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The continuous tense
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The continuous tense

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  • 1.  Present Continuous ("I am choosing") Past Continuous ("I was choosing") Future Continuous ("I will be choosing") They are formed with the progressive (continuous) aspect. This aspect indicates that an action or state, past, present, or future, was, is or will be unfinished at the time referred to.
  • 2.  The Present Continuous is mainly used to express the idea that something is happening at the moment of speaking. The Present Continuous also describes activities generally in progress (not at the moment). Another use of the tense is to talk about temporary actions or future plans. It is formed by means of the present form of auxiliary verb “to be” and participle 1(-ing form) of the notional verb.
  • 3.  In the interrogative form the auxiliary verb is placed before the subject. E.g. Is she eating my cake now? In the negative form the negative particle not is placed after the auxiliary verb. E.g. We arent waiting for my uncle.
  • 4.  Present actions Temporary actions Longer actions in progress Future (personal) arrangements and plans Tendencies and trends Irritation
  • 5.  Most often, we use the Present Continuous tense to talk about actions happening at the moment of speaking. He is eating a dinner. Mary is talking with her friends. They are swimming in the pool.
  • 6.  There is a certain group of verbs that usually does not appear in the Continuous form. They are called Stative (State) Verbs, and if used in the Continuous form, they have a different meaning. Examples: I think you look pretty today. meaning: Opinion Im thinking of moving to San Francisco. meaning: Act of thinking
  • 7.  We can use present continuous with some state verbs(e.g. attract, like, look, love, sound) when we want to emphasise that a situation is temporary or for a period of time around the present. E.g. Jean is with us at the moment. The children are loving having her here.
  • 8.  This tense is also used for activities continuing only for a limited period of time. Im riding a bike to get to work because my car is broken. Temporary Action (His car will soon be repaired) They are not talking with each other after the last argument. Temporary Action (They will soon make up) Mary is working at McDonalds. Temporary Action (She is working there only during the summer holidays
  • 9.  We also use the Present Continuous when we are in the middle of doing something time- consuming (i.e. something that takes time to complete). An example of such an activity is writing a book, saving money or studying for an exam. They are working hard to earn money. I am training to become a professional footballer. Mike is studying hard to become a doctor. Elizabeth is currently writing a childrens book titled I am the World.
  • 10.  Sometimes we use the Present Continuous to show that something is planned and will be done in the near future. Im meeting Katie in the evening. Hes flying to Rome in September. Were not going anywhere tomorrow.
  • 11.  This tense is also used for expressing tendencies or trends. Our country is getting richer. The Internet is becoming less of a novelty. The Universe is expanding.
  • 12.  And the last use of this tense is to express irritation or anger over somebody or something in the present with adverbs such as: always, continually or constantly. Also we can use this tense with adverbs to emphasize that something is done so often that is characteristic of a person, group or thing. She is continually complaining about everything! Johny is always asking stupid questions! My boss is contantly critising me! E.g. You are constantly changing your mind
  • 13.  I + am = Im is + not = isnt are + not = arent he + is = hes she + is = shes it + is= its Contractions are mainly used in speech and informal writing. They should not be used in formal writing.
  • 14.  We usually use the Past Continuous to talk about activities that lasted for some time in the past. The actions can be interruped by something or can be happening at the same time. It is formed by means of the past form of the auxiliary verb to be and the Participle 1 of the notional verb.
  • 15.  In the interrogative form the auxiliary verb is placed before the subject. E.g. Were you painting your house yesterday at 5 p.m? In the negative form the negative particle not is placed after the auxiliary verb. E.g. He asked me why I wasnt having dinner at the hotel.
  • 16.  Duration in the past Interrupted actions in progress Actions in progress at the same time in the past Irritation Polite question
  • 17.  We use the Past Continuous to talk about actions or situations that lasted for some time in the past, and whose duration time is unknown or unimportant. I was watching TV yesterday in the evening. She was sleeping on the couch. The dog was barking.
  • 18.  The Past Continuous is often used when one action in progress is interruped by another action in the past. The Past simple is used in such sentences. We usually use when or while to link these two sentences. Sentence in Past Continuous + WHEN + Sentence in Past Simple WHEN/WHILE + Sentence in Past Continuous + Sentence in Past Simple I was talking with James when the telephone rang. While Angelica was playing tennis, the plane crashed.
  • 19.  We also use this tense to talk about two or more activities happening at the same. We usually use when or while to link the two sentences. Sentence in Past Continuous + WHEN/WHILE + Sentence in Past WHEN/WHILE + Sentence in Past Continuous + Sentence in Past Continuous I was watching TV and Barbara was reading a book. When Bob was painting windows, Mary was working in the kitchen.
  • 20.  If we want to ask a polite question, we can use the Past Continuous. I was wondering if you could open the window. I was thinking you might help me with this problem. Even though the sentences have a Past Continuous form, they refer to the present moment. Their meaning is similar to the "could you" sentences, but they are more polite.
  • 21.  We mainly use the Future Continuous to indicate that we will be in the middle of doing something in a specified time in the future. It is formed by the means of future form of the auxiliary verb to be and Participle 1 of the notional verb.
  • 22.  In the interrogative form the first auxiliary verb is put before the subject. E.g. Will Mark be playing football at 6 p.m.? In the negative form the negative particle not is placed after the first auxiliary verb. E.g. John wont be sleeping now.
  • 23.  Future actions in progress Guesses about the present or the future Polite questions about somebodys intention
  • 24.  The first use of the Future Continuous is to express future action in progress. In an hour, I will be sitting in front of my TV. In the evening, I will be baking a birthday cake.
  • 25.  Use this tense also to make guesses about something in the present or future. He wont be coming any time soon. He is still at the office. Beatrice will be getting married very soon.
  • 26.  And the last use of the tense is to make polite questions about something or somebody. Will you be coming home before or after 10 PM? Will you be goingto the supermarket? I have something to buy.
  • 27.  Sometimes the present participle is irregular. 1. doubled letter In these examples we can see that one of the letters is doubled. swim + ing = swimming run + ing = running get + ing = getting grab + ing = grabbing 2. "e" removed write + ing = writing move + ing = moving take + ing = taking

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