We use continuous tenses only for actions and happenings (They are eating / it is raining etc.). Some verbs (for example, knowand like) are not action verbs. You cannot say ‘I am knowing’ or ‘they are liking’; you can only say ‘I know’, ‘they like’.
The following verbs are not normally used in continuous tenses:
| like love hate want need prefer know realize suppose mean understand believe remember belong contain consist depend seem
o I’m hungry. I want something to eat. (not ‘I’m wanting’)
o Do you understand what I mean?
o Ann doesn’t seem very happy at the moment.
When thinkmeans ‘believe’, do not use the continuous:
o What do you think (=believe) will happen? (not ‘what are you thinking’)
§ You look so serious. What are you thinking about? (=What is going on your mind?)
§ I am thinking of giving up my job. (= I am considering)
When have means ‘possess’ etc., do not use the continuous:
o We’re enjoying our holiday. We have a nice room in the hotel. (not ‘we’re having’)
§ We’re enjoying our holiday. We’re having a great time.
We normally use the present simple (not continuous) with these verbs:
See hear smell taste
o Do you see that man over there? (not ‘are you seeing’)
o This room smells. Let’s open the window.
We often use can + see/hear/smell/taste:
Listen! Can you hear something?
But you can use the continuous with see (I’m seeing) when the meaning is ‘having a meeting with’ (especially in the future): I’m seeingthe manager tomorrow morning.
He is selfish and He is being selfish
The present continuous of be is I am being / he is being / you are being etc.
I’m being = ‘I’m behaving / I’m acting’. Compare:
o I can’t understand why he’s being so selfish. He isn’t usually like that.
(being selfish = behaving selfishly at the moment)
o He never thinks about other people. He is very selfish. (not ‘he is being’)
(he is selfish generally, not only at the moment)
We use am/is/are being to say how somebody is behaving. It is not usually possible in other sentences:
o It’s hot today. (not ‘it’s being hot’)
o Sarah is very tired. (not ‘is being tired’)
Look and feel
You can use the present simple or continuous when you can say how somebody looks or feels now:
o You look well today. or You’re looking well today.
o How do you feel now? or How are you feeling now?
§ I usually feel tired in the morning. (not ‘I’m usually feeling’)
Exercise 1.Give Participle I of the following verbs:
To give, to study, to make, to ask, to pack, to stand, to get, to cancel, to look, to fly, to be, to see, to go, to prove, to come, to cut, to catch, to build, to bring, to bind, to begin, to know, to have, to put, to grind, to forbid, to fall, to eat, to dig, to leave, to ride, to lose, to throw, to wake, to spit, to spoil, to tear, to split, to steal.
Exercise 2.Make up interrogative and negative variants of the sentences:
Model: He is reading a book.
Is he reading a book?
He isn’t reading a book.
1. She is typing a letter.
2. They are talking about the international situation.
3. The children are sitting under the tree.
4. She is waiting for me.
5. I am listening to the music over the radio now.
6. At this moment he is catching a bird.
7. She is watering flowers now.
8. Now she is cooking dinner for her children.
9. Miss Brown is playing with her son in the garden.
10. At the moment the students are studying new words.
Exercise 3.Translate into English.
Сейчас мы со старшей сестрой помогаем маме по дому. Мама готовит наше любимое блюдо. Я подметаю пол, а моя сестра стирает пыль с мебели. Наша бабушка смотрит телевизор, а младший брат старается смастерить игрушку из бумаги. Наш папа сейчас работает. Он строит новый дом. Наш дядя помогает ему в этом. Моя подруга сейчас читает книги в библиотеке. Она готовится к экзаменам. Она собирается поступать в институт.
Exercise 4.Write what all your friends are doing now.
Exercise 5.Open the brackets and put the verbs into the correct form.
- Don’t make any noise, he (to sleep).
- We (to buy) a new radio set soon.
- You (not to do) it properly.
- My parents (to build) a new house in the country.
- She (to come) to see us tonight.
- You (not to come) with us.
- Look! It (to rain) outside.
- What (to do) she on Friday evening at 7 p.m.?
Exercise 6.Write what they are doing now.
Model: They usually stay at home at weekends. They are staying at home tonight.
- Every weekend he writes a letter to his parents.
- Peter works on a farm.
- He asks her for her company.
- They usually help me about the house.
- He usually peppers everything he eats.
- She passes her exams successfully.
- Every morning my mother drinks a cup of coffee.
- They spend their holiday in the countryside.
- Nick usually has a glass of water with his dinner.
- Tom plays tennis every day.
Exercise 7.Use Present Simple or Present Continuous.
- My sister and I (to like) listening to music.
- That villa (to belong) to a rich businessman.
- Mrs. Grades (to play) puzzle with my brother now.
- Where Bob (to be)? – He (to work) in the garden.
- She always (to make) delicious coffee.
- I (to live) in a small town in the north of England.
- Sometimes it (to occur) to Ann that she may be wrong.