Verbs: Present Simple and Present Continuous

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Verbs: Present Simple and Present Continuous

Post by Kangas on Thu Nov 28, 2013 3:14 pm

Today we talk about Simple Present and Present Continuous. Even though they are both present tenses there are a few differences between them. This might be particularly difficult for Portuguese speakers who tend to apply the Portuguese Grammar which obviously won't make sense for the English Language. In Portuguese (from Portugal) you use the Simple Present in almost every situation, but we know in English that's not the case, so let's study what happens for the English Language...

For this study I used the English Grammar in Use, Cambridge University Press by Raymond Murphy.


  • Present Continuous
    We use the Present Continuous to to refer to something that happened around the time of speaking (now). The action is unfinished. Let's see all the examples:


    • The action is happening at the time of speaking
      We use the Present Continuous to refer to something that is happening at the time of speaking but it is not finished. That means we are in middle of doing something.
      Example: Margaret can't answer her phone at the moment, she's driving to work.

    • The action is not happening at the time of speaking
      Sometimes we have the case of something we have started but it is not finished. Even though we might not be doing it at the time of speaking we haven't finished yet and therefore we also use the Present Continuous.
      Example: Sarah is learning Japanese before she moves to Japan.

    • The action happens in a period of time around the time of speaking
      We also use the Present Continuous for actions that happen in a period of time around the time of speaking.  Usually you will see words like today/this week/ this evening to indicate that period.
      Example: Is Mary working today?

    • Changes that happen around the time of speaking
      When you refer to changes that happen around the time of speaking you also use the Present Continuous.
      Example: The population of the world is rising very fast.




  • Present Simple
    The Present Simple has a broader meaning. It is used to talk about things in general not just the ones that happened around the time of speaking. Here are the different examples:


    • To talk about things in general
      We used the Present Simple to talk about things in general. This means things that happen all the time, repeatedly or things that are generaly true regardless of the time of speaking.
      Example: Anne is Australian.

    • To say how often we do things
      We also use the Present Simple to say how often we do a certain thing.
      Example: Brett gets up at 6 o'clock every morning.

    • To do something by saying it
      Sometimes the action itself is what you're saying, in other words, you're doing something just by saying it. That is the case when you promise, suggest, apologise, agree, advise, insist, refuse, etc. For all these actions you use the Simple Present.
      Example: I suggest you finish your report before the boss comes from the meeting.



Kangas

Source: English Grammar in Use, Cambridge University Press

Kangas

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