Glossary: present tense


The present tense is a grammatical marking on verbs which often, but not always, expresses present time. (See also inflection.) E.g. the verb in She sounds tired is a present tense form (compare the past tense form in She sounded tired).

Verbs in the present tense are commonly used to:

  • talk about the present
  • talk about the future.

They may take a suffix –s (depending on the subject).

See also tense.

  • Jamal goes to the pool every day. [describes a habit that exists now]
  • He can swim. [describes a state that is true now]
  • The bus arrives at three. [scheduled now]
  • My friends are coming to play. [describes a plan in progress now]

Verb images

This lesson asks students to think about tense and aspect, what they mean, and how else we can communicate those meanings.


  • Identify verb tense and aspect. 
  • Explain the meaning of verb tense and aspect. 
  • Use multimodal literacy skills to present information from words as pictures. 

Lesson Plan

The teacher explains that today, we will be describing some pictures using language, and then drawing some pictures to describe language.

Verb images: Activity

The girls are rehearsing a song.

Several boys were playing football.

Sally has studied French for three years.

John has been studying French for one hour.


Y6 GPaS Test: Present or past tense?

In each of the following examples, indicate whether the highlighted verb is in present or past tense:

Expressing time

Grammar is important for expressing information about time. It helps us to locate situations in the past, present or future, and to describe how situations unfold over time.

This is typically done by using different forms of the verb. For example:


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