Hello! Please, help me with using Tenses:

1)Present Simple & Continuous.
I see it. I'm reading book. These sentenses are about current actions. Right? How to use Pr.Simple & Pr.Continuous, when I'm speaking about a current action?

2)Present Perfect & Past Simple.
If I wanna ask about sth, that sbd was must to do, what tense should I use:
Have you done it/Did you do it?
Have you done your homework?
Have you eat?
Have you washed floor?
Have you jusy said?
Have you seen it?

And it:
You have made a mistake.
I have done it.
I have washed the dishes.
I have just said next: ... .

Thank you!
Hello. I think I can help clarify this for you.

1. The English language has two present tenses, the present simple, and the present continuous. Do not get confused by the idea of ''current actions.'' There is a better reason for the distinction between the two tenses.


A continuous alone does not imply that the action is current, but instead that it is in the course of action, it is lively, not static.

A present continuous can be a current action or a future action when used with an action verb. (not a linking verb telling state such as ''to be,'' to feel to seem ''to appear) with very few exeptions****

--Where is Tom?
--He is walking to the store right now.

This action is current, which is made clear by the words right now.

2. What are you doing on Saturday?

This action is set in the future, which is made clear by the word Saturday.

How can you use a present tense to describe a future action?
Because the continuous, as I said, in the present tense form is stating that it is a realised action, something that either visibly happening, or that no one can deny is or will be happenning, if it is an action in the future, the speaker is stating as a scheduled event with no possibility of not happening, this is simply how the speaker is stating it, and that doesn't mean it will come true.

Simple future with will or shall is a prediction. Scheduled Events in the future use the continuous.

One day I will go to Paris. (The person is making a prediction)

On January 17, I am going to Paris (According to the speaker, there is nothing that will prevent him or her from going to Paris, and he or she has probably written it on the calendar.


Present simple is, in most cases, a very static tense that refers to a common habit or practice, that cannot be observed by others while the speaker is using the tense.

-I will call you later, I am eating out with my friends. This can be observed by the friends and is in the course of happening.

On Sunday nights, I eat out with my friends. This is a habit, this is a routine. As he says the sentence, there is no way to prove it has happened or is happening. It is simply what has done in the past and intends to keep doing.

As a general rule, verbs that indicate perception, and linking verbs (to be, to seem, to feel, to appear) are not necessary and not possible with the present continuous. Verbs generally never used in the continuous.

To taste, to smell, to hear, and to feel are perceptions, and therefore the only person who can observe them is the person speaking. It is therefore not necessary to state them with a continuous.

Also the same with the verb to believe

If you see these verbs in the continuous, most likely, it will be used to show something out of the ordinary, or a change, something that is not typical.

Normally, to be and other linking verbs are not used in the continuous, unless for the reason I just talked about

Mary, you aren't very nice. (it is part of her personality, she is never nice)


Mary, you aren't being very nice (Normally she is nice, but today she is not)

This looks dangerous (the person thinks that it looks dangerous)

You are looking pretty today (The person is looking prettier than usual)

I will respond with an explination of the other themes you asked about in a separate post.

Hope this helps for the first question
Now, as for your second question... Past simple vs. Present perfect.

First know this.

English only has 2 tenses! even though most people think it has many more. The two tenses are present, and past.
The other aspects are created using combinations of present, past, and participles (ending in ed, d, en, n, d, t or ing)
, and helping verbs (can, will, to be(only when used with ing), would, should, and the most common to have), all of which are used in either the present, or past tense (some have no past)

What is the present perfect?
The present perfect as it suggests, is a present tense, and is an aspect that expresses a past action that is carried over to the present, and is treated as though it were part of the present. It is also used to describe experience. Actions in the present perfect still affect the present, whereas, when stated as such, the past simple describes a past action that is dated (used with some indicator of a specific moment, day, hour, year, month, etc.), and that does not relate to the present. Things using the past simple are stated as history.

Usage note:

There are many cases where the present perfect is impossible which I will discuss, but when the present perfect generally is used differs among dialects.

In all English:

If a sentance is dated, it is impossible to use the present perfect, with the main expetion being with the words today, or tonight, or this evening etc)

Depending on how you want to express your idea, you could say

What did you do today? (More likely will be followed by a story, so perhaps something exciting or interesting). It is implied that today is about finished. And the person is not expected to do anything else.


What have you done today? ( here the word today is unfinished, and the person expects to do more things that day. Whether in this case you wish to treat today as being finished or not finished, is up to your perception.

UK vs. American English

Before I tell you some examples of when it is impossible to use present perfect, here are some cases that usually differ between UK and American English. It shows the dialects' tendencies to perceive certain actions differently:

With the words just and ''already"

UK English
I have just taken a bath.
I have just taken my pills.
I have already eaten.
They have already gone there.

US often tends to express these same ideas as follows

I just took a bath
I just took my pills
I already ate
They already went there.

Whereas UK English considers recent past tenses with relation to the present (I have just taken a bath still has relation to the present since you feel clean, I have just taken my pills still have relation to the present since you don't feel well yet, I have already eaten relates to the present because you are no longer hungry, so your state of being full is present, etc)

American English tends to perceive certain words such as just and already as dating words like monday, 8pm, five days ago, etc.

Other sentances that usually(not always) differ even without any dating words.

I have written her a letter.
I've broken a nail.
Nothing has come in the mail.

I wrote her a letter
I broke a nail
Nothing came in the mail.

This is simply a difference in style, and more learned speakers tend to use the British model.



The reason I emphasize this so much is that failure to recognize this rule immediately gives the native speaker the impression that you don't know English very well. It is a common mistake among French people because of their passe compose tense that they use with dates.


Yesterday I have ridden my bike.
In 1970 I have won the championship.
Five seconds ago I have dropped my pencil (even if it is as short as five seconds, if you state it as a date, you do not consider it part of the present)
Earlier, I have done it.

This is a very important distinction. The present perfect can be used to describe things that a person HAS DONE throughout the course of his or her life. From books they have read, to things they have done, situations in which they have been.
It makes sense because although the action was in the past, the experience is not. The experience is a part of the present, so we use a present perfect to express it.

So when asking someone about his or her experiences without a specified date, you must use the present perfect.

Have you read this book?
Have you ever seen that Movie?
Have you ever been chased by dogs?
Have you ever felt lonely?

If you are the one being asked these questions don't fall into a trap when you answer them. The person is asking you of your experience, now it is your turn to tell the story of how it happened. So unless you refuse to tell the story, you will use the past simple.

Have you read this book?
Yes, I read it when I was a young boy. (Not I have read it when...)-- Because you are telling the story

Have you seen that movie?

No, I haven't (this time you didn't tell the story, you just repeated inexperience.) If you wish to tell the story, you must say ''Yes, I saw it when..."


I hope this also helps clear up some confusion!

Feel free to keep asking questions.

M Schufman

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