the base verb. Again, the specific nature of the tense and the use of contractions can throw off students.
Present perfect continuous is the last present tense covered, and is again a challenge. It is used to talk about temporary actions in the past with an effect on the present (I'm exhausted, I've been running around all morning) and incomplete but ongoing activities (I've been building a time machine since I turned 30.). This tense really emphasizes the activity and duration, not the results. A double-auxiliary (have/has + been) plus the verb+ing can make this tense especially cumbersome to students.