Present Verb Tenses

We’re going to have a series of three little lessons on verb tenses to cover the past, present, and future. We’ll start with the present, because that’s the easiest.

There are four present tenses:

1) Simple Present – We drill wells all over the world.
This is used to express an action that is repeated or usual, or to state a fact.

2) Present Continuous – We are drilling wells in Oman this month.
This tense is used to express something that is happening now over a period of time.
It is made up of am/is/are plus the present participle (–ing).

3) Present Perfect – We have drilled wells in Oman before.
This tense is used to express an action that happened at an unspecified time before now. Use it to describe your experience or a change that has happened over time. It can also describe multiple actions at different times. (I have played golf there.)
It is made up of has/have plus the past participle (–ed).

4) Present Perfect Continuous – We have been drilling wells in Oman for 7 years.
This tense expresses something that started in the past and has continued until now, or something that happened lately or recently. (I have been putting poorly.)
It is made up of has/have plus been plus the present participle (–ing).

There are some non-continuous verbs that should not be used in continuous tenses. These verbs are abstract, denoting emotion or possession or something you really cannot see being done: want, owe, seem, need, like, belong, love.

Example:
I own a 1999 Ford Crown Victoria with 159,000 miles on the odometer.
You would not say “I am owning…” or “I have been owning…”
Of course the McDonald’s slogan violates this: “I’m loving it.”

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