Present continuous (I am doing)
Study this example situation:
I’m working.please be quiet.This mean: I’m working now, at the time of speaking.The action is not finished.
Am/is/are + –ing is the present continuous: I am doing something = I’m in the middle of doing it, I’ve started doing it and I haven’t finished:
The weather is nice at the moment .It’s not raining. (not It doesn’t rain)
‘Where’s Sue?’ ‘She’s having a shower. (not She has a shower)
Where are the children? They’re swimming …….
You can turn off the television . I’m not watching it
Are you enjoying the party? (not Do you enjoy) .
What’s going on? (=What’s happening?)
Sometimes the action is not happening at the time of speaking. For example:
Tim is talking to a friend on the phone. He says:I’m learning english at the moment.Tim is not learning english at the time of speaking.He means that he has started it, and he continues .
Some more examples :
Sara wants to work in Italy, so she’s learning Italian.
John and Linda are building their own house. They hope to finish it next summer.
We can use the present continuous with today/this week/this year (periods around now)
You’re working hard today. (not You work hard today)
The company I work for isn’t doing so well this year.
We use the present continuous when we talk about changes happening around now, especially with these verbs:
get change become increase rise fall grow improve begin start
-Is your French getting better? (not Does your French get better)
-The population of the Asia is increasing very fast. (not increases)
-At first I didn’t like my job, but I’m beginning to enjoy it now. (not I begin)
1) Are you feeling OK ? Yes , I’m fine,thank you.
2) Please don’t make so much noise. I’m trying to work.
3) Is it raining? Yes, take an umbrella
4) I need to eat something soon. I’m getting hungry
5)What’s Paul doing? He’s reading the newspaper.
6) I don’t have anywhere to live. I’m looking for an apartment.
7) What are the children doing ? They’re watching television .
8) Look, there’s Susanne ! Where’s she going?
9) We need to leave soon. It’s getting late.
10) They don’t need their boat any more. They’re trying to sell it
11) Are your friends staying at a hotel? Yes they are
12) It’s starting to rain. They are going to get wet
13) Is Kate working today? Yes she is
14) It is not true what they said They are lying
Exercice on text:
In the dark the old man could feel the morning coming and as he rowed he heard the trembling sound as flying fish left the water and the hissing that their stiff set wings made as they soared away in the darkness. He was very fond of flying fish as they were his principal friends on the ocean. He was sorry for the birds, especially the small delicate dark terns that were always flying and looking and almost never finding, and he thought, the birds have a harder life than we do except for the robber birds and the heavy strong ones. Why did they make birds so delicate and fine as those sea swallows when the ocean can be so cruel? She is kind and very beautiful. But she can be so cruel and it comes so suddenly and such birds that fly, dipping and hunting, with their small sad voices are made too delicately for the sea. He always thought of the sea as la mar which is what people call her in Spanish when they love her. Sometimes those who love her say bad things of her but they are always said as though she were a woman. Some of the younger fishermen, those who used buoys as floats for their lines and had motorboats, bought  when the shark livers had brought much money, spoke of her as el mar which is masculine. They spoke of her as a contestant or a place or even an enemy. But the old man always thought of her as feminine and as something that gave or withheld great favours, and if she did wild or wicked things it was because she could not help them. The moon affects her as it does a woman, he thought. He was rowing steadily and it was no effort for him since he kept well within his speed and the surface of the ocean was flat except for the occasional swirls of the current. He was letting the current do a third of the work and as it started to be light he saw he was already further out than he had hoped to be at this hour. I worked the deep wells for a week and did nothing, he thought. Today I’ll work out where the schools of bonito and albacore are and maybe there will be a big one with them. Before it was really light he had his baits out and was drifting with the current. One bait was down forty fathoms. The second was at seventy-five and the third and fourth were down in the blue
Present simple (I do,work….)
- Study these situations:
-I drive to work every day .
-I like big cities
-The games usually start at 8:00 pm.
-What do you usually have for breakfast?
– Paul is a bus driver, but now he is at home.
Drive(s)/like(s)/start(s)/have(has)/ is , etc. are : present simple
We use the present simple to talk about things in general. We use it to say that something happens all the time,sometimes or repeatedly, or that something is true in general:
-Nurses look after patients in hospital.
-The shops open at 9 o’clock and close at 6:30
-I usually go away at weekends.
– Akbar works very hard . He starts at 8:00 and finishes
at 9:00 o’clock in the evening.
-The earth goes round the sun.
-The café opens at 7:30 in the morning.
-I/we/you/they : read, like, open, live, watch, do, have…
–But He/she/it : reads, likes, opens, lives, wathes, does has …
With : always, never, often, sometimes, usually :
-she usually goes to work by car . (not: she goes usually)
-Mark always arrives at work too late .
-Susanne never wathes footbal.
-john lives near susanne .She often see him.
–Smetimes Tom is late but it doesn’t happen very often.
We use do/does to make question and negative sentences:
–Do you work in the evening ?
–Do you play tennis ?
–Do your parents speak English?
–Does your sister live in London?
– Where do you come from?
–How often do you wash your hair?
– What does this word mean?
– What do you do ?
-I don’t drink coffee.
-Rice doesn’t grow in cold climates.
– I don’t like washing the car.
-Mark doesn’t like Susanne.
– Susanne doesn’t do her job very well.
-Kate doesn’t usually have breakfast.
Exercice on text:
What do you have to eat? the boy asked.
A pot of yellow rice with fish. Do you want some?
No. I will eat at home. Do you want me to make the fire?
No. I will make it later on. Or I may eat the rice cold.
May I take the cast net?
There was no cast net and the boy remembered when they had sold it. But they went through this fiction every day. There was no pot of yellow rice and fish and the boy knew this too.
Eighty-five is a lucky number, the old man said. How would you like to see me bring one in that dressed out over a thousand pounds?
I’ll get the cast net and go for sardines. Will you sit in the sun in the doorway?
Yes. I have yesterday’s paper and I will read the baseball.
The boy did not know whether yesterday’s paper was a fiction too. But the old man brought it out from under the bed.
Perico gave it to me at the bodega, he explained. I’ll be back when I have the sardines. I’ll keep yours and mine together on ice and we can share them in the morning. When I come back you can tell me about the baseball.
The Yankees can not lose.
But I fear the Indians of Cleveland.
Have faith in the Yankees my son. Think of the great DiMaggio.
I fear both the Tigers of Detroit and the Indians of Cleveland.
Be careful or you will fear even the Reds of Cincinnati and the White Sax of Chicago.
You study it and tell me when I come back.
Do you think we should buy a terminal of the lottery with an eighty-five? Tomorrow is the eighty-fifth day.
We can do that, the boy said. »But what about the eighty-seven of your great record?
It could not happen twice. Do you think you can find an eighty-five?
Past simple ( I did )
Study this example:
French chemist and microbiologist Louis Pasteur was born on December 27, 1822, in Dole, located in the Jura region of France. He grew up in the town of Arbois and his father, Jean-Joseph Pasteur, was a tanner and a sergeant major decorated with the Legion of Honour during the Napoleonic Wars. An average student, Pasteur was skilled at drawing and painting. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree (1840), Bachelor of Science degree (1842) and a doctorate (1847) at the École Normale in Paris.In 1848, he became a professor of chemistry at the University of Strasbourg, where he met Marie Laurent, the daughter of the university’s rector. They wed on May 29, 1849, and had five children, though only two survived childhood.
grew up/was/earned/became/met/wed/had/survived are all past simple
Very often the past simple ends in –ed (regular verbs):
Mark worked in a bank from 2008 to 2012.
What happened? The phone rang.
Yesterday it rained all morning.It stopped at 5:00 pm.
What did you do yesterday morning?
We enjoyed the party last night.We talked to a lot of people.
The party finished at 3:00 am.
I work in a private clinic now. Before that I worked in a hospital.
We invited them to our party, but they decided not to come.
It didn’t rain while we were on holiday.
The police stopped me on my way home last night.
Susanne passed her exam because she studied very hard.
But many verbs are irregular. The past simple does not end in –ed.
Here are some important irregular werbs :
begin(began), bring(brought), break(broke), build(built), buy(bought), catch(caught), come(came), do(did), drink(drank), eat(ate), fall(fell), find(found), fly(flew), forget(forgot), get(got) give(gave), go(went), have(had)
hear(heard), know(knew), leave(left), lose(lost), make(made), meet(met), pay(paid), put(put), read(red), ring(rang), say(said), see(saw), sell(sold), sit(sat), sleep(slept), speak(spoke), stand(stood), take(took), tell(told), think(thought), win(won), wright(wrote)
We saw Mark in town a few weeks ago.
I usually get up early but this morning I got up at 11:30
Sue went to the cinema three times last week.
It was cold, so I shut the window.
Last monday Susanne flew from Paris to Tokyo.
Yesterday I went to work by car.
Lisa came into the room, took of his coat and sat down.
For a list of irregular verbs, see Appendix………
C: In questions and negatives we use did/didn’t + infinitive (enjoy/see/go etc.):
A: Did you go out last night?
B: Yes, I went to the cinema, but I didn’t enjoy the film much.
When did Mr Carter die? ‘About ten years ago’.
They didn’t invite us to the party, so we didn’t go.
Did you watch the film on television last night?
Did you have time to do the shopping? No I didn’t.
What did you do at the weekend? I didn’t do anything.
I was angry because they were late.
Was the weather good when you were on holiday?
They weren’t able to come because they were so busy.
Did you go out last night or were you too tired?
Exercice on text:
The boy went out. They had eaten with no light on the table and the old man took off his trousers and went to bed in the dark. He rolled his trousers up to make a pillow, putting the newspaper inside them. He rolled himself in the blanket and slept on the other old newspapers that covered the springs of the bed. He was asleep in a short time and he dreamed of Africa when he was a boy and the long golden beaches and the white beaches, so white they hurt your eyes, and the high capes and the great brownmountains. He lived along that coast now every night and in his dreams he heard the surf roar and saw the native boats  come riding through it. He smelled the tar and oakum of the deck as he slept and he smelled the smell of Africa that the land breeze brought at morning.
Usually when he smelled the land breeze he woke up and dressed to go and wake the boy. But tonight the smell of the land breeze came very early and he knew it was too early in his dream and went on dreaming to see the white peaks of the Islands rising from the sea and then he dreamed ofthe different harbours and roadsteads of the Canary Islands.
He no longer dreamed of storms, nor of women, nor of great occurrences, nor of great fish, nor fights, nor contests of strength, nor of his wife. He only dreamed of places now and of the lions on the beach. They played like young cats in the dusk and he loved them as he loved the boy. He never dreamed about the boy. He simply woke, looked out the open door at the moon and unrolled
his trousers and put them on. He urinated outside the shack and then went up the road to wake the boy. He was shivering with the morning cold. But he knew he would shiver himself warm and that soon he would be rowing.
The door of the house where the boy lived was unlocked and he opened it and walked in quietly
We use the Past Continuous to indicate that a longer action in the past was interrupted. The interruption is usually a shorter action in the Simple Past. Remember this can be a real interruption or just an interruption in time. Formes [was/were + present participate
I was watching TV when she called.
Sue was waiting for us when we got off the plane.
While I was writing the email, the computer suddenly went off.
Yesterday at this time, I was sitting at my desk at work.
At midnight, we were still driving through the desert.
I was studying while he was making dinner.
She was writing a letter when the phone rang.
I was listening to my iPod, so I didn’t hear the fire alarm.
While Mark was sleeping last night, someone stole his car.
When we use the Past Continuous with two actions in the same sentence, it expresses the idea that both actions were happening at the same time. The actions are parallel.
I was studying while he was making dinner.
While Susanne was reading, Mark was watching television.
I was listening while he was talking.
I wasn’t paying attention while I was writing the post, so I made several mistakes.
We were eating dinner, discussing our plans, and having a good time.
In English, we often use a series of parallel actions to describe the atmosphere at a particular time in the past.
When I walked into the office, several people were busily typing, some were talking on the phones, the boss was yelling directions, and customers were waiting to be helped. One customer was yelling at a secretary and waving his hands. Others were complaining to each other about the bad service.
The Past Continuous with words such as « always » or « constantly » expresses the idea that something irritating or shocking often happened in the past. The concept is very similar to the expression « used to » but with negative emotion. Remember to put the words « always » or « constantly » between « be » and « verb+ing. »
She was always coming to class late.
He was constantly talking. He annoyed everyone.
I didn’t like them because they were always complaining.
While vs. When
Clauses are groups of words which have meaning, but are often not complete sentences. Some clauses begin with the word « when » such as « when she called » or « when it bit me. » Other clauses begin with « while » such as « while she was sleeping » and « while he was surfing. » When you talk about things in the past, « when » is most often followed by the verb tense Simple Past, whereas « while » is usually followed by Past Continuous. « While » expresses the idea of « during that time. » Study the examples below. They have similar meanings, but they emphasize different parts of the sentence.
I was studying when she called → While I was studying, she called.
Remember non-continuous verbs / mixed verbs it is important to remember that non-continuous verbs cannot be used in any continuous tenses. Also, certain non-continuous meanings for mixed verbs cannot be used in continuous tenses. Instead of using past continuous with these verbs, you must use Simple Past.
Susane was being at station when you arrived(not Correct).
Susane was at station when you arrived(Correct).
Adverb placement :
The examples below show the placement for adverbs such as: always, only, never, ever, still, just, etc :
You were just studying when she called.
Were you just studying when she called?
Active/ Passive :
the salesman was helping the customer when the thief came into the store(active)
The customer was being helped by the salesman when the thief came into the store(passive)
Exercice on texte :
Now the old man looked up and saw that the bird was circling again. “He’s found fish,” he said aloud. No flying fish broke the surface and there was no scattering of bait fish. But as the old man watched, a small tuna rose in the air, turned and dropped head first into the water. The tuna shone silver in the sun and after he had dropped back into the water another and another rose and they were jumping in all directions, churning the water and leaping in long jumps after the bait. They were circling it and driving it. If they don’t travel too fast I will get into them, the old man thought, and he watched the school working the water white and the bird now dropping and dipping into the bait fish that were forced to the surface in their panic. “The bird is a great help,” the old man said. Just then the stern line came taut under his foot, where he had kept a loop of the line, and he dropped his oars and felt tile weight of the small tuna’s shivering pull as he held the line firm and commenced to haul it in. The shivering increased as he pulled in and he could see the blue back of the fish in the water and the gold of his sides before he swung him over the side and into the boat. He lay in the stern in the sun, compact and bullet shaped, his big, unintelligent eyes staring as he thumped his life out against the planking of the boat with the quick shivering strokes of his neat, fast-moving  tail. The old man hit him on the head for kindness and kicked him, his body still shuddering, under the shade of the stern. “Albacore,” he said aloud. “He’ll make a beautiful bait. He’ll weigh ten pounds.” He did not remember when he had first started to talk aloud when he was by himself. He had sung when he was by himself in the old days and he had sung at night sometimes when he was alone steering on his watch in the smacks or in the turtle boats. He had probably started to talk aloud, when alone, when the boy had left. But he did not remember. When he and the boy fished together they usually spoke only when it was necessary. They talked at night or when they were storm-bound by bad weather. It was considered a virtue not to talk unnecessarily at sea and the old man had always considered it so and respected it. But now he said his thoughts aloud many times since there was no one that they could annoy. “If the others heard me talking out loud they would think that I am crazy,” he said aloud. “But since I am not crazy, I do not care. And the rich have radios to talk to them in their boats and to bring them the baseball.”  Now is no time to think of baseball, he thought. Now is the time to think of only one thing. That which I was born for. There might be a big one around that school, he thought. I picked up only a straggler from the albacore that were feeding. But they are working far out and fast. Everything that shows on the surface today travels very fast and to the north-east. Can that be the time of day? Or is it some sign of weather that I do not know?