We celebrated my sister’s birthday on Sunday. I gave her the same present I have given her for the past 7 or 8 years – a trip to the circus. I think a trip to the circus makes a great present, despite the fact that we are both not kids anymore. Last week was also my youngest student’s graduation from his Happy English lessons. I presented him with a special Certificate of Achievement, with his name written right in the middle. He was so happy!
Today, I’m going to show you the two verbs, present and give, and the noun present. Be sure to check the audio file above, so that you can understand the difference in pronunciation between the noun present (stress on the first syllable) and the verb present (stress on the second syllable).
First of all, let’s look at the noun, present. Present means gift and is something that you give someone on a happy occasion, like a birthday present or a Christmas present:
- I gave my sister a fun present!
- Jack got many nice Christmas presents.
Give is the verb we generally use with the noun, present in everyday English:
- I gave her a nice present.
- We gave Tom two presents for Christmas.
- My mom always gives nice presents to us.
Present is the verb that we use in formal situations to talk about giving something formally, like in a ceremony:
- The school principal presented each student with a diploma at the graduation ceremony.
- Tom Hanks has been presented with several Academy Awards.
- The baseball hero was presented with a special award for his performance.
So present is the formal way of saying give. It would be strange in English to say, for example, “I will present her something for her birthday.” “I will give her something for her birthday” is more natural.