Themes > Business communication >Common problems
Common problems

The present continuous

What's wrong?

Please correct the following sentences:

1. I am coming from Germany.
2. I am understanding the problem.

What's the rule?

Present actions/situations

We use the present continuous tense when we talk about something which is happening or in progress at the time of speaking (but not necessarily exactly at the time).

Example

"Is John here?"

"Yes, he's next door, checking the accounts."

Be careful! Here is a list of verbs not normally used in the continuous form:

want
need
prefer
like
love
hate
belong
see
hear
know
realise
recognise


suppose
believe
understand
forget
remember
seem


Future arrangements

The most common use of the present continuous tense is to talk about the future.

Example

"I'm flying to Rome next Tuesday."

The speaker/writer indicates that a future event has been arranged (in this case, the flight to Rome has been booked).


Test it out!

Present simple or Present Continuous?

Complete the sentences below using one of the verbs in the box in the correct form. You may use each verb once only.

enjoy
prefer
play
produce
work
seem
know
interview
wait
talk
finish


1. I always tennis on Fridays.
2. He his report. He will bring it into the office when it is complete.
3. "My parents phoned me this morning. They themselves in the Seychelles. Champagne every night! In fact, they don't want to leave."
4. We to entertain our guests in a local restaurant rather than the canteen. Although it is expensive, we can talk freely there.
5. I the answer to your problem. Get a new computer.
6. "Where is John?" "In his office for an important telephone call."
7. I can't make the meeting tomorrow. I the applicants for the sales manager's job.
8. My brother for Shink Inc. which makes bathroom fittings.
9. Who to Bill? Is it the new secretary?
10. The new contract fine to me. However, could you just check it through once more?
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