Definition of present tense in English:

present tense


  • A tense expressing an action that is currently going on or habitually performed, or a state that currently or generally exists.

    ‘I'm using the present tense’
    • ‘Wolf Hall is written in the present tense’
    • ‘The real challenge was translating a written plan into the present tense.’
    • ‘Hence, the shift to the character's present tense is not drastic or striking.’
    • ‘The lapse into present tense ('I know') indicates subsequent intimacy.’
    • ‘Narrated in the present tense, the story unfolds in the voice of an unnamed third-person narrator.’
    • ‘She returns to Paris, continues lecturing at the university and talks about him in the present tense, as if nothing has happened.’
    • ‘Write in the present tense.’
    • ‘The novel concludes with a coda which switches dramatically from the past to the present tense: 'And now the three years are past.'’
    • ‘Dostoevsky smoothes the transition from the usual narrative past tense to the present tense used here by preceding this passage with lengthy narrative digression in which the narrator refers to his own present situation (writing).’
    • ‘One trademark of his "new" technique is polyphony, in which multiple voices tell the story and shift without authorial intrusion from first-person to third or from past to present tense.’
    • ‘It is particularly hard to write about a man whose every quote is a gem and who always aimed to write intensely in the present tense, sucking his reader into the here and now even when he wrote about things of the past.’
    • ‘The sudden shift at the end from the present tense to the conditional and qualified suggests that the epiphany that the poem seems to promise is a transient thing.’
    • ‘Singapore is a very ahistorical society; it seems to live only in the present tense, and claims no need for the past, let alone a sophisticated consciousness of history.’
    • ‘It's to place the reader right there in the present tense and to create an awareness that this is unfolding right in front of me.’
    • ‘Speaking in the present tense so as to convey the force and immediacy of his impressions, he describes how a "shock, as of some unimagined vital force, shoots without warning through my entire frame, leaping to my fingers' ends, piercing my brain, startling me till I almost spring from my chair".’
    • ‘When, then, we come to "I am falling," with its abrupt change from past to present tense, we see this bookish, "mothy" robed poet, who had spun out of his orbit in leaving New England, as threatened by a wider and wider spin.’
    • ‘That is why an entire novel cast in the present tense would seem much more unusual in English than in Czech.’
    • ‘Many refer to him in the present tense and, when pushed on the company's future course, still invoke his name.’
    • ‘This promise, which after all says "nor do we", not "nor will we", is restricted entirely to the present tense.’
    • ‘The present tense in Japanese is both the simple present tense as well as the future tense, while the past tense in Japanese acts as the simple past tense.’
    • ‘You'll notice the 'will' - future tense, not present tense.’