English Grammar Lesson - What is Present Tense - Grammar Tutorials

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Welcome to twominenglish.com - teaching you English through two-minute lessons. This lesson will help you learn about the present tense and how to use it.


Ellie:Hello, Andrea.  Today’s lesson is about present tense and how to apply present tense to verbs.


Andrea: Hello Ellie! If I am right, the present tense of a verb shows what’s happening now, in the present.


Ellie: You’re absolutely right, Andrea! The present tense talks about what is happening now.


Andrea: Can you tell us how verbs are modified to show present tense?


Ellie:  Whenever you’re talking about yourself or the person you’re speaking to, the verb doesn’t change; just use it as it is. For example, I drink tea, you drink coffee. Here "drink" is the verb and it is not modified for present tense. This is true for both singular and plural forms.


Andrea: “We all drink coffee” is correct when I talk about many people because it includes me. "Talk" is a verb in present tense that I used when I said “I talk.”


Ellie:  So when the subject is I, you, or we, the present tense of the verb is just the verb with no change. When talking about a single other person or object, though, we usually add "s"  to the verb. In general, verbs that end in “s” are singular verbs.


Andrea: Isn’t that the opposite of the way nouns work?


Ellie:  Yes, it is.  Nouns form plurals by adding “s” on the end, but verbs with an “s” on the end are singular. My daughter loves swimming. Here "love" is the verb modified to "loves" because I’m talking about my daughter.


Andrea:  Then plural verbs don’t have an “s” on the end, right?


Ellie: That’s right.  I want to give my parents something special on their 30th anniversary. I want to show them how important they are to me.  “Want” is a present tense verb.


Andrea: Remember that with “I” and “you”  and “we” the verb sounds like a plural verb because it doesn’t have an “s” on the end. I suggest you give them a homemade gift. My parents love things like that.  In this case, “love” is a plural verb to go with the plural subject of “parents.”


Ellie:I’ll think about it. Your husband practices law, doesn’t he?


Andrea: Yes, he works for a small law firm.


Ellie: "Practices" and "works" are singular verbs in present tense in our sentences. We can tell they’re singular verbs because they end with “s.”  We used singular verbs because the subject of the sentence is singular, and not I or you or we.


Andrea: Is that all about present tense?


Ellie: Just one last point. We’ve been talking about regular verbs, those that form the present tense or form plurals all in the same way. English also has irregular verbs.  A common example is the verb "to be." Its present tenses are “is," "are," and "am."   I am, you and we and they are, and he, she, or it is.


Andrea: Let’s listen to some sample conversations now.


Cooking class


Max: Andrea, you cook so well!


Andrea: Thank you! I especially enjoy cooking Italian food.


Max: Great! My wife cooks Italian food too. But she doesn’t know how to cook pasta. Can you teach her?


Andrea: Sure, I love cooking and I can teach her how.


Max: Thanks Andrea! I cook too, but I like cooking Mexican food.

Andrea: My husband prefers Mexican but he eats Italian food too.


Impromptu Trip


Ted: Hey Marshall, are you planning a trip for the weekend?


Marshall: No, we need to stay home. I wish I could go on a trip.


Ted: We could go next weekend, just rent a car and go to the seaside and have fun.

Marshall: You should invite Max and Andrea too. They love seaside trips.


The Artist


Ellie: Daisy, do you paint pictures of people?


Daisy: I like painting people but I feel I am not so good at it.  Ted paints people better and I paint landscapes better, but we both paint pretty well.


Ellie: Practice makes perfect; I hope you keep trying.


Daisy: I will. I want to be a professional artist one day.

Ellie:  I know you’ll succeed.  The art teacher says you’re very good.




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