Grammar-QuizzesVerb PhrasesVerbs › Present

Present Tense

Summary of Practices


Present Tense—Diagnostic

Present Tense Diagnostic: identify specific points that need review


Quiz 1: beginning – intermediate

Quiz 2: intermediate – advanced

Present Tense—Simple vs. Progressive

Present: General Truth vs At the Moment: state facts and observations

Beginning ESL


The earth turns 360 degrees every day.

The earth is turning right now. 

Subj Predicate Agr: mark verbs for third person singular agreement

Beginning–Intermediate ESL

Wakes up early 

*Simon get up at 6 a.m. everyday.

Present: General Truth Practice: talk about weather and climate

Beginning ESL

External link to NASA El Nino site

El Nino is an unusual warming of ocean water.

This weather pattern comes about the time of the celebration of the birth of the Christ Child, "El Nino" – December.


Present: At Moment vs. Routine:  talk about temporary or ongoing activities

Beginning ESL


My name is Isabela. (100% permanent)

I am a mother.  (99% permanent)

I am married. (50% permanent)

I work at Children's Hospital in Oakland. (?)

I am working to get my nursing certification. (temporary)

I am having difficulty.  (temporary)

Present: Custom vs. At the Moment: relate a custom and current actions to carry it out

Beginning ESL

Greek church

I usually work 9 to 5. He often plays golf on Saturday. We always eat dinner together. Frequently, we have lunch out. We never eat breakfast together.

Present Progressive: talk about temporary habits or activities at the moment of speaking

Beginning ESL


Helen is jogging around the park right now.

Helen is jogging around the park this morning.

Progressive: express duration or repetition

Intermediate – Advanced ELL

Computer with online news

We have been reading the news online every morning for many years.  (indefinite timing)

Yesterday, the four of us were reading the same story on different websites. (definite timing)

As we were sharing details from our websites, we realized that the details differed(backgrounding)

We fact-checked, discussed and determined how much truth the article presented. (series of events)

"Where did you read that?" he asked.  (source, origin question)


Present Tense—Scheduled Activities (Present & Future)

Scheduled Events: refer to planned activities in the future

Beginning ESL


The exhibition returns to the Hall of Science this week. (routine)

The exhibition is returning to the Hall of Science this week.  (near future)

The exhibition will return to the Hall of Science next week.  (scheduled/ calendar event)

The exhibition will be returning to the Hall of Science next week. (active timing, "Don't miss it!")

We will be walking around while he is playing with the dinosaurs. (future background activity)  See Future Progressive (modals).

Be (copular verb, linking verb): describe, identify or locate the subject

Beginning–Intermediate ESL

happy child

She is joyful.  (links description to the subject)

 Be joyful!  Don't be sad. (dynamic)

I am her sister. (links identify to the subject)

I am older. (links description)

We are outside. (links location-place)

We are late. (links location-time)

We are in luck. (links circumstance)


States of Being:  express existence and changes in states

Beginning–Intermediate ESL

a sleepwalker

He is tired.

He seems upset.

He appears lost.

 ("Be" + Adjective or Participle Modifier)

Sensory States: express sensation and perception

Beginning–Intermediate ESL

skunk with a clothes pin on his nose

The skunk smells bad. He stinks!

Sandpaper feels rough.

The soup tastes salty.

*The skunk is smelling bad.  

Cognitive States: express thinking, cognition and attitude

Beginning–Intermediate ESL


I think you are correct.

I believe you know what you are talking about.

I like living here.

~How are you liking living here?

~I am thinking that…

Possession States: indicate possession or ownership

Beginning–Intermediate ESL

a babe sitting on a sports car

The little dog has a ball. (is in possession of)

The dog has light-colored fur. (characteristic)

She's having fun.  (experience)

No action is involved, except in:

Let's have a look. (do, carry out, perform)

Emotion States: express reacting to experiences

Beginning–Intermediate ESL


Baby faces amuse people.

Politicians please voters.

Her action amazed everyone.

Measurement:  indicate weight, distance, height and count

Beginning–Intermediate ESL

Golden Gate Bridge

The Golden Gate bridge measures 8,981 ft. / 2,737 m. long.

The bridge weighs 887,000 tons / 804,700,00 kg.


Present–Narration: tell anecdotes, stories and events

Beginning–Intermediate ESL

a man being cornered by an eight ball

This man goes into a bar and he has a few drinks. Then he asks the bartender to play a game of billiards.

Time-Related Events: relate the timing of two connected events   (present and future)

Intermediate–Advanced ESL


After I make tea, we will watch a movie on TV .

I will make tea. Afterward, we'll watch a movie on TV

I will make some tea before we watch a movie on TV.

After/ Before/ When: relate the timing of two activities  (present, future, past)

Intermediate ESL, Native Speakers

Dog coming in door

When I call the dog, she comes.

After I call the dog, she comes.

Before I call the dog, I open the door.

After I take the dog out, we'll sit down for a while.


When / While: indicate same-time (synchronous) activities

Intermediate ESL, Native Speaker

Talking on phone and looking at newborn

When you called, he picked up his cell phone.

While he was talking on the phone, the baby slept.

By the time: view relative progress or completion

Intermediate– Advanced ESL, Native Speaker


By the time I leave work, the sun will be setting. (ongoing)

By the time I leave work, the sun will have set. (completed)

Transitive Verbs–Direct Objects: indicate the "patient" of the action

Beginning–Intermediate ESL

Jason studies

Jason rises.
Jason raises the blinds.

Jason studies.
Jason studies English.

The glass broke.
Jason broke the glass.

The baby weighs 10 lbs.
The doctor weighed the baby.

Ditransitive Verbs–Indirect Objects: indicate the "recipient" or "beneficiary" of the action

Beginning–Intermediate ESL

A letter

My friend is bringing me a letter.

My friend is bringing a letter to me.

My friend is bringing me it.

Intransitive Verbs: Never Passive—recognize verbs that do not take objects

Intermediate–Advanced ESL, Native Speakers

Building destroyed in earthquake

The earthquake happened on April 3, 2009 in Italy.

*The earthquake was happened on April 3, 2009 in Italy.

The baby weighed 7 lbs.

*The baby was weighed 7 lbs.

Final -S Practice: edit nouns and verbs for final -S / -ES

Beginning ESL


*Tom work at a grocery store.

*Every day, he arrive early to do his chore.

Final -S Audio: listen for final "s"

Beginning ESL


rope [s]

robes  [z]


Present Context: identify present tense verbs

Intermediate ESL

driver distraction

A year ago, people weren't much thinking about mobile phones but now the voices are getting louder about it.

Been / Being: contrast the sounds of been and being

Beginning–Intermediate ESL

Doctor spanking baby

We've been quiet. (present perfect - active)

We're being quiet.   (present progressive - active)

We've been seen by Dr. Allen.   (present perfect - passive)

We 're being seen by Dr. Allen (present progressive - passive)

Negative Word Forms: express absence, doubt, denial, prohibition and more

Beginning – Advanced ESL, native speakers

No No's

No one  /   Not anyone has parked illegally.

His inability / disability was clear to us.

He was unsatisfied / dissatisfied.

He would park there, wouldn't he?

We asked him not to park there.

I doubt that he *never / ever helps.

He is neither optimistic nor pessimistic.

His no nonsense approach to life is refreshing. (expression)