Present Tenses


 

The Present Simple Tense

 

     a)  The Simple Form is used with static verbs, i.e. verbs denoting feelings, mental states (opinion), relations, possession: agree, prefer, believe, cost, concern, possess, belong etc.

 

     b)  to express habits:

          Ex: Our children eat a lot of sweets.

 

     c)  for repeated actions (often with frequency adverbs like ‘never’, ‘regularly’, ‘often’ etc.)

          Ex: My father never watches television.

 

     d)  with certain non-descriptive exclamations:

          Ex: Here comes my bus! There goes my train!

 

     e)  often with travel arrangements, timetable, factual data, schedules etc.

          Ex: The train leaves at six-twenty. – The meeting starts at 9 o’clock.

 

     f)   for sports commentaries on the radio or on  TV (for the sake of simplification!)

            Ex: Ronaldo stops the ball and passes to the goalkeeper

 

The Present Continuous Tense

 

     a)  The Continuous Form can only be used with dynamic verbs, i.e. verbs denoting an action or an event: walk, speak, 

          sit, dream – rain, happen, shine, sweat

 

     b)  to describe an action or an event happening at the moment of speaking:

          Ex: Listen, Jim is playing the guitar upstairs.

 

     c)  for a temporary activity in progress but not actually carried out at the moment of speaking:

          Ex: Have a whisky. – No, thank you. I’m driving. (= I have my car with me)

 

     d)  for a planned action in the future (with a future time adverb):

          Ex: We are leaving for England next week.

 

     e)  with ‘always’, ‘forever’ to express annoyance:

          Ex: I’m always having trouble with my bloody car!

 

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Verbs whose meaning can be Static or Dynamic

 

SIMPLE (static)

CONTINUOUS (dynamic)

a)  Verbs of the senses

     Your feet smell. (= “stinken”)

     I see no problem. (= not be aware of)

But:

Why are you smelling the fish? (“an etw. riechen”)

I’m seeing him next week. (= meet)

b)  Verbs of emotion:

     I like chocolate. (= love; be fond of)

But:

How are you liking it here? (= enjoy)

c)  Verbs of mental activity:

     I think he is crazy. (= “glauben”)

But:

Shut up! I’m thinking. (“überlegen”)

d)  TO BE: characteristic quality

     He is funny. (= he has a GSOH)

But:

He is being funny. (= he is joking)

e)  TO HAVE: possession

     We have a shower at home. (= possess)

But:

I’m having a shower when I get home. (= take)