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 January 6th would seem to fall within that bailiwick, but, as court dockets up and down the Eastern Seaboard demonstrate, the insurrection and its surrounding intrigues remain very much part of America’s present tense. Bruce Handy, The New Yorker, 21 Aug. 2023 Stuart is known for his tasty virtuosity on guitar and mandolin and has spent a lifetime keeping roots sounds present tense. Erika Mailman, WSJ, 2 Aug. 2023 Yes, its grandeur can be preserved on Instagram, but the real delight of it is purely present tense. Ella Riley-Adams, New York Times, 4 May 2023 Advertisement The memory is so vivid that Reyes recalled it in present tense during a recent phone call. Bethonie Butler, Washington Post, 7 July 2023 Verb tense refers to the past or present tense of a sentence. Carmine Gallo, Forbes, 9 Mar. 2023 From the start, everything is narrated from a present tense in which Henry is already gone; just as in life, where grief explodes and warps time, everything feels incredibly close one second and unbearably far away the next. Peter C. Baker, The New Yorker, 25 Nov. 2022 For the last 10 years, Kline has had a reputation for making art in a relentless present tense: up-to-the-minute installations and videos, executed with the latest technologies. Emma Goldberg, New York Times, 28 Apr. 2023 There are dips into their pasts, but the unifying present tense is the period of fallout after the massive earthquake and tsunami that devastated Japan in 2011. Sheri Linden, The Hollywood Reporter, 13 Apr. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'present tense.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined above

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

Dictionary Entries Near present tense

Cite this Entry

“Present tense.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition

present tense

: a 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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