In this Grammar episode | Present Continuous and Present Simple 3, we will conclude our small series about the present continuous and the present simple and we will talk about some advanced uses of the two tenses.
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.
welcome to English plus podcast the English we speak and much more. Learn English. expand your knowledge and enjoy through our vocabulary builder novel grammar, literature, psychology, essential guides and poetry episodes. Support English plus podcast by becoming a patron of the show on Patreon. Use the link in the description to support our podcast and to help our free e learning journey continue. Welcome to a new grammar episode from English plus podcast. Today we will continue talking about present continuous and present simple and this will be the last of our three episode series on the present continuous and the Present Simple. Today we will talk about some of the advanced topics when it comes to using the present continuous and present simple. So let’s start right away by talking a little bit more about state verbs. We did talk about them in the
previous episode, but we didn’t mention some of the advanced concepts. When it comes to using state of verbs whether in the present continuous, or in the present simple. Well, we can use the present continuous with some state of verbs like attracts, like, Look, love or sound, to emphasize that a situation is temporary or for a period of time around the present. Now, let’s take a look at these two examples and you will understand what I’m talking about here. If we say Ella stays with us often, we can continue by saying the children love having her here. So we use the present simple, because we said Ella stays with us quite often. So it is not a temporary situation. It is not to talk about a period of time around the present. But what if we say LS with us at the moment, the children are loving having her here. So this is possible now.
We can use the present continuous with a state of verb which is love. Because the context is different. We’re not talking about Ella stays with us quite often, we’re not talking about a regular thing, kind of a permanent thing. We’re talking about something that is temporary, and the children are loving having her here that is happening around the present, or on a temporary basis. However, pay attention that doesn’t apply to all state of verbs. For example, believe consists of doubt or own, we rarely ever use them with the present continuous. So that is about some of the state of verbs that have the same meaning basically, but the context is different and the meaning we want from the sentence is different but the meaning of the verb itself is the same. However, some verbs have different meanings when they are used to talk about states.
When they describe actions with their state meanings, they usually take simple rather than continuous forms with their action meanings. They may take simple or continuous forms depending on the context. Of course, let’s take the example of the verb appear. If we say the app doesn’t appear to work on my phone, now appear here is a state, which means seem doesn’t seem to work. But what if we say, Carly is currently appearing in a musical on Broadway? So she’s currently appearing, that means taking part she is taking part in a musical on Broadway. And the context here we use it in the present continuous because we’re talking about she’s currently appearing in a musical we’re talking about what’s happening around now. Of course, even in this meaning, that is the action meaning of appear. We can use it in the present simple if we want to talk about it in a general sense, like saying she often appears in
musical’s other verbs that have different state and action meanings are verbs like cost, expect, feel fit, have imagined, measure, think or weigh. Think, of course, is a famous example, when we say what are you doing right now? Well, I’m thinking about a solution for this problem. It’s the action of thinking. It’s actually you’re exerting an effort by saying and doing that. But when you say, what do you think of this person? Well, I think he is a good person, a bad person, etc. I think I believe that’s a state. So remember, again, even when it comes in the action, meaning it doesn’t have to be continuous depends on the context. Like the example we talked about Carly, Carly is currently appearing in a musical on Broadway. That’s the context. We use the present continuous, but we can also say she often appears in media
musicals and that is present simple. So, that being said, let’s move on to talk about mental state verbs. With some verbs describing mental state like find, realize, regret, think and understand, we can use the present continuous to emphasize that we have recently started to think about something, or that we are not sure about something. Let’s take a look at these examples. To understand a little bit more what we mean by that. In the first example, I regret that the company will have to be sold. That means I’ve made the decision and I’m sorry about it. But if we say it in a different way, in the present continuous, I’m regretting my decision to give her the job. That means I’m increasingly aware that it was the wrong decision. So the meaning is different. I have recently started to think about it, and here I’m starting to realize that
I’ve made the wrong decision. Now if we talk about consider for example, if it means Think carefully about something, it is only used for the present continuous like when we say he’s considering taking early retirement not he considers taking early retirement. Some other verbs describing preferences and mental states like agree believe conclude no and prefer are rarely used with a present continuous. I believe you now not I’m believing you now, I don’t want you to think that this is always present simple and this is always present continuous and it is impossible to be used in this tense or the other. You have to be open minded when it comes to grammar, especially at the advanced level. Maybe when you start learning about the present simple and present continuous, like what we did in the first episode of this series, we usually talk about present simple and present continuous as black and white.
But to be honest, grammar mainly lives in the gray area in between black and white. It’s not about it’s always this tense or that you have to be flexible. And you have to know the different exceptions to the rules that we learn, especially at the elementary and the intermediate level. So now let’s continue talking about the present continuous and present simple, and we will talk about performative. Now, what are performative? Obviously, that’s the question maybe it’s a fancy word that we use in grammar. We talk about performances for the verbs which perform the action they describe. We have a lot of verbs like that, like the verb suggests, request, acknowledge, admit, advise, apologize, beg, confess, congratulate, declare, deny, forbid guarantee name, order, permit, predict, promise, refuse reminder
request, think and warn. What is the special thing about performative is that we use the present simple with verbs which perform the action they describe. We say I suggest you park outside the city and get the bus to the center, or we request that you read the Terms and Conditions carefully before signing. Now some verbs used as performative with the present simple in affirmative sentences like apologize deny, guaranteed promise or suggest have a similar meaning with either the present simple or the present continuous in negative sentences back when we say I don’t deny taking the books, but Miguel said it would be okay. Or if we say I’m not denying taking the books, but Miguel said it would be okay. Well, that is a very limited use and we use it only negative models are often used with performative to make what we say more tentative or polite
Like when we say, we would advise you to arrive two hours before the flight leaves, or I must beg you to keep this a secret. So that was about the state of verbs the mental state of verbs and performative. Now let’s move on to talk about some other uses of the present simple and continuous in specific situations, we often use the present simple and present continuous in stories and jokes in informal spoken English to create the impression that events are happening now. Now, the story or joke might have happened in the past. So it might make sense to use the past simple or past continuous, which we will talk about in later episodes. But we use the present continuous and present simple to give this impression that it is happening right now to make the story alive. And this can make the stories more direct and exciting and hold people’s attention.
compare these two versions of the same story. She went up to this man and looked straight into his eyes. He was not wearing his glasses, and he didn’t recognize her. Well, nothing is wrong with this version, where I use the past simple and the past continuous. But look at the difference. When I use the present simple and the present continuous. The story suddenly comes to life. She goes up to this man and looks straight into his eyes. He’s not wearing his glasses, and he doesn’t recognize her. So you see that just by using the present simple and the present continuous. And I have to say I changed my tone of voice a little bit. But that brought the story to life, because it made it closer to us. The present is not just something like the past, there’s no distance. So we feel like it is not happening right now. We shouldn’t be involved, at least on a psychological level.
use the present continuous and present simple with stories and jokes to make them more direct and exciting, and they hold people’s attention even better. And like in this example, the main events are usually described in sequence using the present simple and longer background events are described using the present continuous. Now remember I said she goes up to this man and look straight into his eyes. That is the sequence of events and I use the present simple, but when I talk about a longer background event, he’s not wearing his glasses. That is not just sequence, we’re talking about an event that is a little bit longer wearing his glasses I use the present continuous. This helps you decide whether to use the present simple or continuous, because the story is not happening now. And it is a little bit different from the regular uses we have for the present continuous and the Present Simple. Now narratives and anecdotes the present
Simple can be used to highlight an event. Often it is used after past tenses, and with a phrase such as suddenly, or all of a sudden. So I know you’ve heard it all the time, don’t mix the past and the present to keep up the sequence of tenses in your writing, especially in your writing. But when you tell a story, and in narratives and anecdotes, this is possible, actually, it adds excitement to the narrative. So for example, we say I was sitting in the park, reading a newspaper, when all of a sudden this dog jumps at me. So I use the past to talk about what happened in the park. I was sitting in the park, reading a newspaper, when all of a sudden, this dog jumps at me. Now I could have simply say, jumped at me, and that is also possible and perfectly fine. This dog jumped at me, but it doesn’t give this sense of directness and it doesn’t add excitement to the narrative, but
When I use the present simple, I made it closer to the reader and more direct. So that is a way we can use the present continuous and the present simple in narratives and when we tell stories, we can also use the present simple and present continuous in live commentaries. Actually, they usually use present simple and continuous. Now on sports events, the report takes place at the same time as the action. So you don’t usually hear commentators say, King served to the left, hardcourt, and Adams made a wonderful return. She was playing magnificent tennis in this match. Well, it’s distant and it seems like you’re talking about a game from the past. You’re not talking about the game that’s happening right now. So in commentaries, we use present simple and present continuous to talk about the action that’s happening right now and you’re just reporting it. So instead, we say, King serves to the left hardcourt and Adam makes a wonderful return. She’s playing
Magnificent tennis in this match, it is already livelier and better you already feel you’re in the middle of the action, but use the past simple and you distance your audience or listeners or even the people who are watching it on TV. And they feel that they are not in the action the present simple and present continuous gives this feeling that you are in the action. And that is close to what we just talked about, that we use present simple and present continuous in stories anecdotes, to make the reader feel that they are in the action. So that was about commentary and live events. We can use the present simple in phrases such as it says here, I hear I gather I see I understand. And when you say something like they say or someone says or someone tells me to introduce news that we have heard read seen on television
or been told etc. Now of course, we can use the past tenses like it said here or I heard, but the present simple is also possible. Now you say for example, I gather you’re worried about Pedro or Sofia tells me you’re thinking of emigrating, or professor Hendricks is at the conference. And I hear she’s an excellent speaker. So you see here, I gather, Sofia tells me and I hear she’s an excellent speaker about Professor Hendrix, etc. Remember, you can use the past simple if you want, but the present is also possible. And to be honest, Personally, I prefer to use the present in these situations. Now for another special use for the present simple the present simple is often used in news headlines to talk about events that have recently happened. For example, in a headline, you see things like second quake hits Japan, you don’t usually see second quake hit Japan in the past. It makes it look like steel.
News, old news. So the present simple usually attracts readers to read about something that is fresh. That has just happened. The meaning is past because obviously the quake hit Japan. It’s not happening. It’s not so happening. But we use the present simple, usually with headlines to make them more immediate and urgent. We can say for example, fire breaks out in hotel room, scientists find ice on the moon, Foreign Minister resigns. So that was about headlines. We can also use the present simple to refer to the contents of books, films, newspapers, etc. Like when we say, Thomson gives a list of the largest European companies in chapter six, or at the beginning of the book, three men find $4 million in a crashed plane or in the film, this actor or actress takes the role of a private detective. So you see, we can use the present simple to refer to the contents of books, films and newspapers.
Now finally, for our last thought about the present simple and present continuous before we wrap up this small series, where we talked about the present simple and present continuous in three episodes, including this one, of course, we can use the present continuous with adverbs such as always, constantly, continually or forever. To emphasize that something is done so often that it is characteristic of a person, group or thing. For example, a person can say, I think I’ll stay here after all, and the other person say, you’re constantly changing your mind.
Another example, Jacob is a really kind person, he’s always offering to help me with my work. Now you can see there’s a slight difference between the two examples. The first example I sounded a little bit upset. The second one, it’s the opposite. He’s always offering to help me with my work, and that’s a good thing. I’m talking about him as a kind person, but we
often use this pattern to indicate disapproval. So we usually use this pattern. He’s constantly doing this. She’s always doing that. He’s continually doing that to refer to something that we disapprove of. So this pattern usually indicates disapproval. Remember, that usually use it in negative situations, but it is possible to be used in positive situations. But you don’t want to confuse people. Because when you say that to people, they’ll think that what are you kind of upset about that? You don’t like it? Because usually, when people say that, they don’t like the thing. So if you just go and say, You’re always offering to help me, thank you. The person might be confused, because what does that mean? Does that bother you? are you complaining about it? You don’t want me to help you anymore. So it’s better not to use it. I have to say that we can but don’t use it unless you want to
To show your disapproval. And finally, we can use the present continuous to describe something we regularly do at a certain time. Now, of course, we say that we can use the present simple. And we always say for regular activities at certain times use the present simple because they happen everyday at this time, but you can describe something that you regularly do at a certain time. It’s like saying, at this time, I’m usually doing this, or I’m usually doing that you want to focus more on the action that you’re doing. And the action that you’re doing at this time, maybe everyday, yes, but you’re focusing on the action. And that doesn’t exactly mean temporary. So that is an exception. Obviously. For example, we say at eight o’clock, I’m usually driving to work so call me on my cell phone, or we can say seven o’clock is a bit early. We’re generally eating then. So that was all about the present simple and present continuous. The next thing we want to talk about is
The past simple and past continuous, so stay tuned. Remember that you can find the transcript of this episode in the link I leave in the description. And don’t forget to support us on Patreon if you can, or at least let your friends know that they can support us on Patreon if they’re interested. That will be a big help and that will help our journey continue especially with the free e-learning thing that we believe in. This is your host Danny, thank you very much for listening, and I will see you next time.