present tense


Definition of present tense

: the tense of a verb that expresses action or state in the present time and is used of what occurs or is true at the time of speaking and of what is habitual or characteristic or is always or necessarily true, that is sometimes used to refer to action in the past, and that is sometimes used for future events

Examples of present tense in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

The National Gallery show traps us in the present tense of efforts to get something right—an absoluteness not just of seeing, but of being—which happens not to be possible. Rachel Aviv, The New Yorker, "The Lurchingly Uneven Portraits of Paul Cézanne," 21 Feb. 2011 At this afternoon's Fendi Couture show in Paris, makeup was a striking fusion of retro and futuristic, catapulting the iconic cat eye into the realm of the present tense. Calin Van Paris, Vogue, "Fendi Gives the Couture Cat Eye a Bold New Runway Spin," 4 July 2018 The writing has the muscular urgency of the present tense, throwing us off-kilter in real time. Sarah Lyall, New York Times, "Far From the Shore, a Happy Couple Takes a Turn for the Worse," 11 June 2018 The movie never settles on a mood or a rhythm for the flashback/present tense seesawing. Michael Phillips,, "'On Chesil Beach' review: Saoirse Ronan stars in scenes from a brief marriage," 24 May 2018 Christ guard my delicate soul from having to narrate fake cunnilingus in real-time, first-person present tense. Max Maller, Chicago Reader, "Firefly Love fails as both a play and a play-by-play," 6 July 2018 So to have modern voices struggling with different things was a powerful way to be thought of as human in the present tense and as complex as anybody else. Time, "In Conversation With Two Rising Voices in Native American Literature," 22 May 2018 In short, 8-year-old, third-person present tense is a difficult point of view to pull off in a sentimental novel about a family’s dissolution, though Summerfield mostly nails it. Dean Bakopoulos, New York Times, "A Debut Novel Sees Divorce Through the Eyes of a Child," 11 May 2018 On Monday, the actress zoomed in on her father's hands which played host to a graphic manicure inspired by rock 'n' roll irreverence, and wholly worthy of the present tense. Calin Van Paris, Vogue, "Steven Tyler Does Nail Art Like Only a Rock Icon Could," 17 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'present tense.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of present tense

14th century, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for present tense

The first known use of present tense was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for present tense

present tense


English Language Learners Definition of present tense

: a verb tense that is used to refer to the present

present tense


Kids Definition of present tense

: a verb tense that expresses action or state in the present time and is used of what is true at the time of speaking or is always true

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More from Merriam-Webster on present tense

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with present tense

Nglish: Translation of present tense for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about present tense

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