Use of tenses: Talking about the present

The present progressive is used:

■ to talk about an action that is happening now, or about a temporary situation:
  • We’re just having breakfast.
  • What are you reading?
  • She’s not listening to me.
  • They’re spending a year in Spain.

■ to talk about something that is not yet finished, even if you are not doing it at the moment when you are talking:
  • I’m learning Italian.
  • She’s writing a novel.

■ with always, to talk about something that happens often, and that you find annoying:
  • He’s always asking silly questions.
  • They’re always coming round here to borrow something.

NOTE Some verbs are not used in the progressive tenses, for example need, want, know, agree, seem, appear, understand, smell, hear, etc. These verbs refer to a state, not an action.
  • I need some new shoes.
  • He wants to go home.
  • Do you know Tania Smith?
  • They love Japanese food.
  • She hates her job.

NOTE Other verbs are used in the present progressive when they refer to an action, and the present simple when they refer to a state:
  • He’s tasting the soup.
  • The soup tastes salty.
  • She’s being difficult again.
  • She’s a difficult child.
  • What are you thinking about?
  • Do you think I should leave?

The present simple is used:

■ to talk about a permanent situation or something that is always true:
  • He lives in Spain.
  • Does he work in a factory?
  • Insects have six legs.
  • What temperature does water boil at?

■ to talk about things that happen regularly:

  • She leaves for school at 8 o’clock.
  • We don’t often go out for a meal.
  • What time do you catch the bus

© Oxford University Press

Popular Posts / Δημοφιλείς Αναρτήσεις