How Do You Identify a Present Tense Verb?


Quick Answer

To identify a present tense verb, look at the verb in relation to other verbs in the phrase or sentence. In English, only the simple past and simple present tenses can be determined by looking at only the main verb. For all other tenses, auxiliary verbs help create the tense.

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Full Answer

Present tense verbs indicate that an action is currently taking place. There are three ways for a writer or speaker to create this tense: simple present, present progressive and present perfect. In all three cases, the verb indicates a current action.

In simple present, a writer writes, "He runs." In present progressive, he writes, "He is running." Because the "is" in this example is in present tense, the verb phrase, "is running" is also in present tense.

Likewise, in present perfect, the verb tense depends on the tense of the auxiliary verb. For example, a writer writes, "He has run for eight years." In this example, the verb phrase "has run" is in present tense because the auxiliary verb "has" is in present tense.

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