Words – Present

The word “present” can be a noun or a verb or an adjective.


In many countries we give presents or gifts to people at Christmas and on birthdays but not in all countries. In Japan we sometimes give gifts to mark the season. In Vietnam the birthday is not such an important day. In some countries they give presents at Easter.


What is the situation in your country?


We talk about past, present and future to describe time. This is a very important concept in the English language because all sentences have a verb and all verbs have a tense. Tense means “time” in this context but it has other meanings too.

Attendance and Absence – The School Roll

At school the teacher marks the roll to show which students are present and which students are absent:

present – absent

here – away

“Present” can also mean mentally focused. We use the expression:

The lights are on but nobody is home.

to describe somebody who is stupid or preoccupied or not mentally present.


As a verb or action we use the word “present” to mean “introduce”. It is a formal and unusual way of speaking.

He presented me to the queen.
He introduced me to the queen.

In French we use the word in the same way but it is more common.

Are you a French speaker?

Present and Represent

If we add the prefix “re” to “present” we get “represent”. This is an important and interesting word. It has several nuances.

We usually say that “re” means “back or again”

read – reread – read again

work – rework – work again or redo

do – redo – do again

build – rebuild – build again or renew or renovate

“Represent” does not usually mean “present again”. Look how we use it:


The politician who represents my electorate in parliament is a woman.

Are there many female political representatives in your country?



The athlete who represented South Africa in the 400 metre sprint at the last Olympics had artificial legs.

Do you know his name?
What do you know about him?

Relative Clauses

What is the name of the athlete who represented South Africa at the last Olympics?

Answer like this:

The name of the athlete who represented South Africa is …. .

Talking about Words

That statement does not accurately represent my views.
It does not fully describe what I think.

Talking about a Situation

“Misrepresent” means to falsely represent or to lie about someone or something.

An employee of the government misrepresented my situation.

That means a government official either lied about my situation or made a mistake.

Are there many corrupt government officials in your country?



In law, “fraud” is distinguished from “misrepresentation”. Misrepresentation is a situation where the words do not truthfully or accurately describe the facts. Fraud is a deliberate misrepresentation with the intent to gain a benefit.

Financial analysts at the largest banks in the world deliberately misrepresent situations in order to encourage people to invest money.

This is fraud.

Do you think the government should break up the big banks?


Write your answer in the comments section below.

Is fraud and misrepresentation a major problem in the financial industry in your country?


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