Friday, December 21, 2007

Simple Present // Present Continuous

Simple Present

Repeated Actions:
Use the Simple Present to express the idea that an action is repeated or usual. The action can be a habit, a hobby, a daily event, a scheduled event or something that often happens. It can also be something a person often forgets or usually does not do.

I play the piano.
She works at the library.

Facts or Generalizations: The Simple Present can also indicate the speaker believes that a fact was true before, is true now, and will be true in the future. It is not important if the speaker is correct about the fact. It is also used to make generalizations about people or things.

Dogs are noisy.
The moon is made of green cheese.

Now (Non-Continuous Verbs): Sometimes speakers use the Simple Present to express the idea that an action is happening or is not happening now. This can onl y be done with Non-continuous Verbs and certain Mixed Verbs.

I need a ride.
She likes chocolate ice cream.

Present Continuous

Use the Present Continuous with Continuous Verbs to express the idea that something is happening now, at this very moment. It can also be used to show that something is not happening now.

It’s raining.
The baby is sleeping.

Longer Actions in Progress Now: In English, now can mean “this second,” “today,” “this month,” “this year,” “this century” and so on. Sometimes we use the Present Continuous to say that we are in the process of doing a longer action which is in progress; however, we might not be doing it at this exact second.

I am studying English.
We’re working on an important project at my company.

Near Future: Sometimes, speakers use the Present Continuous to indicate that something will or will not happen in the near future.

She’s having a party this weekend.
We’re going on vacation.

Repetition and Irritation with “Always”: The Present Continuous with words such as “always” or “constantly” expresses the idea that something irritating or shocking often happens. Notice that the meaning is like Simple Present but with negative emotion. Remember to put the words “always” or “constantly” between “be” and “verb+ing.”

He’s always interrupting the teacher.
They’re constantly complaining about high prices.

It is important to remember that Non-Continuous Verbs cannot be used in any “continuous” tenses. Also, certain “non-continuous” meanings for Mixed Verbs cannot be used in “continuous” tenses. To express the idea of “happening now,” you must use Simple Present.

I am liking this music. (INCORRECT)
I like this music. (CORRECT)

Read the following sentences and determine whether SIMPLE PRESENT or PRESENT CONTINUOUS is correct. Solutions next time.

1. He __________ to eat bacon for breakfast. (like)

2. I __________ my keys – have you seen them? (miss)

3. We __________ spaghetti for supper. (have)

4. It __________ a lot in Seattle. (rain)

5. My brother __________ the grass, so he can’t go out and play. (cut)

6. Cats __________ intelligent creatures. (be)

7. It __________ in Seattle, so she __________ the Florida sunshine. (always, rain // miss)

8. Each Tuesday we __________ spaghetti for supper. (have)

9. My brother __________ the grass once a week. (cuts)

10. At Christmas, carolers __________ from door to door and __________ Christmas carols. (go // sing)

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