Exercise – Present Continuous Vs. Present Simple — Temporary Or Not Temporary

Present Continuous Vs. Present Simple — Temporary Or Not Temporary

  1. He often ____________________ (travel) by plane.

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    travels 

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    commentary

    There’s unlikely to be any good reason to think about the activity of the verb as temporary in any relevant context – the length of his career (if he travels for work, for example) or his life are too long to be considered relevant contexts.  

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  2. Where ____________________ (he/work)?

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    does he OR is he working

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    commentary

    If there is any reason to think about or talk about his work as something that might be temporary then we CAN (but don’t have to) use the continuous. If we don’t, then we should use the simple. 

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  3. Mom isn’t here. She ____________________ (take) the dog for a walk.

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    is taking

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    commentary

    This is a particular instance – one case, one example – of an activity, and these are always temporary. 

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  4. The bathroom is free. No one ____________________ (to use) it.

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    is using

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    commentary

    This is a negative case of a particular instance/case/example happening. Particular instances of verbs are always temporary. 

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  5. Karl ____________________ (to play) for a rugby team in the UK. His team ____________________ (to win) most of their matches.

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    plays / wins

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    commentary

    In the context, there is no good reason to think of the activity of either of these verbs as temporary. If there were such a context both verbs could be put in the continuous – as long as that was really meaning meant.

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  6. She usually ____________________ (to go out) on the weekend, but this weekend she ____________________ (to stay) in because it’s so cold.

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    goes out / is staying

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    commentary

    There’s no reason in the context to think of how she normally spends her weekend in a temporary way. If there were, we could use the continuous. And her staying in this weekend is a particular instance/case/example of her staying in, which logically, by definition is temporary and therefore needs the continuous.

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  7. Alex is a programmer – he ____________________ (to write) code for a game developer in Minsk. Right now, he ____________________ (to debug) the code from a scene in a game.

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    writes / is debugging

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    commentary

    There’s no reason in the context to think of the work Alex does in a temporary way. If there were, we could use the continuous. And him coding right now is a particular instance/case/example of him doing this, which logically, by definition is temporary and therefore needs the continuous.

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  8. Caroline ____________________ (to eat) right now. She ____________________(not/usually/ to take) her lunch at work, but she’s hungry and has an important deadline at the end of the day.

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    is eating / doesn’t usually take

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    commentary

    Caroline eating right now is a particular instance/case/example of her doing this, which logically, by definition is temporary and therefore needs the continuous. There’s no reason in the context, on the other hand, to think of the way that she takes her lunch as being temporary and we should therefore, put this verb in the simple.

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