Two secret words to get the present RIGHT (finally).

Check out today’s Teatime Titbit: Two secret words to get the present RIGHT (finally).

‘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 7a.m. every morning.” (often with ‘how often’ = Key words: ‘every’, ‘once’, ‘twice’, ‘three times’)

‘Temporary’ is for something happening over a short period of 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 period of 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 7a.m. every morning.”

Correct: “I get up at 6 a.m. and drive to work at 7a.m. every morning.” (see above)

Unfortunately, there are some other rules to watch out for but they can be for another post. Hope it helps.

habits (Gewohnheiten), to overuse (übernutzen)

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