Sunday, 31 January 2016

The Present Progressive tense form and the three times

The Present progressive tense form helps talk about
actions and states in the
i. present time 
ii. future time 
iii. three times (inclusive)  

i. present time
1. actions at the moment of speaking:
             It’s raining.  
                I’m not wearing a coat.
                Why are you sitting at my desk?
                What’s the baby doing?
                The sun is shining.  
                The baby is crying.
              The train is arriving at platform number 3.

2. exceptions to routines:
             The suppliers are asking for immediate payment on delivery.
                  [The usual time limit is thirty days.]
               He always works hard but now he’s overdoing things.
                I’m making an exception, just this once.

3. definite arrangements:
             She’s leaving for London on the evening flight.
                We’re throwing a party next weekend.
                Seema is attending a Conference on the 31st.

 4. actions continuing but not necessarily at the moment of speaking:
          I’m learning French. ( now I am traveling)
          My brother is writing a novel. (he may be in his office now)

5. actions happening intermittently, not necessarily now:
           Mr Vikram is writing a novel.
             Ravi is playing in the first eleven this season.
             I’m learning French.
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ii. future time
6. definite arrangements:
             She’s leaving for London on the evening flight.
                We’re throwing a party next weekend.
                Seema is attending a Conference on the 31st.
                We’re singing at a charity concert next Saturday.
                I’m seeing my dentist next Monday.
                 He’s leaving for the States next month.
            Are you doing anything tonight?
            Srinivasan is coming next week and is staying here till his departure to London.
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iii. The three times
7. annoyance or irritation at repeated activities/habits:
          I’m always forgetting people’s names.
           You’re continually finding fault with me.
           My husband is forever losing money at the races.

8. actions continuing but not necessarily at the moment of speaking:
          I’m learning French. (I may be traveling)
          My brother is writing a novel. (he may be in his office now)

9. a frequently repeated action which annoys the speaker or
    seems unreasonable to him/her:
           He’s always working late at the office.
             The train is continually arriving late.
             He’s always grumbling.
  
Note: There’s no such negative implication in: I’m always learning.

10. repetitions during a given period of time:
             The Principal is typing her own letters while her P.A. is ill.

11. repetitions at a given moment of time:
             Whenever I see him, he’s roaming around.
             Remember that when you’re taking rest, someone is always working.

12. an on-going change of ‘state’ over a period:
             The weather is getting colder.
             The sun is ripening the mangoes nicely.
             Our economic prospects are now improving.

13. actions happening intermittently, not necessarily now:
             Mr Vikram is writing a novel.
             Ravi is playing in the first eleven this season.
             I’m learning French.

14. actions happening again and again:
           Every time I hear about him, he’s making trouble for himself.
             Whenever you see him, he’s either sleeping or gossiping.
             Don’t let it worry you; he’s constantly trying to impress others.
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iv. Present progressive tense versus present tense forms:        
15. The present tense expresses permanence while the present progressive,
      temporariness: 
      We live in the suburbs.           [ permanent residence]
             We are living in the suburbs.  [ for the time being, we may move out]

             Where does Gopi work?         [ permanent place]
             Where is Gopi working at present? [Gopi changes jobs frequently.]

             We start work at nine o’clock, but for this week we are starting at 8.30.

             Father retires next year.        [ which is his normal retiring age]
             Father is retiring next year.   [ though he’s only fifty-five]

16. The present tense refers to competence whereas the present progressive,
      performance on a particular occasion or during a particular season:  
      Suguna sings well.         [ her ability is almost permanent]
             Suguna is singing well.  [ her ability is visible in the given situation]

17. When used with first person in a letter,
       the present tense form of  ‘write’, ‘send’, ‘hasten’ implies an official (formal) tone: 
         I write this to inform you that…    
    the present progressive of these verbs implies informality:
                  I’m writing to inform you that …

18. Verbs like ‘see’, hear’, ‘have, ‘like’, ‘feel’, ‘expect’, ‘resemble’, ‘hope’, ‘smell’, ‘taste’, ‘impress’, doubt’,
        ‘find’, ‘forget’, ‘want’, ‘mind’ are used in present progressive tense only when they
       carry meanings (messages) different from their normal meanings. See the different
       meanings in the following sentences:
              I don’t see anything here. ( refers to ‘normal sight’) 
              I’m seeing the dentist this evening. (meet by appointment)
              They’re seeing their cousin off. (say goodbye)
              We’re seeing about a work permit for you. (trying to arrange…)
              The plumber is here; he’s seeing to the leak in our tank. (dealing with….)

              This is your last warning. Do you hear me? (do you understand)
              I’m not hearing as well as I used to. (my hearing is not good now)
              I’ve been hearing all about this accident. (receiving the news/information)
              The judge is hearing our case tomorrow. (the trial starts tomorrow)

              I think you’re wrong. (in my opinion …)
              I’m thinking of emigrating. (mental process)

              I have a house. (possession)
              I can’t open the door; I’m having a bath. (taking a bath)
              We’re having a wonderful time. (enjoying ourselves)
              I’m having a tooth taken out tomorrow. (getting the dentist to take out the tooth)
              I was having difficulty staying awake. (experiencing)

              He likes me very much. (finds me pleasant/attractive)
              How’s liking his new job? (is he enjoying it)
                          
              I love my wife. (have very strong feeling of affection)
                 I’m loving every moment of it. (am enjoying…..)
                        
                 I feel you are right. (think/believe/ in my opinion)
                 Are you feeling alright? (are you having a problem—physical or mental)
                    
              Parents expect their children to be high achievers.(demand as a duty)    
                 I’m expecting a courier. (waiting for)      
                 She’s expecting a baby this June. (giving birth to)

              She resembles her father. (the likeness is permanent)
              She’s resembling her father more and more.(the likeness is happening over a
                                                                                                                period)
              I hope you’ll come. (an expectation directly expressed)
              I’m hoping you’ll come. (an expectation politely expressed

              Our roses smell sweet.
              She’s smelling our roses. (sniffing)

              The soup tastes bitter.
              She’s tasting the soup to check the seasoning.(checking)

              His views impress me. (I think highly of him)
              He’s impressing his views upon the Management. (trying to influence)
                    
              Do you doubt my word? (on one occasion)    
              He’s always doubting my word. (on several occasions—a complaint)   

              I find that I was mistaken. (have a feeling/opinion…..
              I’m finding that this problem is more complicated than I had thought.
              (am slowly discovering….)
       
              I forget her name. (can’t recollect)  
              I’m forgetting my French. (gradual loss)
              Aren’t you forgetting your manners? (failing to show manners)

              He wants to be a doctor.
              What’s he wanting this time? (what’s his latest request/demand)

               Do you mind if I open the window? (object to opening)
               My neighbour is minding the baby while his wife is out shopping.
                     (looking after)  

In summary, the present progressive tense expresses
  (i) actions in the present time (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
 (ii) actions in the future time (6)
(iii) actions in the present, past, future time (7, 8. 9, 10, 11, 12, 13,14)

  iv) difference between the progressive and the simple (15, 16, 17, 18)