Habits & Customs

Talk about routine activities

 

 

 

easter breadEaster, in my country, is the most sacred and celebrated of all the Greek holidays. The Gregorian calendar determines the date.  This year, we are celebrating Orthodox Easter a month later than Western Easter.  Orthodox Easter begins with a 40-day fast. We only eat foods found in nature (grains, greens, beans, vegetables, snails, and seafood without backbones), no meat from red-blooded animals. On Palm Sunday, we serve only fish courses. 

churchOn Saturday before Easter, we take the food we will serve on Easter to the church where the priest blesses it.  On Easter Sunday, roast lamb is the centerpiece of the table. In the early morning, the spits turn in backyards and courtyards as the lamb is slowly cooked. We color eggs bright red and bake them into bread, "tsoureki".  This tradition bonds one generation to the next and always is the highlight of the year.                                             

 

 

Present vs. Present Progressive 

PRESENT

We use the present tense for an activity, celebration, habit or custom that is habitually repeated, existed in the past and will probably exist in the future, relatively permanent.

SUBJECT PREDICATE COMP / ADJUNCT
NP VERB NP

We

eat

locally produced food.

The priest

blesses

the food.

We

color

eggs bright red.

This tradition

bonds

one generation to the next.

PRESENT PROGRESSIVE

Use the present progressive for an activity that is short-term, not the usual state, a temporary change, happening just  for the present (which may be this moment, day, week, or year.)

ADJUNCT SUBJ PREDICATE COMP / ADJUNCT
ADV  NP VERB NP

This week,

we

are not eating

fish, olive oil or dairy products.

This year,

we

are celebrating

Orthodox Easter a month later.

Today,

we

are dying

eggs red.

white eggs to be red.

This morning,

we  

are preparing

special dishes.

 

bonds (v.) – holds together tightly

dye (v.) – add or change color

FunctioSubject – 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 (modifiers: adjectives, adverbs, prepositional phrases, clauses)

N – noun; NP – noun phrase; V – verb; VP – verb phrase; Adj – adjective; AdjP – adjective phrase; Adv – adverb: AdvP – adverb phrase

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Present (habitual) Tense

Adverbs and Word Order

 

 

 

Adverbs with Present vs. Present Progressive

PRESENT – (MORE) PERMANENT

Adverbs for the present tense indicate a more permanent state or how often an activity occurs or is repeated.  Note that we very rarely include an adverb with statement of fact or general truth.

GENERAL TRUTH FREQUENCY

general truth (none)   

always (routinely, customarily, normally)

EVERY ...

every moment  (minute)

usually (in general. as a rule, most of the time)

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

often (frequently, half of the time)

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

sometimes (occasionally, on occasion)

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

rarely (seldom, hardly ever)

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

never (not ever)
 

PRESENT PROGRESSIVE – TEMPORARY

Adverbs for present progressive indicate more temporary states, at the moment of speaking. With a larger amount of time, such as this month, the focus is still on the present time period and not any amount of time that has passed.

NOW THIS ...

at the moment (at this time, at this second) 

today / tonight ( this day, this night) 

now (for now, just now, right now)

this moment  (second)

currently

this morning (afternoon, evening)

presently

this week (weekend)

for a little while (for the time being)

this month (period, semester, year)

as we speak

this decade (century, era)

*Also see  Adverbs of Frequency

 

 

 

 

 

 

Word Order

Adverb Placement

 

 

 

Word Order & Emphasis

 

Three positions:

.

 

 

Normal Placement — pre-verb vs. mid- verb

MEDIAL — BEFORE VERB

Normally, an adverb for frequency is placed before the verb. No particular emphasis is placed on the timing of the activity.

SUBJECT: NP FREQ. ADVERB VERB + COMP

My family

always 

eats together.

 

usually 

 

 

sometimes 

 

 

often 

 

 

frequently 

 

 

occasionally 

 

 

rarely 

 

 

seldom 

 

 

hardly ever 

 

 

never 

 

 

*most of the time  

 

 

*on occasion

 

MEDIAL —BETWEEN AUXILIARY AND VERB

When an auxiliary verb is used, the adverb is placed after the auxiliary and before the verb.

SUBJ + AUX FREQ. ADVERB VERB + COMP

My family will

always 

eat together.

My family  shall

usually 

 

My family   can

sometimes 

 

 

often 

 

 

frequently 

 

 

occasionally 

 

 

rarely 

 

 

seldom 

 

 

hardly ever 

 

 

never 

 

 

*most of the time  

 

 

*on occasion

 

 

*expressions are rarely used in mid-sentence position.
aux – auxilary verb (do, be, can, may, might, etc.)

Also see Splitting Verbs.

 

 

 

Emphasis Change — pre-clausal vs. post clausal

INITIAL — BEFORE CLAUSE

For emphasis on the timing, an adverb for frequency is placed before the clause and separated with a comma. Time expressions are usually pre- or post- clausal.

FREQ. ADVERB SUBJECT: NP VERB +

Most of the time,  

my family

eats together.

Usually,

 

 

Often,

 

 

Sometimes,

 

 

Half of the time,

 

 

Frequently,

 

 

Occasionally,

 

 

On occasion,

 

 

Rarely,

 

 

Seldom,

 

 

Hardly ever,

 

 

Never,

 

 

*Always,

 

 

FINAL — END OF CLAUSE

When no particular emphasis is desired or when the an adverbial phrase is used (two- or three-word prepositional phrase), the adverb is placed at the end of the clause.

SUBJECT: NP VERB + FREQ. ADVERB

My family

eats together

most of the time.  

 

 

usually.

 

 

often.

 

 

sometimes.

 

 

half of the time.

 

 

frequently.

 

 

occasionally.

 

 

on occasion.

 

 

rarely. 

 

 

seldom.

 

 

hardly ever.

 

 

never.

 

 

 

 

† See negative adverbs of frequency below.

*Yellow highlighted words are examples of incorrect placement.

together (adverb / preposition) – previously categorized as an adverb, now is categorized as a preposition (Huddleston 614)
Also see  Adverbs of Frequency  for sentence examples.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Negative Adverbs

Word Order Change 

 

 

 

Negative Adverbs in Initial Position

NORMAL SUBJECT–VERB ORDER

When a negative adverb – never, rarely, seldom, hardly ever – is placed at the beginning of a sentence for emphasis, the auxiliary of the verb is moved in front of the subject.

*Seldom we are home in the day time.

 We seldom are at home in the daytime.

*Never we have much time together.

 We never have much time together.

INVERTED SUBJECT–VERB ORDER

After a negative adverb, place the  auxiliary verb (do, does, is, are, am, have, has) before the subject and main verb.  Initial placement of the adverb is for emphasis.

Seldom are we ___ home in the day time.
move rightmove auxiliary left

Never do we have much time together. 
move rightmove auxiliary left

 

pop question Pop-Q "Never"

 

 

 

 

 

 

Practice 1

Habits & Temporary Changes

Two people eating
 

 

Is the activity a habit or a change from the usual routine?

  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 1-8" button.

 

1.
Today, we're eating dinner at 5:00 because we're going to a movie.

2.

3.
This week, I'm not driving to work because my car is being repaired. Instead, I'm taking the train to work. 

4.
Usually, I answer my phone.

5.
Usually, ABC shows the news at 6:00 p.m.

6.

More often, I work the day shift.

7.
This year, we are getting a lot of rain.

8.
I usually feel energetic.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Practice 2

Adverb Placement

birthday

 

 

Which adverb may be used in the sentence position that is given?

  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 9-13" button.

 

9.

10.
(6 month anniversaries)

11.

12.

13.

 

Additional practice: Present vs. Present Progressive