Functions

Facts

The present tense can be used to talk about facts:

A leopard has short legs.

A leopard can run 36 mph.

Leopards climb trees well.

Male leopards are larger than female leopards.

Leopards stalk their prey silently.

Daily Activities

We often use the present tense to talk about things we do routinely or out of habit.

My typical daily activities, once I go back to work, which is as a school bus driver.  I get up in the morning usually around 5:30 and have my breakfast, and then I go pick up my, my bus aide at her house, and we go around and we pick up four children, special needs children, and we take them to a regular elementary school.  After we drop them off, then I take my aide back to her house.  I’m able to take the bus home.  I park in the driveway.  And then I usually have about a 3 to 4 hour break, and at that time I will do errands, straighten up around the house, relax, go on the computer.  Once my break is done, which includes lunch, I will go back and pick up my aide. We’ll go back to the school, pick the children up, take each one of them back home again.  Then I drop my aide off. I go back home and that’s when I go out for my walk/run after work.  I do that for anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour, covering anywhere from 2.8 miles to 4.5 miles.  After that, I come home, shower up and have dinner, and watch some TV, spend some time with the children until it’s time to go to bed, and then it starts all over again.

See more videos about daily activities

Schedules

The present tense can be used to talk about the future as well.  Usually it corresponds to some event or mode of transportation that has a schedule.

The movie starts at 8:00.

The concert doors open at 9:00 tomorrow.  First act is on at 9:30.

The train comes at 6:30.

School begins on January 18th.

Historical Present

We even use the present tense to talk about the past!  A lot of times when narrating a story, in order to give the story more immediacy, the speaker can use the present tense.  This is commonly used when recounting the plots of books or movies.

One of my favorite movies is Grease. It’s actually a musical, and the movie’s about this, it’s a high school guy, student, and he’s like the jock of the school, and he thinks he’s all that, and he’s macho and…So he has all the girls running back right behind him and he meets this one girl, and it’s really sad that I don’t know the name of the girl, but (Sandy) Sandy! Ok thank you.  So, he meets Sandy during, at the beach I believe one summer, and they have this romantic encounter, and the school starts, but he sort of just  sees it as a summer fling and she’s still in love with him.  And the whole entire story just goes that he is in love with her, but he does not want to admit it because he wants to show that he’s, he’s just the cool guy in the high school and he gives her kind of like the…you know, the cold shoulder, and poor Sandy is like devastated inside and heart-broken, so her friends are trying to talk her out of it, and he’s trying to sort of chase Sandy on the down low or you can say secretly, and well it’s a love story, so it ends really nice, and I won’t tell you much about the love story so you can go watch it yourself, how it ends.

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