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] In today’s grammar episode, we will be talking about present continuous and present simple. So let’s start with the present. Continuous, let’s take a look at this example. If we say that Sarah is in her car and she is on her way to work, so we can say she’s driving to work or she is driving. What does that mean?
[00:01:31] It means that she is driving now at the time of speaking and the action is not finished yet. She is in the middle of this action. She started it. She’s still doing it, but it’s still not over. And that is basically the main meaning of the present. Continuous. And to make the present continuous, we use the present form of verb.
[00:01:57] The B M is or R where the ING form of the main verb. For example, we say, I am driving or I’m for short or the contraction form. We can say he, she or it is working or he’s working, she’s working, it’s working. And we say, we, you or they are. Doing something, or of course, for contraction, we say we are doing, or you’re doing, or they’re doing.
[00:02:29] So when I say I am doing something, it means I started doing it and I haven’t finished. I’m in the middle of doing it. For example, we say, please don’t make so much noise. I’m trying to work. I try to work. It’s not. A general thing I do. I’m talking about right now at the moment I’m trying to work right now and I still haven’t finished.
[00:02:56] I’m still trying to work. We say, for example, where’s Mark, he’s having a shower, not he has a shower because we’re not talking about in general, what Mark does at this time of the day. We’re talking about what he is doing right now. We can say, for example, let’s go out now. It isn’t raining anymore. Not it doesn’t rain.
[00:03:21] We’re not talking about this time of year in general. It doesn’t drain at this time of year. That would be the present simple, which we will talk about a little bit later. It isn’t raining anymore. That means we’re talking about at the moment of speaking right now. But sometimes the action is not happening at the time of speaking.
[00:03:45] Not exactly at the time of speaking, for example, Steve is talking to a friend on the phone and he says, I’m reading a really good book at the moment. It’s about a man who does, etc. So Steve said, I’m reading of really good book, but what is he really doing at the moment of speaking? He is talking to a friend on the phone.
[00:04:08] He’s not reading the book right now or at the moment of speaking, but still the meaning of the present continuous is there. So he can say I’m reading because he means that he has started reading the book, but has not finished yet. He’s in the middle of reading it. So the present continuous could be used to talk about actions we are doing at the moment of speaking or.
[00:04:36] Around the moment of speaking, you should always focus on the main meaning, which is something that you started, but you haven’t finished yet. And you’re still doing, you’re still in the middle of doing. Maybe it takes a long time. Like in this example, I’m reading a really good book at the moment. So here it’s not an action I’m doing at the moment.
[00:04:59] I’m doing something else right now, but I’m still reading the book. I haven’t finished reading the book. Some more examples in the sense, like when we say Kate wants to work in Italy, so she’s learning Italian. Maybe she’s learning Italian at the moment of speaking. Maybe she’s not, but what we’re interested in that she’s doing it right now.
[00:05:22] She has started learning Italian and she hasn’t finished yet. So the action takes a long time. Maybe she’s doing it at the moment of speaking. Maybe not. But it’s still a continuous present action. So it is present continuous. We can also say some friends of mine are building their own house. Maybe they’re sleeping right now.
[00:05:44] Maybe they’re eating right now, but they are building their own house. It takes time. They have started building the house. They haven’t finished yet. They’re still in the middle of this action. You can use the present continuous with today this week, this year, and these expressions, that mean periods around them.
[00:06:06] I can we say you’re working hard today? Not you work hard today, or when we say the company I work for, isn’t doing so well this year. So here again, these examples. I’m not exactly talking about actions that are happening at the moment of speaking, but it could be happening around the moment of speaking around now.
[00:06:32] And we can also use the present continuous. When we talk about a change that has started to happen, and we often use these verbs in this way. Getting becoming starting beginning, changing, improving, increasing, rising, falling, growing. For example, we say, is your English getting better? Now we’re talking about these changes that have started to happen.
[00:07:01] And. Your English is getting better. You don’t say, does your English get better? It’s not a general thing we’re talking about. It’s not a fact we’re talking about, we’re talking about actions that or changes that have started to happen. Another example we say the population of the world is increasing very fast.
[00:07:25] We don’t say the population of the world increases. We say, for example, at first I didn’t like my job, but I’m starting to enjoy it now. So I’m starting to enjoy it. This is a change that is happening around now. So it’s not something that’s happening at the moment. It’s not like when I say I’m speaking to you right now, or I’m recording the podcast right now.
[00:07:53] That is of course the main use of the present continuous, but always remember that we can use the present continuous to talk about things that are happening now exactly right now or around now. So that was in general about the present. Continuous. What about the present? Simple. Now let’s take a look at this example.
[00:08:19] Alex is a bus driver, but now he is imbed asleep. He is not driving a bus right now, he’s asleep, but he drives a bus. He is a bus driver. That is what he does every day of his life. It is a permanent thing that he does on a regular basis. And to form the present simple, remember that we use this S. He she, or it.
[00:08:48] So for example, we say, I, we, you, or they drive work, do et cetera, but we say he, she, it drives or ups does, etc. So we add this S now we use the present, simple to talk about things in general. We use it to say that something happens all the time or repeatedly, or that something is true in general. Let’s take a look at these examples and see how this applies to these examples.
[00:09:23] Nurses. Look after patients in hospital. Now we’re talking about what nurses do in general nurses. Look after patients in hospitals, I usually go away at weekends. I usually do that. It’s not just this weekend. It’s not last weekend. I’m talking about. I’m talking about what I usually do at weekends. I usually go away at weekends.
[00:09:51] The earth goes round the sun. Now that is not something that happens only once a year or whenever it happens. It happens every day, all the time. It’s a general thing. It’s actually a fact. Or when we say the cafe opens at seven 30 in the morning, So a cafe opens at seven 30. That’s the usual time the cafe opens.
[00:10:19] It’s not just today. It’s not temporary. It is permanent. And that is something you have to put in mind when you think about continuous and simple in our case, present continuous and present simple. The simple talks about the general, the continuous talks about the specific. The simple talks about more permanent actions and the continuous talks about more temporary actions.
[00:10:48] And remember, again, don’t forget the S well, this is one of the most common mistakes that people make when they speak English and they drop the SS when they use, or she, or it. Remember I work, but he works. You go, but it goes. They teach a sister teaches I have, but has now we use, do or does to make questions and negative sentences.
[00:11:20] It’s not as easy as it is in the present, continuous where we have verb to be and verb to be. We just add not, we say I am doing something. I am not doing something. He is going somewhere. He is not going somewhere or he isn’t going somewhere well in the present. Simple. It is not that simple. We have to add, do or does to make questions and negative sentences.
[00:11:48] For example, we say, do Y work, do they work? Do you work? Does he drive? Does she drive? Does it work? So here do for I, we, you and they, and does, or he, she, and it, that is for making questions. And for negatives is the same thing we add do or does, of course with not say, for example, I don’t work or you don’t work, but I say he, she, or it doesn’t work.
[00:12:25] So for example, we say, I come from Canada, where do you come from? Of course we use the present simple because we are talking about something that is a general fact. Where are you? From another example, I don’t go away very often. I’m not talking about this weekend. I’m not talking to about a temporary thing or a specific in general.
[00:12:51] I don’t go away very often. We ask for the meaning of words and that’s a very common question. What does this word mean? Not what is this word? Meaning because it’s not like it is meaning something right now. And after a couple of seconds, it’s going to mean something else. That’s a fact, this word means this another example, rice doesn’t grow in cold climates, and that’s also a general fact.
[00:13:22] Now notice that sometimes we use the main verb as the verb do itself. So. Don’t be surprised to see, do use twice, for example, what do you do? So the first do we use just to make questions in present simple. And the second do actually is the main verb. So what do you do? I work in a shop. I work as a teacher, et cetera.
[00:13:50] Another example, he’s always so lazy. He doesn’t do anything to help. He doesn’t do so doesn’t we use it to create this negative sentence and the other do doesn’t do that is the main verb. Now we use the present simple to say how often we do things. For example, we say I get up at eight o’clock every morning.
[00:14:18] Or we say, how often do you go to the dentist? We’re talking about how often we do things. The first example it’s every morning. And the second example, actually, I’m asking how often, another example, Julie doesn’t drink tea very often. Again, I’m talking about how often she does or she doesn’t something.
[00:14:43] Robert usually goes away two or three times a year. We’re talking about the frequency of the action or how often this action happens. Robert usually goes away two or three times a year. Now, sometimes we do things by saying something. For example, when you promise to do something, you can say, I promise when you suggest something, you can say, I suggest.
[00:15:11] For example, we say, I promise I won’t be late. We don’t say I’m promising. Or we say, what do you suggest I do? And the person can say, I suggest that you do et cetera. So with these verbs, I apologize. I advise, I insist, I agree. I refuse, et cetera. We use the present. Simple, not the present tenuous. So I hope that made the present continuous and the present simple, a little bit easier for you to use in your conversations, but that’s not everything.
[00:15:47] We will talk more about the differences between the present continuous and the present simple next week in our grammar episode. So stay tuned. There is much more to talk about, and there are a lot of details to cover when it comes to the differences between the present continuous and the present simple. [00:16:07] So I will see you next time. And thank you very much for listening to our podcast today.