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Instructor: Sarah Torabian

The present simple and the present continuous tenses are the most common ways of expressing present time in English. The present simple describes things that are generally true, while the present continuous describes things that are true at the time of speaking, but which may change. Let’s take a look at the present time uses of these two tenses.

she or it.she watches. s. they carry-it carries x Carina enjoy hospital dramas so she watch ‘ER’ every week. -ies when the base form ends in y): I read. Carina enjoys hospital dramas so she watches ‘ER’ every week. when we add s to the base form (-es after o.he reads. ch and x. sh.PRESENT SIMPLE  The form of the present simple verb only changes after he.    . we watch.

In the negative we usually use the contracted forms don’t and doesn’t in speech and informal writing: Japanese cooking doesn’t use a lot of dairy food. Do interest rates usually go up in order to reduce inflation?   .Negative   We form the negative and questions with the auxiliary do.

General truths and facts  We often use the present simple to state truths and to describe things which we feel are facts or permanent situations: • Things which are generally true: British people drink a lot of tea. • Permanent situations:  . • Facts:     Broken bones in adults don’t heal as fast as they do in children. while Americans drink more coffee.

never) and expressions of frequency (every …. We often use the present simple with adverbs of frequency (always. once a …):      Share prices usually change on a daily basis – but often by very little. usually. the soil freezes and contracts … The Blairs take their summer holiday in a quiet part of Tuscany. Our two chefs provide an excellent choice of hot meals every day. . sometimes.Repeated events/actions  We use the present simple to describe things that happen on a regular basis: As temperatures fall with the approach of winter. often.

g. go through an iron gate and follow the path west …   This is similar to the imperative. particularly when the action being described is a quick one and is therefore over before the description finishes:   .g. go through an iron gate and follow the path west … We use the present simple when we want to express the immediacy of an event.Series of events/actions  We use the present simple to describe a series of events or actions (e. but the imperative can sound more abrupt: Cross the road. e. to give directions or instructions) often with impersonal you: From here you cross the road. in sports commentaries.


 We form the present continuous with the present of the verb be and the present participle of the main verb: 'What are the children doing?’ We usually contract is or are to ’s or ’re in speech and informal writing: ‘Well. Alan’s drawing in his room and Sophie’s watching TV with me.’    .

Spelling Note the following spelling rules for forming the present participle: Base form + -ing: draw -drawing. create -creating Base form + consonant + -ing: swim -swimming. run running ! We often omit the pronoun and auxiliary (is or are) when we repeat the present continuous in the same sentence: . watch -watching. speak -speaking Base form ending in -e + -ing: take -taking. receive receiving.

The action is likely to continue after the time of speaking. it is temporary: I’ll be with you in a minute.Things which are true now  The present continuous describes an action in progress at the moment of speaking or around the time of speaking.  . We are staying with John to try and find out if his place really is haunted. i. just.e. but is likely to stop at some point.    Common adverbs with this form are now. I’m just finishing something in the kitchen. still and at the moment: We’re studying the writings of Günter Grass on the German course now.

study and stay in the continuous if the action is temporary. .She stays in the Waldorf Astoria on this visit to New York.She’s staying in the Waldorf Astoria on this visit to New York. doesn’t she? 2. work. isn’t she? We use live.Which question is correct? 1.

. The present simple describes a regular event which we see as unchanging: We get a lot of rain during the winter in this part of the world. We do not use the present simple to express this: x British summers get hotter and winters get wetter.We also use the present continuous to describe things which are changing: British summers are getting hotter and winters are getting wetter.

(repeated action over a long period of time. possibly most of Graham’s life) Graham’s having a tough time at the office at the moment and he’s smoking about fifty cigarettes a day! (repeated action in a temporary period)   .Repeated events  It is possible to use the present continuous to talk about repeated events or actions.    Graham’s a confirmed smoker. usually if they happen within a temporary period: I’m feeding the neighbor's cat this week while she’s in hospital. He smokes about fifty cigarettes a day.

It’s so annoying    . perhaps too often as far as the speaker is concerned: The baby’s always making cute little gurgling noises. forever or continually to talk about repeated actions that happen very often. We can use the present continuous with an adverb such as always. The neighbours are forever slamming doors and shouting during the night. I’m always forgetting people’s birthdays.

when the action is in progress throughout the time of speaking: (… and he crosses the line two seconds ahead of his closest rival…  .Series of events  You may hear the present continuous used in sports commentaries.

They often describe states of being. possessing or feeling: Which sentence is correct? 1.VERBS RARELY USED IN THE CONTINUOUS   There are a number of verbs in English which we rarely use in a continuous tense. thinking.    .Most people aren’t believing in the existence of UFOs. 2.Most people don’t believe in the existence of UFOs.

want. detest. own.The most common of these verbs are:  verbs of existing or being be. love. lack. despise. need. prefer. like. consist of. wish  . include. desire. exist verbs of possessing belong to. possess  verbs of feeling or wanting adore. hate. have (= own). trust. envy. dislike. contain. pity.

see (= understand). forget. deserve. fit. resemble. imagine. recognise. understand verbs of appearance appear. mind. intend. weigh . know. seem other verbs concern. feel (= think). suppose. think. doubt. mean. expect. measure. depend. matter.verbs of thinking or believing believe. realise. remember.

see. e. I’m noticing that your wife doesn’t come to the wine tastings.Which sentence is correct? 1. Doesn’t she drink? We do not usually use the continuous form with verbs which describe a sense or a form of perception.g. notice. smell. . taste. I notice that your wife doesn’t come to the wine tastings. Doesn’t she drink? 2. hear.

i.With verbs which describe a sense. we usually use the simple form or can/could + the verb when we do not deliberately use the sense. the use is involuntary: Can you smell the fertiliser? We’re really in the countryside now! .e.