Grammar-QuizzesVerb PhrasesVerbsPresent › At the Moment

Present Tense—At the Moment

Express temporary activities

Isabela
 

 

My name is Isabela Paras. I am a mother, a student and a nurse. I am married and have one child. Currently, I am studying to get my nursing certification. Also, I am taking classes online to improve my use of English. I am trying to get rid of simple grammar mistakes so that I can communicate with my co-workers more effectively. I am taking a grammar course and a speech course at the College of San Mateo.

At night, I work at Children's Hospital in Oakland. I am learning with a group of eight other people. I often get home very late. I am having difficulty balancing my work, study and home schedules. But I hope I can get through this difficult time. I know that I will need to have a good education to get a better job and have a more successful life.

 

 

 

Present Progressive vs. Present Nonprogressive

PRESENT PROGRESSIVE — NOW

The present progressive tense is used for current activities. That is, the action is ongoing or temporary, exists now, but may change in the future. It is not the usual activity.                                                                                                                

SUBJECT PREDICATE COMP / ADJUNCT
N PROG. VERB NP / INF PP

I

am studying

to get my nursing certificate this year.

I

am taking

classes online this semester.

I

am trying

to improve my English this year.

I

am taking

a grammar course this semester.

I

am learning

with a group of eight other people currently. (PP)

I

am having

a little difficulty right now.

I

am feeling

a bit overwhelmed tonight.

PRESENT — CHARACTER, HABIT, CUSTOM

The present nonprogressive tense is used for the description of character, appearance, or habits. The state is more permanent; the action is routine. It exists now, has existed in the past and will probably exist in the future.

SUBJECT PREDICATE COMP / ADJUNCT
N VERB NP / ADJ / PP / CLAUSE

I

is

Isabela. (NP)

I

am

a mother. (NP)

I

am

married. (Adj)

I

work

at Children's Hospital. (PP)

I

get

home late often. (NP)

I

hope

(that) I can get through this…  (Clause)

I

know

(that) I will need to have a good education… (Clause)

 

Subject – the causer or doer of the action ; Predicate – the action; COMPcomplement:  elements required by an expression to complete its meaning.

Categories: N – noun / pronoun; NP – noun phrase; V – verb; VP – verb phrase (auxiliary + verb)

NP – A noun phrase has a noun and possbly an article or determiner, adjective, and other modifiers.  See  Word Functions.

 Also see related pages: Present Progressive | Past Progressive | Present Perfect Progressive.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Auxiliary Verbs

Marking person and number

 

 

Auxiliary Verbs — person and number (singular/plural)

SINGULAR

Auxiliary verbs do not carry their own meaning as lexical verbs do.  Instead, they mark tense, person, aspect, mood, and voice (active/passive). (Some verbs such as need, dare

SUBJECT PREDICATE PREDICATE
N / PRN AUX V

(1st person)

am

running.

You

(2nd person)

are

running.

Helen

(3rd person)

is

running.

PLURAL

Auxiliary verbs combine with not to form negatives, invert with the subject to form questions, are used with too in tag questions, and are used for emphasis.                          

SUBJECT PREDICATE PREDICATE
N / PRN AUX V

We

(1st person)

are

running.

You  (all)

(2nd person)

are

running.

Helen and Jill

They  (3rd per.)

are

running.

 

 Also see Auxiliary Verbs  and Dual Category Verbs.

Lexical verbs express an action or state (eat, run, sleep, live, fly, etc.)

Auxiliary verbs express tense, mood, person aspect, or number (is are, was, were, do, does, did, has, had, etc.)

Categories: N – noun / pronoun; NP – noun phrase; V – verb; VP – verb phrase (auxiliary + verb)

 

 

 

 

Present Adverbs (time expressions)

Specify the timing of an action or activity

walking
 

 

Present Time Expressions — definite vs. indefinite timing

DEFINITE TIMING  "HAPPENING AROUND NOW"

Adverbial expressions with definite timing are used when actions can be marked on a timeline (clock/calendar); they have endpoints/goals. Compare: I am walking to class today. (definite timing, it ends when I arrive at class) to I walk to class. (indefinite timing, "timeless", no endpoint, a routine).

WITH PROGRESSIVE VERBS WITH PROGRESSIVE VERBS

I am walking to class now

*I walk to class now.

I am walking to class today

*I walk to class today.¹

NOW THIS ...

now (just now, right now)

currently (presently)

today / tonight (word origin – this day, this night) 

 

at the moment  (for now, for the time being, for now, at present)

this month  (time not passed: morning, evening, week, semester, this spring, year, decade, century)

as we speak (expression: now)

these moments  (time not passed: weeks, months, semesters, years)

still (with a negative verb: no longer)

Used with progressive.

this Tuesday (June 20, June 20, 2020) (in the current week)

 

 

INDEFINITE TIMING "HAPPENING SOMETIME"

Adverbial expressions with indefinite timing are used when activities or states happen "sometime", not related to a timeline. The precise time is not important. The focus is on the activity or state.  These adverbs express duration (a period of time) or repetition (the interval of occurrence).

BOTH PROGRESSIVE & NON BOTH PROGRESSIVE & NON

I am walking to class temporarily.

I walk to class during the week.

I am walking to class often.

I walk to class often.

DURATION  REPETITION

temporarily(continuously, briefly, momentarily) [imperfective, ongoing] ⇒ Mostly progressive.

repeatedly(constantly, continuously, again and again, perpetually, eternally)⇒ Switch to "keep" with progressive.³

for a moment (ten minutes, a week, a month, for a while², a little while, a day,  forever)  ⇒ Often present perfect.

always (routinely, customarily, usually, in general, normally, often, sometimes, hardly ever, never)

during the week (month, year, etc.) ⇒ Mostly nonprogressive.

at night (noon, midnight, sunset)

in spring (winter, summer, June, July)

from Monday to Tuesday(1 PM to 2 PM, morning to night)

⇒ Mostly nonprogressive.

on Mondays (Tuesday, Sundays, etc.)

most days (nights, weekends, etc.)

while it is warm(a relative time: when, if, whenever, before, after)  before lunch  (after)

every / each / every other day  (hour, day, night, week, month, year, May, spring)

 

¹ adverbs like today or this month include time that is past, present and future. With the present tense, we understand the time to be present, current, now. "I walk to class today," could also be understood as a scheduled activity. See Scheduled Events—Routine vs. Near Future.

² for a while (PP) – can be understood in two ways: (1) having some amount of duration, or (2) being very temporary

³ keep + verb+ing – Repetition can be expressed by using the "keep" (I keep walking.  He kept smiling.)  The progressive with "repeatedly" (*I am walking to class repeatedly. )sounds awkward.

Specific adverbial pages: Frequency Adverbs| Preps for Time—In v. On v. At | During v. In | For-Since

Related tense pages:   Past vs. Progressive | Present vs. Present Perfect Progressive | Future vs. Future Progressive (will)

 

 

 

 

Present Progressive

Word Order

 

Word Order

AUXILIARY VERB SUBJECT AUX + VERB-ING REST OF SENTENCE CLAUSE
STATEMENT        
 

I

am working

as a nurse. 

 

 

Isabela

is working

as a nurse. 

 

 

Isabela and her friend

are studying
 

together.

 

QUESTION        

Am

I

working   

tonight?

 

Is

Isabela

working   

tonight?

 

Are 

Isabela and her friend

studying   

tonight?

 

TAG QUESTION¹       TAG AUXILIARY
 

I

am working

tonight,

aren't  I?

 

Isabela

is working

tonight,

isn't she?

 

Isabela and her friend

are studying
 

tonight.

aren't  they?

NEGATIVE        

 

 I

am not working

tonight.

 

 

Isabela

isn't working

tonight.

 

 

Isabela and her friend

aren't studying
 

together.

 

EMPHASIS IN SPEECH   EMPHSIZED AUXILIARY    

No,

 I

am working

with her.

 

No,

Isabela

is working

tonight.

 

No,

Isabela and her friend

are studying

together.
 

 

¹A tag question can also occur with a negative main sentence and a positive final question: They aren't working tonight, are they?   See And so / too.

²Use emphasis in speech when contradicting or stating that the opposite is true: "I think Isabela isn't working tonight."   "No, she is working tonight."  

Sentence Diagrams of Present Progressive

Related page:  3rd Person Agreement.      

 

 

 

 

 

Common Mistakes

Errors & Solutions

 

Error and Solution

ERROR

*I apply to attend college this semester. 

*Just for now, I take the bus to work.   (Just for now is temporary.)

*I study English in the College of San Mateo.  (The activity is temporary.)

*Hurry up! I wait for you.  (The activity is temporary.)

SOLUTION

I am applying to attend college this semester.  (Use a progressive verb tense with this semester – a temporary time-frame.) 

Just for now, I am taking the bus to work. (Use a progressive verb tense with just for now – a temporary time-frame.) 

I am studying English in the College of San Mateo.  (Use a progressive verb tense with a temporary time-frame.) 

Hurry up! I am waiting for you.  (Use a progressive verb tense with a temporary time-frame.) 

 

*Yellow highlighting indicates example of incorrect usage.

 

 

 

 

► Show Grammar Notes and Works Cited ▼ Hide Grammar Notes

Grammar Notes (Advanced)

Traditional and Linguistic Description

 

 

 

Traditional and Linguistic Description

TRADITIONAL DESCRIPTION

For some language learners, it is helpful to see the parts of a sentence. The REED-KELLOGG system diagrams a sentence on a horizontal line. Subjectarticle: the, noun: wind   | Predicate: verb: is \ adjective: strong    

 

The wind blows

labels

 
LINGUISTIC DESCRIPTION

The tree diagram (linguistics) separates the parts of a sentence with angled /\  brackets.  Clause; Subject-Predicate; NP –noun phrase; N – noun; VP – verb phrase; V – verb; auxiliary. – gerund-participle; pronoun

TWO POSSIBLE DIAGRAMS

The wind blows

The wind blows
 

Word Categories: N – Noun; V – Verb; Aux – Auxiliary; Adj – Adjective; Adv – Adverb; P –Preposition; Det –Determiner.

Phrasal Categories: NP – Noun Phrase; VP – Verb Phrase; AdjP – Adjective Phrase; AdvP – Adverb Phrase; PP – Prepositional Phrase; DP – Determinative Phrase.

Clausal Categories: Cls – clause; F – finite clause; NF – nonfinite clause (Ger – gerund; Inf – infinitive; PPart – past participle).

Word Functions: Subj – subject; Pred – predicate/predicator; Compcomplement: elements required by an expression to complete its meaning (DO – direct object; IO – indirect object);  Adjunctadjunct: elements not required by an expression to complete its meaning (Subord – subordinator; Coord – coordinator); Suplsupplement: a clause or phrase added onto a clause that is not closely related to the central thought or structure of the main clause.

 

Works Cited

  • Azar, Betty Schrampfer, and Stacy A. Hagen. Understanding and Using English Grammar. 4th ed., Pearson Education, 2009.
  • Huddleston, Rodney D., and Geoffrey K. Pullum. The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language. Cambridge UP, 2002.
  • O'Brien, Elizabeth. "Diagramming Sentences Exercises: Chapter 1." English Grammar Revolution. 2016. english-grammar-revolution.com/english-grammar-exercise.html. Accessed on 10 Oct. 2016.
  • Swan, Michael. Practical English Usage. 3rd ed., Oxford UP, 2005.
  • "Sentence diagram." Wikipedia. 28 Sep. 2016. Accessed on 10 Oct. 2016.

 

 

 

 

 

Practice 1

An Introduction

George
 

 

Present or present progressive?

  1. Select the response from the list that best completes the sentence. 
  2. Compare your response to the feedback by clicking the "check" button.

 

1–8.
             
           
 

 

 

 

 

Practice 2

My Morning Routine

 

 

 

Temporarily (at the moment) or permanently?

  1. Select the response from the list that best completes the sentence. 
  2. Compare your response to the feedback by clicking the "Check" or the "Check 9-15" button.

 

9.
— What are you doing in school?

— I

10.
— Do you like your classes?


11.
— How about you?  

12.
— Are you from around here? Where 

— In Athens, Greece.   (For questions about permanent residence, the response usually states the  city and country.)

13.
 

— In San Mateo on Main Street    (For questions about temporary residence, the response usually states the area and/or the street.)

14.
— 

— Yes, I see.

15.
  Goodbye!