In this episode, we will continue talking about the present continuous and present simple. We will compare the two tenses in this episode and talk about some special uses for the present continuous that are considered kind of exception from the main rule.
Disclaimer: I am using an automatic transcript service as it is not possible for me to do it on my own and I cannot afford human transcription at the moment. The service claims to have about 95% accuracy, which means there will still be some mistakes, so my apologies for having a less than perfect transcript, but I hope I can afford human transcription soon and this problem will be solved. However, the service is pretty good and the transcript will prove to be almost perfect.
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[00:01:03] Continue, welcome to another grammar episode from English plus podcast. Today we will continue what we started talking about in the previous episode. And that is the present continuous and the present simple in this episode, we will compare the present continuous to the present, simple, and we will understand more how we can use each in different situations.
[00:01:30] And we will still have one more episode to talk about some advanced concepts when it comes to using the present continuous and present simple. So stay tuned. And if you listen to this series of three episodes about the present, continuous and present simple, trust me, you will know everything there is to know about the present continuous and the present simple.
[00:01:52] Don’t forget that you can find the full transcript of this episode and a quiz to help you check your understanding of what we talked about in a link. I will leave in the description of this episode, but now without further ado, let’s dive in and talk about the present continuous and present simple. Now the present continuous, we use it for things that are happening at, or around the time of speaking.
[00:02:19] But remember the most important thing we’re talking about an action that is not complete, but when we talk about the present simple, we use the simple four things in general or things that happen repeatedly. It doesn’t matter if this thing is happening at the moment of speaking or not, because that’s not what we want to say.
[00:02:41] What we want to say is what happens in general or how things happen repeatedly. Let’s see what that means in a few examples we’re going to have in the present continuous and the present simple. Now, what if I say the water is boiling? Be careful. I use the present. Continuous, the water is boiling. What I mean by that, that this is happening right now.
[00:03:07] The water is boiling. It is hot and it’s still hot because it’s still boiling. This action is not finished yet. So be careful. I don’t want you to hurt yourself, but what if I want to talk about water and boiling in general, I’m talking about it as a scientific fact. I use the present. Simple. I say, for example, water boils at 100 degrees Celsius.
[00:03:32] Another example, listen to those people. What language are they speaking? What I’m talking about right now is I’m standing somewhere and I can hear some people speaking, but I can’t understand the language they are speaking. And it’s all happening at the moment. What language are they speaking right now?
[00:03:55] It’s not a general thing. I’m not asking somebody. About the language they speak. If I want to do that, I can say, for example, excuse me. Do you speak English? Not are you speaking English because are you speaking English? That’s not happening right now. I’m asking you about the language you speak in general, or in this case, if you speak this language, which is English, do you speak English because I want to talk to you in English.
[00:04:25] Do you speak this language? It’s a general fact. I’m not talking about what’s happening at the moment. Let’s get another example. Let’s go out it. Isn’t raining now. And I’m talking about right now, I look outside my window and I see it’s not training. The weather is nice. Let’s go out, but I’m not talking about what happens in general in a certain season or something.
[00:04:50] If I want to do that, I can say, for example, it doesn’t drain very much in summer. So here, that is a general fact. That is something that happens repeatedly. It doesn’t rain very much in summer. Not right now. Maybe now we are in winter and, um, and it’s raining outside, but I’m talking about summer and what usually happens in summer.
[00:05:13] Another example, I’m getting hungry. Let’s go and eat. I’m getting hungry. It’s something that is happening. And remember, we talked about how things that are changing can be used in present continuous, because they’re still changing. I am getting hungry. Let’s go and eat. But that’s not what usually happens.
[00:05:35] I’m not talking about my habits or what usually happens at this time of day or at that time of day. If I want to do that, I use the present simple. I say, for example, I always get hungry in the afternoon. And here I use the present simple. So you see the difference between the present continuous and the present.
[00:05:56] Simple is talking about specific things that are happening at the moment of speaking or around the moment of speaking, of course, or when we talk about things that happen regularly, things that happen in general. So that is the present simple. And we use the present continuous for temporary situations.
[00:06:17] Remember the word temporary, because that will help you distinguish between the present continuous and the present. Simple a lot more easily. When we talk about temporary situations, that’s continuous. And when we talk about permanent situations, that’s the simple. And even this idea will help you with other tenses for simple and continuous tenses, which we will talk about in later episodes.
[00:06:44] But now let’s focus on the present continuous and present simple. When we talk about temporary situations, things that continue for a short time, but they’re not permanent. They’re not things that continue for a long time. For example, I can say I’m living with some friends until I find a place of my own.
[00:07:04] Well, obviously you can understand from the sentence itself that this is a temporary situation. I’m not planning to live with those friends forever. I am living with them right now. It’s not exactly at the moment I’m talking about. Of course it’s going to happen for some time. Who knows maybe for a week for a couple of days, maybe for a couple of months.
[00:07:26] I don’t exactly know until I find a place of my own, but I am talking about a temporary situation. So that’s why we use the present continuous. But what about if I say my parents live in London, they have lived there all their lives. I am talking about a permanent situation. My parents live in London, not at the moment, not on a temporary basis.
[00:07:53] This is where they live. This is their place. This is their address. So it is a permanent situation. I’m trying to describe now here, a lot of people tell me, but how do you know if it is a permanent thing? What if I say. I live in Los Angeles. And then after a week I moved and I changed the place where I live.
[00:08:14] Well, that doesn’t matter what matters is what to want to say. Do you want me to feel or to understand actually, do you want me to understand, stand that? What you’re saying is temporary or permanent. If you tell me I’m living in Los Angeles. I understand, even without continuing, you don’t have to tell me I’m living in Los Angeles, but this is only temporary.
[00:08:37] I’m planning to move somewhere else. You don’t have to complete the sentence for me. I automatically understand that it is a temporary thing, because you said I’m living in Los Angeles. That’s that’s how I understood it. But if you tell me I live in Los Angeles, so I understand automatically that this is a permanent thing.
[00:08:59] It doesn’t matter if this changes, because maybe you’re saying I’m living in Los Angeles and you end up living in Los Angeles. It was for the rest of your life. And it is obviously permanent, but what really matters is what you mean to say, what do you want to say? Do you want to say that this is permanent?
[00:09:16] Do you want to say that this is temporary? You’ve got the tools to do that. And the tools are the present continuous for temporary situations and the present simple for permanent situations. And now let’s move on to talk about a special use for the present continuous. Now when we use adverbs of frequency, uh, always often, sometimes rarely seldom, et cetera.
[00:09:41] We usually use the present simple because the adverbs of frequency themselves are the heart of the present simple itself. When we set, present simple, we said we use present simple to talk about things that happen repeatedly. That happened at a certain pattern and adverbs of frequency give you this pattern always happens all the time.
[00:10:07] Most of the time, or a lot of times you can use usually often it happens occasionally, et cetera. So the adverbs are frequency themselves. They mean that this thing happens repeatedly. But for always, we can use it with the present continuous, but with a very specific meaning, of course you say, I always do something that means I do it every time.
[00:10:32] Like when you say, I always go to work by car, you don’t say I’m always going to work by car. But there is a situation when you can use always with the present continuous, but the meaning is very specific. You can say I’m always doing something and that is correct. But by doing that or by saying that you mean that I do it too often or more often than normal.
[00:11:01] And usually when you use always and the present continuous, you’re talking about something you disapprove of. Or when you’re criticizing something, for example, you can say, I’ve lost my keys again. I’m always losing them. I do it too often, or more often than normal people. You know, I I’m always losing them.
[00:11:23] And of course you don’t have to use this only when you want to talk about yourself, you can use it to talk about other people as well, especially when you are criticizing them. You’re just saying that they do this thing. More often than usual, and that’s not normal. For example, you can say John is never satisfied.
[00:11:44] He’s always complaining cleaning. You’re just trying to, to say that he complains too much. He’s always complaining. Yes. Always is not usually used with presence. Simple. You can simply say he always complains, but if you say he always complains. You’re being neutral about it. You’re not criticizing him.
[00:12:06] You’re not saying that this is too much. So I’m not saying that you can say he always complains. He always complains is perfectly fine. But when you say he always complains, you’re just telling me what he does all the time, but you’re not saying whether you approve of this or you disapprove of this.
[00:12:25] You’re not saying whether you think this is too much or not, but when you use this expression, when you use always with present continuous, you are telling me that he complains too much. He’s always complaining and I’m sick of it. Something like that. And here, the beauty of knowing how to use your tenses, right?
[00:12:46] Is that you can say a lot with very few words. You know, if you want to say all this and you don’t know that you can use the present continuous with always, you will have to say it in another way. You can say, for example, he always complains, but I find that too much. He complains more than other people.
[00:13:08] And I don’t like it when he does that. Of course, this is perfectly normal. But how about just saying he’s always complaining instead of saying the whole thing. Because he’s always complaining, conveys all the sentences I used earlier. So that is the beauty of understanding how to use your tenses to serve what you want to say.
[00:13:32] Remember, grammar ways to serve what you want to say. Grammar is not there to puzzle you or to give you headaches. There are just tools for you to talk and or tools you have, the more meaning you will convey with fewer words. And that is what we call good English. Another example, before we move on to talk about another idea, you’re always looking at your phone.
[00:13:59] Don’t you have anything else to do? And I’m complaining about this. When I say you’re always looking at your phone, you automatically understand that I don’t like that. And I think that you do that more than other people, more than normal. It’s too much. You’re always looking at your phone and this is something a lot of people do these days.
[00:14:20] They’re always looking at their phones and they’re always trying to show you pictures of stupid things that you are not interested in. So I’m using always with presently continuous to talk about something that I think is happening too often. And I don’t like I disapprove of while we can use that rarely in situations when it is not about criticism or talking about something that happens to us.
[00:14:47] We usually use this expression always with present, continuous to complain about things on, to talk about things that we don’t approve of. So that was about this idea. Let’s move on to talk about another idea for the present continuous and the present. Simple. Now we use continuous forms and in our case here, we’re talking about the present continuous, like I’m waiting, it’s raining, et cetera.
[00:15:14] We use it for actions and happenings that have started, but not finished. And we totally understand that by now, but some verbs, for example, verbs, like no, and like, Are not normally used in this way. We don’t say I’m knowing this guy. I’ve seen him before. He don’t say I’m knowing this guy. You say, I know this guy, or you don’t say for example, Oh, I’m liking apples very much while we can say that in a different way.
[00:15:45] And we will talk about it next episode. But in general you say, I like apples. You don’t say I’m liking apples. Well, these verbs. No, and like, and other verbs I will just talk about, they are not normally used in the present continuous verbs, like, like one need prefer, no realize, understand, recognize, believe, suppose, remember, mean belong, fit, contained, consist, or seam.
[00:16:14] These are state of verbs. These verbs talk about or describe a state and not an action. And state of verbs are not normally used in the present. Continuous. We usually use them with the simple present or the present. Simple. We say, for example, I’m hungry. I want something to eat. Well, the meaning I want something to eat.
[00:16:40] Is right now. And it is temporary because it’s not, I usually want something to eat. No, it’s just right now because I’m hungry. It is temporary. So we have all the meaning. We need to use the present continuous, but we don’t. We use the present symbol for that I, something to eat, not unwanting, something to eat.
[00:17:01] Why is that? Because want is a state of verb is a verb that describes a state. Wait, not an action. And when it is not an action, it cannot usually be continuous. Because continuous actions are for actions only, not for States. Another example we say, do you stand what I mean? Not, are you understanding what I’m meaning, because understand and mean are state of verbs or Anna doesn’t seem very happy right now.
[00:17:34] Not isn’t seeming because same again is this state of verb. However, some of these state of verbs can be used both ways. But the meaning is different. For example, we have the verb, the think, well think is a state of verb when we mean believe or have an opinion and we don’t use it in the continuous. Yeah.
[00:17:55] In that sense, we say, I think John is Canadian, but I’m not sure. I hear, I think John is Canadian. It’s like saying I believe, I suppose, et cetera. I don’t say here unthinking, John is Canadian because think here I’m using it in the meaning of believe or what do you think of my idea? I’m asking about your opinion.
[00:18:20] What do you think of my idea? What’s your opinion. That’s what I’m saying. So we don’t say, what are you thinking of my idea, but when think means consider or the actual action of thinking. We can use it in the present continuous, but what are you doing right now? Well, I’m thinking about something. I think whatever that thing is, you’re thinking, and that is an action.
[00:18:47] It might not be an action like running or walking, but it is an action you’re using your brain to do so. I’m thinking about what happened. I’m thinking about going out, I’m thinking about a solution for this problem. So we can use think, which is a state of verb usually, but when it comes in the meaning of an action verb, like consider, we can use it in the present.
[00:19:13] Continuous, we can say, Nikki is thinking of giving up her job. She’s considering it. She’s thinking about it. It’s an action. And it’s happening temporarily right now because she hasn’t given up her job yet. So don’t forget the present continuous. Yes, we can use it with think when we mean consider, but remember you still need to talk about something that is temporary and that’s happening at the moment or around the moment of speaking.
[00:19:44] And what we said about other state of verbs also works for verbs that talk about the senses. See, hear, smell, taste, look, and feel. We normally use the present. Simple, not continuous with see, hear, smell, and taste. We say, do you see that man over there? Not, are you seeing, it’s not an action. It’s a state either.
[00:20:07] You see this man, or I don’t see this, man. It’s not. Look, look is different. Look, you can say I’m looking at this man right there, because looking is an action. Is a voluntary action. You turn your head and you look over there. So that is different from C, but C just happens if you happen to turn your head to that side or this side.
[00:20:33] You may see something or you may not so see is different from look and the same goes for smell the room smells. And if I just say smells in this sense, I don’t mean it’s a good smell. I’m talking about a bad smell. The room smells let’s open a window, or I say this soup doesn’t taste very good. But here, I would like to talk about an exception, especially with taste.
[00:20:58] Now taste is a state of verb, obviously, but it can also be an action verb. When you say that soup doesn’t taste very good. You’re talking about the taste of the soup and it’s a general thing. It’s not something that’s happening right now. You’re talking about a quality. Of the soup, which is the flavor of the soup, or actually the taste of the soup, but based can also be an action verb if you’re actually tasting something like what chefs do all the time, when they cook.
[00:21:28] They taste what they cook. So if you look at the shift at that very moment, and I asked you, what is the chef doing? And he can tell me the chef is tasting the soup. I’m not talking about what the soup tastes like. If it is good or not good. I’m talking about the action of tasting. So it is possible to say the chef is tasting the soup or whatever he’s cooking.
[00:21:53] So yes, you don’t usually use these verbs with a present continuous, but some exceptions are possible. Now you can use the present simple or continuous to say how somebody looks or feels. You say you look well today, but you can also say you’re looking well today. Both are fine, no big deal. Or you can say, how do you feel now?
[00:22:16] And you say, how are you feeling now? Both are fine. No big deal. No big difference, actually. But don’t use frequency adverbs with I N G or with the present continuum. Don’t say I am usually feeling tired in the morning that doesn’t work. If you use, usually stick to the present. Simple, you say, I usually feel tired in the morning, and usually you say that to a friend and maybe at a different time.
[00:22:45] So I look at you, what’s wrong with you? Why are you so tired? Tell me, well, I usually feel tired in the morning. If you say usually always et cetera, adverbs of frequency, stick to the present, simple in this case. And now we will come to the last point I want to talk about in this episode. And that is using M is R with being, so we use verb to be itself in its continuous form.
[00:23:14] Well, you might not hear this expression every day, but it is used and it is very special because it carries a very specific and important meaning you can say he’s being, or your being or she’s being. And of course you follow that up with an adjective to say how somebody is behaving. Now you say, for example, I can’t understand why he’s being so selfish.
[00:23:42] He isn’t usually like that. Well, being selfish is behaving selfishly now. And the thing is that is not usually how he behaves. This is different and I’m talking about something that is not normal. And I can use that to show my disapproval, but we don’t have to use it in a disapproval way all the time. We can say the path is icy.
[00:24:06] Don’t slip. And I tell you, don’t worry, I’m being very careful so we can do that. Of course. But we usually use this expression to say that someone is doing something that is not usually what he does. And I kind of, I don’t like what he’s doing right now. He’s being selfish. You’re being childish. You did you do that all the time?
[00:24:30] You tell your friends, if your friends do something that is just like children, you say you’re being childish. So remember we use this expression to talk about how somebody is behaving now, and it’s not usual behavior for this person, but if you want to say he never thinks about other people, he never thinks about other people.
[00:24:51] And I’m saying that because it happens all the time. I don’t have to say he’s being very selfish because that doesn’t work. He is very selfish. He is very selfish. We use verb to be alone, not verb to be in the continuous form because using verb to be in the continuous form is saying that this is not usually what he does.
[00:25:14] It is strange to me. And I don’t know what to make of it. If I say he’s being very selfish, he’s not usually like that. Usually you find this person very generous or selfless, et cetera, but he’s being very selfish, but not in this example, I just talked about. When I say he never thinks about other people.
[00:25:34] And when I say that, I mean all the time, so I don’t use his being very selfish. I say he is very selfish or you say, I don’t like to take risks. I’m a very careful person. Not I’m being careful. No, I am a careful person all the time. That’s usually how I am. If I am a risk taking person and I love risks, I love adventure, but today I’m feeling a little different.
[00:26:01] I’m kind of careful today and it’s not usually how I am. I say I’m being careful today. I’m surprised I’m not usually a careful person. So you see the difference. You can use verb to be in the continuous form, but the meaning is very specific. So you use M is or are with being, and that is the present continuous of verb to be, to say how a person is behaving now, but you have to be careful.
[00:26:30] We don’t use that with all our other adjectives. Some adjectives are impossible to be used with those. You don’t say Sam is being ill. Well, Sam is either ill or not with some adjectives or some situations you’re either this or not. Are you tired? Not, are you being tired? It doesn’t make any sense. What is the meaning of, are you being tired?
[00:26:53] You’re either tired or you’re not, are you hungry? You can say, are you being hungry or she’s being hungry? What does that mean? She’s not usually hungry. And now she is, that is not a character trait. That is not something that is related to personality. Think about M is our being and use it with personality traits.
[00:27:14] That is the safest way to use it correctly. Every time you talk about selfish, generous, brave, et cetera, you can use that, but the meaning has to be specific to what we just talked about. So that was everything I wanted to share with you today about the differences between the present continuous and the present.
[00:27:34] Simple, but that’s not everything. We still have some nuances we want to talk about and some advanced concepts with the present, simple, and the present continuous, but that will be for the next episode. So stick around because we will have this episode next week. Don’t forget to use the link in the description. [00:27:52] To get to the post where you can find the full transcript and a link to a quiz you can use to check your understanding of everything we talked about in this episode. This is your host, Danny. Thank you very much for listening and I will see you next time.