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I need some answers checked...

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I need some answers checked...

Unread postby Simon » Thu Sep 08, 2005 4:07 am

I don't know how you feel about checking my homework, but if I provide my own answers to my questions I hope you won't think I'm cheating. I just need to know if I'm on the right track, it has been a long time since I've picked up a grammar book!

The bold text is the test, the italics are mine (the first sentence is just a note for myself, I wouldn't use that information when explaining the differences to a student).

Here we go...

The following sentences look quite similar but have different meanings. How would you explain the differences in meaning (the concept) to a student who had limited knowledge of English?


a) He's always smoking.
He always smokes.


The former is 'present continuous' (a temporary situation), the latter is 'present simple' (a permanent situation). We use the first example if the man is smoking now. We use the second example if the man smokes all the time.


b) She lives in New York.
She's living in New York.


The former is 'present simple' (a permanent situation), the latter is 'present continuous' (a temporary situation). We would use the first example if she had lived in New York all the time. We would use the second example if New York was the city where she was living now.


c) The children were leaving when the bell rang.
The children had left when the bell rang.


The former is 'present perfect continuous', the latter is 'present perfect simple'. We use the first example to describe an action that has not yet been completed. We would use the second example to describe an action that has finished.


d) I saw John this morning.
I've seen John this morning.


The former is 'past simple' (not recent or new), the latter is 'present perfect' (new or recent happening). We would use the first example if we had seen John in the morning, but it was now the afternoon or evening of the same day. We would you use the second example if we had seen John in the morning and it was still the same morning.

I'd be very grateful of any help you can give me.
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Unread postby Itti » Thu Sep 08, 2005 2:03 pm

You have started to look at the difference in meaning, but (particularly at the beginning) you don't always make the difference between the two statements very clear. e.g. in part a) you say that you use the second example if the man smokes all the time - well, you would also use the first example for that. The difference is more what you said about the first statement, that he would be smoking right now for "he's always smoking". It also depends on whether the man is present - "he always smokes" would seem to imply that he is not present, but is being described, whereas "he's always smoking" implies that he is present and smoking as the statement is made.
Also, while you say that the present continuous is used for a temporary situation (I know that you wouldn't say this sentence to your student, btw - I'm just clarifying), in this example, because "always" is used, you can't really say that the situation is temporary.

Hopefully with this help, you can look at the differences in meaning for the other questions.
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Unread postby Simon » Thu Sep 08, 2005 7:51 pm

Thank you for the feedback. I need to sit back down again and have another go. It really is like learning a language all over again.
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Unread postby Itti » Sun Sep 11, 2005 9:12 am

Yeah, mainly because in England we don't learn the grammar of our own language. Most other countries (in mainland Europe anyway) do do this, but for some reason we don't study it.
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Re: I need some answers checked...

Unread postby GiddyGad » Mon Sep 12, 2005 1:30 pm

Simon wrote:
The following sentences look quite similar but have different meanings. How would you explain the differences in meaning (the concept) to a student who has limited knowledge of English?


a) He's always smoking.
He always smokes.


The former is 'present continuous' (a temporary situation), the latter is 'present simple' (a permanent situation). We use the first example if the man is smoking now. We use the second example if the man smokes all the time.


I'd say "He is always smoking" should mean "He never stops smoking". It's not a temporary situation. Moreover, it's not a permanent one either. It's more than permanent - annoyingly permanent.

Simon wrote:c) The children were leaving when the bell rang.
The children had left when the bell rang.


The former is 'present perfect continuous', the latter is 'present perfect simple'. We use the first example to describe an action that has not yet been completed. We would use the second example to describe an action that has finished.


The former is Past Continuous and shows that the process was going on when another action happened.
The latter is Past Perfect. It shows that the second action started when the first one was over. Both actions were in the past


Smiles,
GiddyGad
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Unread postby Simon » Wed Sep 14, 2005 9:54 am

Thanks for replying GiddyGad, your help with the children leaving the classroom was very helpful.

With regards to the man that always smokes, could I say that the second example is a general truth?
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Unread postby GiddyGad » Wed Sep 14, 2005 2:16 pm

Simon wrote:With regards to the man that always smokes, could I say that the second example is a general truth?


Truth? What if it's a lie? And you can't say if it's general either.

I'm used to the term "Indefinite". Grammar is a formal science. Its terminology seldom has to do with reality. Indefinite Aspect is when no Definite Aspect - Perfect or Continuous - is used.

Smiles,

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Unread postby levitan » Fri Mar 17, 2006 2:35 pm

yep, i agree with giggy..., "he's always smoking" is neither "a happening action" nor "a temporary one", it's like a complaint one makes about a man who always smokes. That's a special usage of "always" with continuous verb tense.
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Unread postby b3l » Sat May 13, 2006 2:51 pm

Does anyone know where I can find practice tests like the ones in this thread? I am a TESL student and I'm struggling with explaining the grammar. I really need some practice tests.
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Unread postby sapphire » Sun Jun 04, 2006 9:57 pm

In my opinion, "He is always smoking" means "He smokes all the time". It's not a situation that may be thought of as temporary, but it also doesn't mean that it's a permanent one.

About the differences in meaning with these two sentences: "The children were leaving when the bell rang." (Past Continous) and "The children had left when the bell rang." (Past Perfect), Giddygag had already explained it right... so I think there's no need to repeat them. Just a piece of advice, go on reviewing your grammar books (as I have been doing the same, too) and I guarantee you it's worthwhile!
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