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62
votes
5answers
7k views

How do the tenses in English correspond temporally to one another?

Non-native speakers often get confused about what the tenses in English mean. With input from some of the folk here I've put together a diagram that I hope will provide some clarity on the matter. I ...
21
votes
1answer
1k views

“The ticket is printing” vs “…is being printed”

You're standing in front of a ticket vending machine and it says "The ticket is printing". Is that correct or should it be "The ticket is being printed"? EDIT: If both are correct, which one should ...
12
votes
7answers
3k views

“I'm lovin' it”

How normal-sounding is the slogan "I'm lovin' it" to native ears? I know it sounded quite odd to me when I first heard it — and it still sometimes does —, but I can't even tell why. Sure, love is ...
10
votes
2answers
6k views

“The train will leave” vs. “is going to leave” vs. “leaves” vs. “is leaving”

From the grammatical point of view all are correct, just the meaning are different, please bring your clarification, thank you. The Train will leave at 10:00 tomorrow morning. The Train is ...
9
votes
1answer
740 views

“You were already having been going to do that!”

From one of the Futurama episodes: Farnsworth A: You people and your slight differences disgust me. I'm going home. Where's that blue box with our universe in it? Farnsworth 1: Oh, ...
7
votes
3answers
455 views

Is it really wrong to say “I'm hearing”?

Many grammar books claim that ‘see’, ‘hear’, ‘taste’, ‘smell’, ‘feel’ are verbs that aren’t used in continuous forms, and yet, we do hear and see it quite often used by native speakers. For instance, ...
6
votes
5answers
1k views

Present perfect continuous and “for”

Why aren't you allowed to say "I have been knowing her for ten years" or "It has been broadcasting for many years"? But you are allowed to say "I have been waiting for an hour".
6
votes
4answers
8k views

“Will be doing” vs. “will do”

What's the difference between: I will be eating cakes tomorrow. I will eat cakes tomorrow. And, when should I use the first form?
6
votes
3answers
1k views

Make “will have been going to go” correct

Is there a situation or question where the phrase will have been going to go is the best, most natural, or clearest response (or included in said response)? I'm asking this probably somewhat silly ...
6
votes
3answers
713 views

Present simple on temporary action

Mary is sleeping in the living room while we redecorate her room. Why is the present simple "redecorate" used? Present simple is used when there's something permanent, but they don't want to ...
6
votes
7answers
14k views

“have been working” vs. “have worked”

What is the difference between the following two sentences? I have been working here for 20 years. I have worked here for 20 years. The present perfect tense is used for repetitive or ...
5
votes
6answers
81k views

What's the difference between “I look forward to” and “I'm looking forward to”?

I just don't get the reasoning behind which one is correct in which situation. Typically I use the wrong one, or I use them when I'm not supposed to.
5
votes
2answers
181 views

Why is the progressive form used here?

In February 1825 he married Julianne Thiemer, daughter of a property owner and well-established glove-maker in Seesen. Heinrich, a cabinet maker without property, a Beiwohner(boarder), was marrying ...
5
votes
3answers
876 views

Use of past and progressive tense

Can someone tell me which, if any, of the following sentences are correct: When she walked in, he was laying on the bed. When she walked in, he was laid on the bed. When she walked in, he ...
5
votes
2answers
168 views

Manipulativeness of the progressive aspect in “to be wondering if”

I am around a group of people who, for whatever reason, have developed the habit of talking odd tenses. I'm no English or grammar expert but here is what I mean. Instead of saying "Can I borrow your ...
4
votes
3answers
644 views

Future Perfect with the preposition 'since'

I have a question regarding the future perfect tense and which prepositions go with it. Understandably, by, for, and in work very well with the future perfect. By friday, I will have been working ...
4
votes
3answers
409 views

*Joking* used in continuous form

"I'm only joking" and "She wasn't joking". Why is the verb to joke used in the present continuous, instead of the present simple tense? Is it because it's a dynamic verb?
4
votes
3answers
96k views

“Thank you all” — wrong or right?

On many occasions after we complete a speech, we often consider thanking our audience. In this scenario, I am not sure if "Thank you all" is the right English. Should it be "Thanking you all" instead ...
4
votes
2answers
733 views

Simple present vs. present continuous

What is the difference between saying: Are you still working there? Do you still work there? Which is more common in spoken vs written English? Google books returned results for both of ...
4
votes
2answers
683 views

“I have been keeping ignoring you.”

Does this make any sense? I have been keeping ignoring you. Besides that it sounds awkward, my Chinese buddy who knows more grammar rules than I care to list said that the phrase is ...
4
votes
1answer
49 views

“I'll keep you company while you wait” or “I'll keep you company while you're waiting”

I know that while, like after, before, when, as soon as introduce time clauses, which require the present simple: I'll keep you company while you wait. But so many of the students have used the ...
4
votes
2answers
1k views

Achievement Verbs with the Progressive Aspect

I was reading a grammar and saw this. Achievement verbs describe actions that occur instantaeously. He solved the problem. He spotted the airplane. These verbs fall into two classes - one is ...
3
votes
5answers
348 views

Is “be wearing” improper English?

If I were to say, Can't I just be wearing my swim suit already? Would "be wearing" be improper English?
3
votes
4answers
408 views

Future perfect progressive

When is the future perfect progressive used? I am trying to understand in which cases it should be used, but I cannot find any practice examples of sentences using that tense. I will have been ...
3
votes
3answers
2k views

The times are a-changing? Why a-? [duplicate]

I'm Italian so I don't know English very well. While listening to Bob Dylan songs I've heard some strange use of progressive tense (is that the correct term?), the title of this question is one ...
3
votes
3answers
4k views

Present Progressive or Present Continuous?

What is the correct term used to describe this tense in English — Present Progressive or Present Continuous? I see both terms used in grammar books.
3
votes
2answers
971 views

“I am starting learning xyz”

Is this sentence correct? I am starting learning xyz.
3
votes
4answers
5k views

“By clicking submit you agree…” or “By clicking submit you are agreeing…”

By clicking submit you agree to the Terms and Conditions. By clicking submit you are agreeing to the Terms and Conditions. Which is correct? Why?
3
votes
1answer
319 views

Present simple or present continuous?

Here is an exercise from Intermediate Language Practice by Michael Vince: Complete the following sentence with a present simple or present continuous form of the words in bold. Pat has ...
3
votes
2answers
178 views

Importance and relevance (and accuracy) of the distinctions of the two forms of the future simple tense [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What are the guidelines for usage of “will” and “is/are going to”? I am an ESL teacher in Thailand at a business college. I have been plagued ...
3
votes
3answers
162 views

“Be able to,” “can” in reduced relative pronouns

I am trying to remember whether the sentences below are correct: I don't know this guy being able to complete this task. I don't know this guy can complete this task. I think the first one is ...
2
votes
3answers
10k views

“I had a dinner” vs. “I was having a dinner”

A friend of mine showed a video on her Facebook wall post. She posted this: I had a dinner with Chinese friends, I was happy at that moment!! Should it be "I was having a dinner" instead of "I ...
2
votes
5answers
16k views

“Will graduate” vs. “will be graduated” vs. “is going to graduate”

Which of the following sentences are correct? He will graduate in May. He will be graduated in May. He is going to graduate in May. Issue 1: Is the second one grammatical? Issue 2: ...
2
votes
3answers
648 views

Past continuous or past simple?

In this sentence, should I use past continuous form of the verb or past simple or it in the gap? Last night, I was sleeping in my bed, when I ------- (hear) a terrible noise. I ------ (get up) ...
2
votes
3answers
517 views

Is the “is being employed” bit in this sentence grammatical?

Mr. Peter is being employed at our company as "Marketing Supervisor" as of 01.01.2010 till date with a monthly salary of 0000.0000
2
votes
3answers
7k views

“How long have you [had/been having] this?” - Cont. or Simple?

I'm studying Present Perfect tenses at the moment and have been wondering what tense should I use in this example: How long have you [had/been having] this thing? So I know that in some cases ...
2
votes
1answer
473 views

Passive auxiliary verb or progressive one?

Uncle Vernon made another funny noise, like a mouse being trodden on.                —Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone Is ‘being’ a passive auxiliary verb or a progressive one?
2
votes
2answers
1k views

Is this correct: “Water will be being drunk by Michael”?

I started with "Michael is drinking water", which I could convert to "Water is being drunk by Michael", which I could change to the past tense as "Water was being drunk by Michael". That leads me to ...
2
votes
4answers
252 views

Correct tense to express one's holding a professorship from 2007 to June 2012

When editing for a valedictory occasion, I came across this: "Prof. Li holds the XXX Professorship from 2007 to 2012." It is the tense of "holds" that baffles me. If the sentence was one of the ...
2
votes
1answer
71 views

I see and I hear

Traditional English prescriptive grammar teaches that these two verbs, to see and to hear, when describing their sensory nature, should never be used in the progressive aspect of tenses. Thus I ...
2
votes
2answers
202 views

Which tense should I use in this situation? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Using the gerund two times in a row Here is the sentence: Just as on smoking, voices now come from many quarters (insisting or insist) that the science about ...
2
votes
1answer
294 views

Is it okay to use Past Simple with Past Progressive for two consecutive actions?

Is it okay to use Past Simple with Past Progressive for two consecutive actions? For example, "She added some water to the flour and was mixing it until she got a lump of dough" or should it be ...
2
votes
3answers
2k views

Would have done

Please read the following passage. I will post my question at the end of it. Here is the passage: At home I locked myself in. Jason, my lawyer and lyn sent texts simultaneously at the point the ...
2
votes
2answers
909 views

“He was telling me that he is going…” vs. “He told me that he is going…”

Is it right to say He was telling me that he will go on a vacation next week. while recounting your experience? Even though "he told me that he is going..." seems more appropriate, I would still ...
2
votes
2answers
3k views

“It's taking me forever” vs “It has been taking me forever”

If you are writing a long report, which one sounds more natural: "Oh, this report is so long, it's taking me forever" or "Oh, this report is so long, it has been taking me forever"?
2
votes
3answers
380 views

Answering past simple question with past continuous

For example, — What did you do yesterday? — I was working. I presume this is not grammatically correct; however, I often reply in this way (I'm English). Also vice versa: "What were you doing ...
2
votes
1answer
1k views

Present perfect and present perfect continuous for actions in progress

My grammar book says that both present perfect and present perfect continuous, when used with "for, since, etc", express a situation that began in the past and continues to the present. When used ...
2
votes
3answers
3k views

“will you be going home” vs. “will you go home”

What's the difference between saying; Will you be going home this summer? Will you go home this summer? Are there any differences between these in written or spoken English?
2
votes
1answer
130 views

“Is someone covering/going to cover this event?”

Which one of the following is better or more correct? Is someone covering this event? Is someone going to cover this event?
1
vote
2answers
1k views

I am going to go?

My English teacher told me that "going to go" doesn't exist in English but I saw it many times. For example "The whole band is going to go to show their support". I'd like to know if it's possible to ...