\u201cCarpe diem\u201d is a Latin phrase often translated as \u201cseize the day.\u201d It\u2019s used to urge people to appreciate the present moment instead of thinking about the past or future too much. And in that spirit, we\u2019ve written this blog post about using the present tense.\n\n\n[caption id="attachment_3256" align="aligncenter" width="347"] "Carp diem," meanwhile, means "Be a fish for the day."[\/caption]\nAfter all, you certainly won\u2019t be \u201cseizing the day\u201d if you spend all your time worrying about errors in your writing. So, do yourself a favor and seize this grammatical advice instead.\n\nSimple Present\nThe simplest form of the present tense is, appropriately, called the \u201csimple present\u201d tense. This is possibly the most common grammatical tense in English, as we use it to describe:\n\n\n \tCurrent facts (e.g., I live in Chicago.)\n \tGeneral truths (e.g., Many people live in Chicago.)\n \tThings that happen regularly (e.g., The bus arrives in Chicago at 8am.)\n \tThings due to happen at a fixed time in the future (e.g., The festival begins in July.)\n\nThe base verb form is usually correct in the simple present tense. However, the verb form changes slightly in when writing in the singular third person. For example:\nFirst Person: I live in Chicago.\nSecond Person: You live in Chicago.\nThird Person: He\/she lives in Chicago.\nAs above, when using the third-person singular, an extra \u201cs\u201d is added to the base verb.\n\nPresent Continuous\nThe present continuous tense is used to describe an ongoing or incomplete action. It is formed by combining \u201cam,\u201d \u201cis,\u201d or \u201care\u201d with a present participle. For example:\nI am learning Latin.\nThey are going to the beach.\nShe is dancing on the ceiling.\nAll of these examples emphasize an ongoing or incomplete process. But they\u2019re also things that have an endpoint or where progress can be made, not steady states of affairs (e.g., I live in Chicago) or general truths (e.g., Rain is wet) that don\u2019t change over time.\n\nPresent Perfect\nThe present perfect tense is used for actions that happened at an unspecified time in the past:\nWe have visited New York twice.\nIt can also be used to describe actions that began in the past and continue into the present (or that happened in the past and continue to be true in the present):\nShe has lived here since she was young.\nIn both cases, the present perfect tense combines \u201chas\u201d or \u201chave\u201d with a past participle. \u00a0Most past participles, including \u201cvisited\u201d and \u201clived\u201d above, are formed by adding \u201c-ed\u201d to the end of a base verb. However, keep an eye out for irregular verbs that don\u2019t follow this pattern. For instance:\nThe leaves have fallen from the trees.\nIn this case, since \u201cfall\u201d is an irregular verb, we use the past participle \u201cfallen\u201d (not \u201cfalled\u201d).\n\nPresent Perfect Continuous\nFinally, we have the present perfect continuous tense, which combines elements of the present perfect and present continuous tenses. As such, it\u2019s used to describe ongoing actions that began in the past. We indicate this by combining \u201chas been\u201d or \u201chave been\u201d with a present participle:\nI have been waiting for the last half hour.\nHere, for example, \u201chave been waiting\u201d describes an ongoing process of waiting, but with an emphasis on how long the speaker has been there. This makes it distinct from the present perfect \u201cI am waiting.\u201d\nHopefully that clears up how different present tense forms are used. If you want to make sure your writing is error free, though, embrace the spirit of \u201ccarpe diem\u201d and have your work proofread today.