Past Simple And Past Continuous When And While Difficulties With the Present Continuous Tense

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Difficulties With the Present Continuous Tense

People who learn English as a second language have problems mastering tenses. Present Perfect Tense poses a cognitive challenge, while Present Continuous poses a challenge to avoid overusing them.

Asian learners, especially Indians, use this tense in left, right and center.

I am coming out of the shopping mall, sir, I meet this guy asking for money yesterday.

It is not difficult and does not take much time to understand the tenses, but it takes some practice, guided practice, to master.

The primary use of this tense is to talk about what is happening at the time of speaking – that is the speaker’s ‘now’.

I am reading this article.

are you listening to me

It doesn’t move, does it?

The present continuous is used to talk about an action that is happening now or nowadays.

what is he doing

He is writing a new novel.

where is daddy what is he doing

He has attended a conference in Canberra.

The examples above show that the past tense is used for an action that you consider temporary. It is not an action that happens every day, every time, for which we use the simple present.

I read books. This is my hobby and every time I get time

I am reading books. now

I’m reading Archer’s new book. Nowadays.

Unlike native speakers, speakers of English as a second language rarely have difficulty understanding verbs used in the present continuous for actions that are happening now.

Do you see a bus over there?

Speak up, I’m listening to you.

i want money

do you understand me

He has no problem.

Verbs like see and hear are involuntary actions. If you keep your eyes open, you can’t stop seeing and you can’t stop the sounds that are always open in your ears. They are always open and not under your control.

The present continuous is only used for actions that are under your control. The same is the case with verbs which denote a state and not an action. is Indicates possession or relationship. It speaks of any action. Hence the sentence He has no problem considered non-standard.

So the next time you use the Present Continuous, take a moment and find out if you got the sentence right. This advice is for learners of English as a second language.

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