Grammar

As for all languages, studying the English language means studying some basic grammar rules. On this page you can find videos providing a short explanation of the most important rules.

  1. the present tenses: when to use a present simple or continuous and how to form these tenses

1. The present tenses

Although both tenses are used to talk about the present, there is a clear difference between the two.

A present simple is used to talk about things that happen regularly: a habit, a job or a general truth (something that is always true).
Eg: ‘I am a teacher: I teach history.’ – present simple: this teacher says that in the present, his/her job is teaching.That doesn’t mean that the teaching is happening at this moment.

The present simple is formed like this: subject + bare infinitive (= INF without ‘to’)
! Pay attention to the third person singular!

+?
I workI do not workDo I work?
you workyou do not workDo you work?
he/she/it workshe/she/it does not workDoes he/she/it work?
we workwe do not workDo we work?
you workyou do not workDo you work?
they workthey do not workDo they work?

A present continuous is used to talk about things that are going on right now.
Eg: ‘I can’t answer my phone right now: I am teaching.’ – present continuous: this person cannot answer the phone, because he/she is in the middle of teaching right now. That doesn’t mean that teaching is his/her job or habit (maybe it is just a one time thing), but the action of teaching is going on right this very moment.

The present continuous is formed like this: subject + present simple of ‘to be’ + ING-from (= gerund)

+?
I am workingI am not workingAm I working?
you are workingyou are not workingAre you working?
he/she/it is workinghe/she/it is not workingIs he/she/it working?
we are workingwe are not workingAre we working?
you are workingyou are not workingAre you working?
they are workingthey are not workingAre they working?