Present continuous tense

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1 Present continuous tense For actions happening now. When we want to talk about an action that is happening now or at this time (and is unfinished), we use the present continuous tense. We also use this tense when we want to make clear that the action is temporary. Sorry, she can't come to the phone right now; she is having a bath. The present continuous tense is formed from the present tense of the verb be and the present participle (-ing form) of a verb: Use 1. We use the present continuous tense to talk about the present: for something that is happening at the moment of speaking: I m just leaving work. I ll be home in an hour. Please be quiet. The children are sleeping. for something which is happening before and after a given time: At eight o clock we are usually having breakfast. When I get home the children are doing their homework. for something which we think is temporary: Michael is at university. He s studying history. I m working in London for the next two weeks.

2 for something which is new and contrasts with a previous state: These days most people are using instead of writing letters. What sort of clothes are teenagers wearing nowadays? What sort of music are they listening to? to show that something is changing, growing or developing: The children are growing quickly. The climate is changing rapidly. Your English is improving. for something which happens again and again: It s always raining in London. They are always arguing. George is great. He s always laughing. Note: We normally use always with this use. 2. We use the present continuous tense to talk about the future: for something which has been arranged or planned: Mary is going to a new school next term. What are you doing next week? 3. We can use the present continuous to talk about the past: When we are telling a story: When we are summarising the story from a book, film or play etc.:

3 Negative sentences with NOT and BE When we want to say that something is not true or is not the case, we can use negative words, phrases or clauses. Negation can happen in a number of ways, most commonly, when we use a negative word such as no, not, never, none, nobody, etc: A: Is there a bus at ten o clock? B: No. The last one goes at nine forty-five. (No = There isn t a bus at ten o clock.) Kieran doesn t play the piano. (It is not true that Kieran plays the piano.) The most common negative words are no and not. Other negative words include: neither, never, no one, nobody, none, nor, nothing, nowhere: She s never been abroad. There were no newspapers left in the shop by one o clock. Nobody came to the house for several days. None of my cousins live near us. Most children don t walk to school any more.

4 See also: Neither, neither nor and not either So am I, so do I, Neither do I Never or not ever? No one, nobody, nothing, nowhere No, none and none of Not any and no We can also make negative meanings using prefixes (e.g. de-, dis-, un-) and suffixes (-less): He was very disrespectful to the teacher. This new printer is useless; it s always breaking down. We can also use the following words to make negative or negative-like statements: few, hardly, little, rarely, scarcely, seldom. There are rarely ducks in this pond. We seldom hear any noise at night. See also: Little, a little, few, a few Hardly

5 Hardly ever, rarely, scarcely, seldom Scarcely Negation is more common in spoken than in written language because negative forms can be used in face-to-face interactions to make what we say less direct: I m not sure if this is the right desk. I m looking for information on the train times to Liverpool. (less direct than Is this the right desk?) See also: Hedges (just) Politeness Forming negative statements, questions and imperatives Negative statements We form negative statements with not or n t after be, modal and auxiliary verbs. n t is the contracted form of not. In informal language we can add n t, without a space, to be, to modal verbs (except may) and to auxiliary verbs (do and have). The negative contracted form of will is won t. The uncontracted form of can + not is cannot. Jan isn t coming. She s not feeling very well. She might not be joking. It could be true. They don t go to school on Wednesday afternoons. Living in a small flat does not make it easy to have pets.

6 I hadn t decided whether to take the train or go in the car. They can t be hungry again. They ve only just eaten. Negative questions We use not or n t to form negative questions. When there is no modal verb or be, we use auxiliary verb do + n t (don t, do not, doesn t, does not, didn t): Why didn t you ask Linda? What don t you understand? Won t we able to see the film? Isn t that Mike s brother? Negative imperatives We use do + not or don t + the base form of a verb to form negative orders or commands: Do not open until instructed. Don t take the car. Go on your bike.

7 See also: Declarative clauses Not and n t in questions (Did you not? Wasn t she?) Don t, Do not: orders and instructions Let s, let: suggestions, offers, imperatives Negation: two negatives Standard English does not have two negatives in the same clause (double negatives). Words such as never, nobody, no one, none, nothing, nowhere, etc. already have a negative meaning, so we don t need another negative with the verb: There was no one in the office so I left a message. Not: There wasn t no one Nobody likes to think they are worthless. Not: Nobody doesn t like to think If we use not with the verb, we use words such as ever, anybody, anyone, anything, anywhere, instead of never, nobody, no one, nothing, nowhere: I haven t seen Ken anywhere today. In fact I don t think anyone s seen him for the last couple of days. Not: I haven t seen Ken nowhere or I don t think no one s seen him

8 You may hear some speakers using two negatives in the same clause, but many people consider this to be incorrect. Not I don t think There are some cases where we can use reporting verbs such as imagine, suppose and think in end position, after the reported clause. In such cases, both clauses may have a negative verb: He s not a teacher, I don t think. (or I don t think he s a teacher.) Not: I don t think he s not a teacher. I won t be very late tonight, I shouldn t imagine. (or I shouldn t imagine I ll be very late tonight.) Not: I shouldn t imagine I won t be late. Sometimes we use not in front position where a following reduced clause (a clause with something omitted but which is understood) also has a negative form: A: Have you seen Leila? B: Not today, I haven t. (I haven t seen Leila/her.) A: Is Tony working at the university?

9 B: Not now, he isn t. He used to. Negative clauses with any, anybody, anyone, anything, anywhere We don t use not with some, someone, somebody, something, somewhere in statements. We use any, anyone, anybody, anything, anywhere: There aren t any seats left. You ll have to stand. Not: There aren t some seats left. Tell them I don t want to see anyone. Not: Tell them I don t want to see someone. After verbs with a negative meaning like decline or refuse, we use anything rather than something: They refused to tell us anything about it. (preferred to They refused to tell us something about it.)

10 Using Be going to to talk about future action 1. When we know about the future we normally use the present tense. We use the present simple for something scheduled or arranged: We have a lesson next Monday. The train arrives at 6.30 in the morning. The holidays start next week. It is my birthday tomorrow. We can use the present continuous for plans or arrangements: I m playing football tomorrow. They are coming to see us tomorrow. We re having a party at Christmas. 2. We use will to talk about the future: When we make predictions: It will be a nice day tomorrow. I think Brazil will win the World Cup. I m sure you will enjoy the film. To mean want to or be willing to: I hope you will come to my party. George says he will help us.

11 To make offers and promises: I'll see you tomorrow. We'll send you an . To talk about offers and promises: Tim will be at the meeting. Mary will help with the cooking. 3. We use (be) going to: To talk about plans and intentions: I m going to drive to work today. They are going to move to Manchester. When we can see that something is likely to happen: Be careful! You are going to fall. Look at those black clouds. I think it s going to rain. 4. We often use verbs like would like, plan, want, mean, hope, expect to talk about the future: What are you going to do next year? I d like to go to University. We plan to go to France for our holidays. George wants to buy a new car.

12 5. We use modals may, might, and could when we are not sure about the future: I might stay at home tonight, or I might go to the cinema. We could see Mary at the meeting. She sometimes goes. 6. We can use should if we think something is likely to happen: We should be home in time for tea. The game should be over by eight o clock. 7. Clauses with time words: In clauses with time words like when, after, and until we often use a present tense form to talk about the future: I ll come home when I finish work. You must wait here until your father comes. They are coming after they have had dinner. 8. Clauses with if: In clauses with if we often use a present tense form to talk about the future: We won t be able to go out if it rains. If Barcelona win tomorrow they will be champions.

13 WARNING: We do not normally use will in clauses with if or with time words: I ll come home when I will finish work. We won t be able to go out if it will rain rains. But we can use will if it means a promise or offer: I will be very happy if you will come to my party. We should finish the job early if George will help us. 9. We can use the future continuous instead of the present continuous or going to for emphasis when we are talking about plans, arrangements and intentions: They ll be coming to see us next week. I will be driving to work tomorrow.

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