The tenses are one of the biggest challenges when it comes to learning English. Never fear the 50 Day GYG will walk you through them, tense by tense, in a KISS practical way so that you can easily use the lessons learnt going forward. For the more advanced Titbitonians out there, I’ll do my best to sprinkle some (new) titbits in there for you too.
‘Permanent’ and ‘temporary’ are 2 words to keep in mind when talking in the ‘present’ in English.
‘Permanent’ is for facts, regular habits, and routines. We use the present simple.
Fact: “I live in Münster and work for (name of company).” (fact/doesn’t change)
Habit: “I (usually)* play football twice a week.” (*often with adjective of frequency ‘Always = 100% – never = 0%)
Routine: “I get up at 6 a.m. and drive to work at 7 a.m. every morning.” (often with ‘how often’ = Keywords: ‘every’, ‘once’, ‘twice’, ‘three times’)
‘Temporary’ is for something happening over a short time. We use the present continuous.
“I’m working on a project in Leipzig this week. Next week I will be back in Münster”(often using the word ‘this’ to get across the message of short time, which then changes again – also ‘today,’ ‘this morning,’ ‘this week,’ ‘this month,’ even ‘this year’)
“At present, I’m working on an important project.” (with ‘NOW’ words/phrases – ‘now’, ‘at the moment’, ‘at present’, ‘currently’)
“Look, a man is peeing in the bushes over there.” (Sorry for the example!!!) (often used after ‘look’ & ‘listen’ to talk about what is happening right now)
German speakers often overuse the present continuous by saying:
Incorrect: “I’m living in Münster and working for (name of company).”
Correct: “I live in Münster and work for (name of company).” (see above)
Incorrect: “I’m (usually) playing football twice a week.”
Correct: “I (usually) play football twice a week.” (see above)
Incorrect: “I’m getting up at 6 a.m. and driving to work at 7 a.m. every morning.”
Correct: “I get up at 6 a.m. and drive to work at 7 a.m. every morning.” (see above)
Make sense? I hope a few light bulbs went on. Test your understanding in tomorrow’s Tuesday Teaser!
Wouldn’t life be great if that was all? Well, I’m sorry it isn’t!!!! On Wednesday and Thursday, I’ll look into some other things to watch out for.
Tense (Zeitform), challenge (Herausforderung), when it comes to (wenn es um …. geht), never fear (keine Angst), KISS (Keep it short and simple), going forward (von jetzt an), to sprinkle (einstreuen), habits (Gewohnheiten), to overuse (übernutzen), light bulb (Glühbirne), to look into sth (in etw hineinschauen)
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To recommend (empfehlen), commission (Provision),