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In English there are twelve tenses. They can be divided into three main tenses (past, present, future) each made of four aspects (simple, continuous, perfect, perfect continuous). They can be used in affirmative, negative or question form and to express different meaning, sometimes overlapping each other.
The present simple tense is used to describe habitual actions, permanent situations and facts, commentaries, instructions, news headlines or historical sequences. It is constructed using the base form of the verb adding 's' or 'es' for the third person singular and using and using the auxiliary 'to do' for the negative and question form.
The present continuous is used for actions in progress at the moment of speaking, for temporary actions not necessarily in progress at the moment of speaking, to emphasize frequent actions, for background events in present stories, to describe developing situations and to refer to regular actions around a point of time. It is constructed with the auxiliary 'to be' plus the continuous form of the verb, keeping in mind that most non action verbs don't have a continuous form.
The present perfect tense relates the past to the present and it is used for finished actions happened at an indefinite time, for completed past actions in an unfinished time period at the time of speaking, for something that happened in the past and is still true now, for past actions with present results. It typically goes with since/for. It is made by the auxiliary 'to have' plus the past participle of the verb.
The present perfect continuous relates past activities to the present implying that it is likely to continue or that it was in progress for some time or both. It is used for incomplete ongoing activities to state how long it has continued or for recently finished uninterrupted activities that have present results. Compared to the present perfect, the present perfect continuous puts the emphasis on the action rather than the result.