Unit 9 :
[am/is/are + present participle]
- You are watching TV.
- Are you watching TV?
- You are not watching TV.
USE 1 Now
Use the Present Continuous with Normal Verbs to express the idea that something is happening now, at this very moment. It can also be used to show that something is not happening now.
- You are learning English now.
- You are not swimming now.
- Are you sleeping?
- I am sitting.
- I am not standing.
- Is he sitting or standing?
- They are reading their books.
- They are not watching television.
- What are you doing?
- Why aren’t you doing your homework?
USE 2 Longer Actions in Progress Now
In English, “now” can mean: this second, today, this month, this year, this century, and so on. Sometimes, we use the Present Continuous to say that we are in the process of doing a longer action which is in progress; however, we might not be doing it at this exact second.
Examples: (All of these sentences can be said while eating dinner in a restaurant.)
- I am studying to become a doctor.
- I am not studying to become a dentist.
- I am reading the book Tom Sawyer.
- I am not reading any books right now.
- Are you working on any special projects at work?
- Aren’t you teaching at the university now?
USE 3 Near Future
Sometimes, speakers use the Present Continuous to indicate that something will or will not happen in the near future.
- I am meeting some friends after work.
- I am not going to the party tonight.
- Is he visiting his parents next weekend?
- Isn’t he coming with us tonight?
USE 4 Repetition and Irritation with “Always”
The Present Continuous with words such as “always” or “constantly” expresses the idea that something irritating or shocking often happens. Notice that the meaning is like Simple Present, but with negative emotion. Remember to put the words “always” or “constantly” between “be” and “verb+ing.”
- She is always coming to class late.
- He is constantly talking. I wish he would shut up.
- I don’t like them because they are always complaining.
REMEMBER Non-Continuous Verbs/ Mixed Verbs
It is important to remember that Non-Continuous Verbs cannot be used in any continuous tenses. Also, certain non-continuous meanings for Mixed Verbs cannot be used in continuous tenses. Instead of using Present Continuous with these verbs, you must useSimple Present.
- She is loving this chocolate ice cream. Not Correct
- She loves this chocolate ice cream. Correct
The examples below show the placement for grammar adverbs such as: always, only, never, ever, still, just, etc.
- You are still watching TV.
- Are you still watching TV?
ACTIVE / PASSIVE
- Right now, Tom is writing the letter. Active
- Right now, the letter is being written by Tom. Passive
Passive and Active Voices
Verbs are also said to be either active (The executive committee approved the new policy) or passive (The new policy was approved by the executive committee) in voice. In the active voice, the subject and verb relationship is straightforward: the subject is a be-er or a do-er and the verb moves the sentence along. In the passive voice, the subject of the sentence is neither a do-er or a be-er, but is acted upon by some other agent or by something unnamed (The new policy was approved). Computerized grammar checkers can pick out a passive voice construction from miles away and ask you to revise it to a more active construction. There is nothing inherently wrong with the passive voice, but if you can say the same thing in the active mode, do so (see exceptions below). Your text will have more pizzazz as a result, since passive verb constructions tend to lie about in their pajamas and avoid actual work.
We find an overabundance of the passive voice in sentences created by self-protective business interests, magniloquent educators, and bombastic military writers (who must get weary of this accusation), who use the passive voice to avoid responsibility for actions taken. Thus “Cigarette ads were designed to appeal especially to children” places the burden on the ads — as opposed to “We designed the cigarette ads to appeal especially to children,” in which “we” accepts responsibility. At a White House press briefing we might hear that “The President was advised that certain members of Congress were being audited” rather than “The Head of the Internal Revenue service advised the President that her agency was auditing certain members of Congress” because the passive construction avoids responsibility for advising and for auditing. One further caution about the passive voice: we should not mix active and passive constructions in the same sentence: “The executive committee approved the new policy, and the calendar for next year’s meetings was revised” should be recast as “The executive committee approved the new policy and revised the calendar for next year’s meeting.”
Take the quiz (below) as an exercise in recognizing and changing passive verbs.
The passive voice does exist for a reason, however, and its presence is not always to be despised. The passive is particularly useful (even recommended) in two situations:
- When it is more important to draw our attention to the person or thing acted upon: The unidentified victim was apparently struck during the early morning hours.
- When the actor in the situation is not important: The aurora borealis can be observed in the early morning hours.
The passive voice is especially helpful (and even regarded as mandatory) in scientific or technical writing or lab reports, where the actor is not really important but the process or principle being described is of ultimate importance. Instead of writing “I poured 20 cc of acid into the beaker,” we would write “Twenty cc of acid is/was poured into the beaker.” The passive voice is also useful when describing, say, a mechanical process in which the details of process are much more important than anyone’s taking responsibility for the action: “The first coat of primer paint is applied immediately after the acid rinse.”
We use the passive voice to good effect in a paragraph in which we wish to shift emphasis from what was the object in a first sentence to what becomes the subject in subsequent sentences.
The executive committee approved an entirely new policy for dealing with academic suspension and withdrawal. The policyhad been written by a subcommittee on student behavior. If students withdraw from course work before suspension can take effect, the policy states, a mark of “IW” . . . .
The paragraph is clearly about this new policy so it is appropriate that policy move from being the object in the first sentence to being the subject of the second sentence. The passive voice allows for this transition.†
Passive Verb Formation
The passive forms of a verb are created by combining a form of the “to be verb” with the past participle of the main verb. Other helping verbs are also sometimes present: “The measure could have been killed in committee.” The passive can be used, also, in various tenses. Let’s take a look at the passive forms of “design.”
|Present perfect||The car/cars||has been||have been||designed.|
|Past perfect||The car/cars||had been||had been||designed.|
|Future||The car/cars||will be||will be||designed.|
|Future perfect||The car/cars||will have been||will have been||designed.|
|Present progressive||The car/cars||is being||are being||designed.|
|Past progressive||The car/cars||was being||were being||designed.|
A sentence cast in the passive voice will not always include an agent of the action. For instance if a gorilla crushes a tin can, we could say “The tin can was crushedby the gorilla.” But a perfectly good sentence would leave out the gorilla: “The tin can was crushed.” Also, when an active sentence with an indirect object is recast in the passive, the indirect object can take on the role of subject in the passive sentence:
|Active||Professor Villa gave Jorge an A.|
|Passive||An A was givento Jorge by Professor Villa.|
|Passive||Jorge was given an A.|
Only transitive verbs (those that take objects) can be transformed into passive constructions. Furthermore, active sentences containing certain verbs cannot be transformed into passive structures. To have is the most important of these verbs. We can say “He has a new car,” but we cannot say “A new car is had by him.” We can say “Josefina lacked finesse,” but we cannot say “Finesse was lacked.” Here is a brief list of such verbs*:
|resemble||look like||equal||agree with|
Verbals in Passive Structures
Verbals or verb forms can also take on features of the passive voice. An infinitive phrase in the passive voice, for instance, can perform various functions within a sentence (just like the active forms of the infinitive).
- Subject: To be elected by my peers is a great honor.
- Object: That child really likes to be read to by her mother.
- Modifier: Grasso was the first woman to be elected governor in her own right.
The same is true of passive gerunds.
- Subject: Being elected by my peers was a great thrill.
- Object: I really don’t like being lectured to by my boss.
- Object of preposition: I am so tired of being lectured to by my boss.
With passive participles, part of the passive construction is often omitted, the result being a simple modifying participial phrase.
With Sense Verbs
Following a verb which refers to the senses (e.g. see or seem, taste, feel, sound), be sure to use an adjective to describe the noun in the clause, instead of an adverb.
She felt badly about her behavior last evening.
Badly is an adverb, which shouldn’t be used after felt.
She felt bad about her behavior last evening.
The house appears sound, but it hasn’t been inspected yet.
The house appears soundly, but it hasn’t been inspected yet.
That old meat smells funnily.
That old mead smells funny.
Exception: When using the verb to look to mean to see with one’s eyes, as opposed toto seem or to appear, use an adverb to describe the verb.
I looked quickly at the man’s face.
The verb to look is used to mean to see with one’s eyes, and so an adverb is used.
I looked terrible after the long ordeal.
The verb to look is used to mean to appear or to seem, so an adjective is used.
Verbs of the senses
There are six verbs of the senses:
These verbs are very important because of how often they are used. Normally, when using a verb of the senses, we place an adjective after the verb, instead of an adverb.
“Those earrings look expensive, are they real platinum?”
See in the example, the verb “look” is followed by the adjective “expensive”. Let’s look at some more examples:
“That drawing looks great on the wall, do you like it?”
“I think the milk is off, it tastes horrible”
“Oliver feels lonely, because he doesn’t know anyone”
“Can you smell that? It smells delicious! I think Fiona is making a cake”
How to use “of” with taste and smell
The verbs “taste” and “smell” can also be followed by “of” and a noun.
“It smells of flowers in here, did you buy roses for me?”
“Can you taste that? This tea tastes of mint”
How to use “like” with verbs of the senses
We can use “like” to make comparisons. Let’s see some examples:
“Imma looks like her sister Anna”
“That icecream tastes like the one we bought in Italy”
“Mmm… it smells like summer!”
“Oh no! It feels like I’m getting a cold”
“Can you hear that? It sounds like the neighbour is playing his guitar again”
“Those clouds look like it’s going to rain”
“Do you feel like pizza? I do!”
“To feel” means to experience a particular emotion or physical sensation. The expression “feel like” is used a lot in English and it means to want to do something.
“To feel like” is also used when we have a sensation or an impression of something.
When we talk about things that are generally or always true, we can use:
If/When/Unless plus a present form PLUS present simple or imperative
If he gets there before me, ask him to wait.
When you fly budget airline, you have to pay for your drinks and snacks.
Unless you need more space, a small car is big enough for one person.
Note that we are not talking about a specific event but something which is generally true.
In the condition clause, we can use a variety of present forms. In the result clause, there can only be the present simple or imperative.
If you visit London, go on the London Eye.
If unemployment is rising, people tend to stay in their present jobs.
If you’ve done that, go and have a coffee.
When you go on holiday, take plenty of sun cream. It’ll be very hot.
When I’m concentrating, please don’t make so much noise.
When I’ve finished an article, I always ask Kate to read it through.
Notice that ‘unless’ means the same as ‘if not’.
Unless he asks you politely, refuse to do any more work on the project.
Unless prices are rising, it’s not a good investment.
Unless you’ve been there yourself, you don’t really understand how fantastic it is.
This year we listen, sing and learn this Christmas carol:
You better not cry
Better not pout
I’m telling you why
Santa Claus is coming to town
He’s making a list
And checking it twice;
He’s gonna find out
Who’s naughty or nice
Santa Claus is coming to town
He sees you when you’re sleeping
He knows when you’re awake
He knows if you’ve been bad or good
So be good for goodness sake!
You better watch out!
You better not cry
You better not pout
I’m telling you why
Santa Claus is coming to town
Santa Claus is coming
Santa Claus is coming
Santa Claus is coming to town
To Be – Affirmative
|I||was||I was tired this morning.|
|You||were||You were very good.|
|He||was||He was the best in his class.|
|She||was||She was late for work.|
|It||was||It was a sunny day.|
|We||were||We were at home.|
|You||were||You were on holiday.|
|They||were||They were happy with their test results.|
To Be – Negative Sentences
The negative of To Be can be made by adding not after the verb (was or were).
|I||was not||I was not tired this morning.|
|You||were not||You were not crazy.|
|He||was not||He was not married.|
|She||was not||She was not famous.|
|It||was not||It was not hot yesterday.|
|We||were not||We were not invited.|
|You||were not||You were not at the party.|
|They||were not||They were not friends.|
To Be – Negative Contractions
The can make negative contractions of the verb To Be in the Past tense by joining the verb (was or were) and n’t(e.g. were not = weren’t). We don’t make a contraction of the subject and the verb (e.g. I was).
|I was not tired this morning.||OR||I wasn’t tired this morning.|
|You were not crazy.||OR||You weren’t crazy.|
|He was not married.||OR||He wasn’t married.|
|She was not famous.||OR||She wasn’t famous.|
|It was not hot yesterday.||OR||It wasn’t hot yesterday.|
|We were not invited.||OR||We weren’t invited.|
|You were not at the party.||OR||You weren’t at the party.|
|They were not friends.||OR||They weren’t friends.|
To Be – Questions
To create questions with To Be, you put the Verb before the Subject.
|I was late||Was I late?|
|You were sick.||Were you sick?|
|He was surprised.||Was he surprised?|
|She was from Italy.||Was she from Italy?|
|It was a big house.||Was it a big house?|
|We were ready.||Were we ready?|
|You were early.||Were you early?|
|They were busy.||Were they busy?|
Before the verb you can also have a WH- Question word (Why, Who, What, Where etc.)
Were you happy? Yes, I was.
Why were you happy? Because I was promoted at work.
To Be – Short Answers
In spoken English, we usually give short answers in response to questions.
Was he from Japan? – Yes, he was (from Japan). The last part (from Japan) is not necessary. We use shorts answers to avoid repetition, when the meaning is clear.
|Question||Short Answers**||Short Answers|
|Was I late?||Yes, you were.||No, you weren’t.|
|Were you sick?||Yes, I was.||No, I wasn’t.|
|Was he surprised?||Yes, he was.||No, he wasn’t.|
|Was she from Italy?||Yes, she was.||No, she wasn’t.|
|Was it a big house?||Yes, it was.||No, it wasn’t.|
|Were we ready?||Yes, we were.||No, we weren’t.|
|Were you early?||Yes, we were.||No, we weren’t.|
|Were they busy?||Yes, they were.||No, they weren’t.|
** With To Be, We don’t use contractions in affirmative short answers.
TO BE in the Past Tense – Summary Chart
Play with this web:
List of Adjectives
The list of adjectives is something of wonder. Behold the modest adjective. It can leap tall buildings in a single bound. It makes the average citizen smarter and kinder. It keeps you in the cleanest car on the block. Such potent words should be used wisely. Read on and learn how to use your adjective powers for good.
An adjective’s job is to modify a noun or pronoun. They are always near the noun or pronoun they are describing. Be careful how you use adjectives such as interesting, beautiful, great, wonderful, or exciting. Many adjectives like these are overused and add little definition to a sentence. Instead, show your reader or listener what you are talking about by using verbs and nouns creatively. Sprinkle fewer well-chosen adjectives for interest.
Adjectives are often used to describe the degree of modification.
The adjective forms are positive, comparative, and superlative.
This tree is tall. (positive)
That tree is taller. (comparative)
The last tree in the row is the tallest. (superlative)
A handful of adjectives have irregular forms of positive, comparative, and superlative usage.
These include good/better/best, bad/worse/worst, little/less/least, much-many-some/more/most, far/further/furthest.
My lunch was good, hers was better, and yours was the best.
Proper adjectives are derived from proper nouns. They commonly describe something in terms of nationality, religious affiliation, or culture. Like proper nouns, proper adjectives have their first letter capitalized. Some examples of proper adjectives include:
The following lists are just a sampling of adjectives in the English language. They are categorized by the type of attribute they describe. Use your dictionary or thesaurus to add to each list or use the complete list below this one.
|Feelings (Bad) Adjectivesangry
|Feelings (Good) Adjectivesagreeable
UNIT 5:The blue planet.
Unit 4: FOOD