In a conversation of two people, one says to the other,
I just got a box of cubans. Maybe I bring 'em by your office around 5:00
In the latter sentence, the present tense, bring, is used.
It seems possible to use I would bring or I could bring.
what kind of meaning is implied when using the present tense?

  • It's a mark of substandard colloquial speech (or non-native speaker) to omit the future marker will (or can / could, depending largely on any intended nuance of requesting permission) in contexts like this. Avoid it, and don't waste any time trying to deconstruct the "grammar". – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Feb 21 at 16:56
  • (Note that will would often be contracted to 'll anyway, and might well be so "understressed" that even though the speaker thinks he's articulating the word, you as a non-native speaker might simply not hear it.) – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Feb 21 at 17:05

English tenses have a complicated relationship to time. In its simplest form, the present tense indicates action happening right now. There are two problems with the present tense in your example. The first is that you just got a box of cigars at say, 4:00, and you're talking about delivering them at 5:00, which is in the future. The simple present won't do since it indicates action at 4:00. So you could say

I will bring 'em by your office around 5:00.

The second problem is that because you've said "maybe," you're not sure whether the 5:00 delivery is possible or desirable. To get those senses, you'll need to use auxiliary verbs to express modal meaning, i.e., meaning not connected to time:

Seeking permission:

May I bring 'em by your office around 5:00?

Asking about propriety:

Should I bring 'em by your office around 5:00?

Asking about possibility:

Could I bring 'em by your office around 5:00?

Don't be fooled by the plain form bring which is used in these cases. The plain form of the verb is also used for the present tense, but all the action considered is in the future.

There are two times when the present tense is appropriate for other than the present moment. The first is historical narrative (past time) that is transposed to the present tense for immediacy:

I remember my first job, a tough one. I get up at 4:00 so I can be at the market at 4:30 where I buy the cigars. Then I bring 'em by the office around 5:00. Afterwards I have ten minutes to get a quick breakfast.

Here the narrator remembers (present tense) now about a job in the past but relates all the duties of that job in the present tense as well. The past tense (got, could, bought, brought, had) are natural here as well.

The so-called enduring present tense is also used to indicate habitual or long-standing action that has taken place for a long time, happens now, and is expected to continue.

Q: Tell me about your cigar delivery duties.
A: I bring 'em by your office around 5:00

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