At the Moment

Tell 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 working 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 — TEMPORARY

We use the present progressive for current or temporary activities. That is, the action is ongoing or temporary, exists now, but will change in the future. It is not the usual state.

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

I

am working

to get my nursing certificate.

I

am taking

classes online.

I

am trying

to improve my English.

I

am taking

a grammar course.

I

am learning

with a group of eight other people. (PP)

I

am having

difficulty.

 

 

 

PRESENT — MORE PERMANENT

We use the present nonprogressive tense for descriptions of character, appearance, or habits. The activity is more permanent. It exists now, has existed in the past and will probably exist in the future.

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

My name

is

Isabela. (NP) 100% permanent

I

am

a mother. (NP) 99% permanent

I

am

married. (Adj) 50% permanent

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; COMP – complement:  elements required by the verb to complete its meaning (direct object, indirect object, or predicative complement) ;  ADJUNCT: elements not required by the verb (adjectives, adverbs, prepositional phrases, clauses)

N – noun; NP – noun phrase; V – verb; VP – verb phrase; Adj – adjective; AdjP – adjective phrase; INF – infiniitve: GER – gerund; Nonfinite: an infinitive or gerund clause

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

PERSON # AUXILIARY VERB

(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.

PERSON # AUXILIARY VERB

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.)

 

 

 

 

Present Progressive

Adverbs

 

 

 

Present Tense Adverbs

PRESENT PROGRESSIVE – MORE TEMPORARY

Adverbs for the present progressive indicate a more temporary state, at the moment of speaking. The focus is on the present time period, with a larger range of time, for example this month, and not on time that has passed.

NOW THIS ...

at the moment

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

now (for now, just now)

this morning

currently

this week

presently

this month

for a little while (for the time being)

this semester

as we speak

this year

PRESENT – MORE PERMANENT

Adverbs for the present tense indicate a more permanent state and tell how often an activity occurs or is repeated. ¹Statements of fact or general truth rarely occur with adverbs.  

EVERY ... FREQUENCY

every day  (night, week, month, year, etc.)

always (routinely, customarily, as a rule)

each day  (night, week, month, year, etc.)

usually (most of the time, in general, normally)

every other day  (night, week, year, etc.)

often (frequently, half of the time)

most weekends (nights, weeks, months, etc.) 

sometimes (occasionally, on occasion)

 

rarely (seldom, hardly ever, never, not ever)

GENERAL TRUTH

general truth¹ (no adverb)

 

 

*Also Adverbs of Frequency    Adverbs of Time

 

 

 

 

 

 

Present Progressive

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 SOLUTION

*I apply to attend college this semester. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*Yellow highlighting indicates example of incorrect usage.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grammar Notes

Traditional and Linguistic Description

 

 

 

Traditional and Linguistic Description

TRADITIONAL DESCRIPTION LINGUISTIC 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 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

The wind blows

labels

The wind blows

Also see Subject-Predicate.

 

Grammatical Functions: Subject – (Subj) the agent of the action; Predicate/Predicator – (Pred) the action or change in state; Complement – Comp  –  an element required to complete the subject and verb; Adjunct – an element not required by the verb, a modifying word, phrase, clause; Supplement – a comment in the form of a word, phrase or clause that is loosely related to the central idea of the sentence.

Lexical Categories "Parts of Speech": N – noun / pronoun; NP – noun phrase; V – verb; VP – verb phrase; Adj – adjective; AdjP – adjective phrase; Adv – adverb; AdvP – adverb phrase; P – preposition; PP – prepositional phrase; Det – determiners –  noun markers (e.g., articles, quantifiers, demonstratives, possessives); Subord – subordinator; Coord – coordinator; Interj – interjection; INF – infiniitve: GER – gerund; Nonfinite: an infinitive or gerund clause

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Practice 1

An Introduction

George
 

 

Present or present progressive?

  1. Select the response from the menu 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!