Present (Présent)
 
 
As its name indicates, the present tense is used to describe actions taking place in the present. French has only one present tense, while English can express present actions four different ways. Compare:
I work
I am working
I do work
I have been working
In French these are all expressed by: je travaille.

Three special structures can be used to emphasize or skew the time frame of the present:

1. To emphasize the present and to express being "in the midst" of an activity, use the expression, "être en train de + infinitive":

2. To use the present tense to indicate the recent past, use "venir de + infinitive": The recent past construction may also be used in the imperfect to express a pluperfect meaning.

3. To use the present tense to refer to the near future (futur proche), use "aller + infinitive":

In addition, French uses the present tense in certain phrases to express actions which began in the past but which are ongoing. These expressions include "depuis", "il y a... que", "voici... que", "voilà... que", "ça fait... que", and the interrogatives, "depuis quand..." and "depuis combien de temps...":  

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