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Present progressive VS Simple present 
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Joined: Wed Apr 04, 2007 11:55 am
Posts: 32
Post Present progressive VS Simple present
I am having some trouble getting some students to understand the difference between present progressive and simple present. Many students start to mash these two tenses together. I will get sentences like "I going to the store." or "She is goes home."

I have tried focusing on each tense separately, and when we are focusing on one tense the kids can do each one fairly well. But, when they have sentences that require them to choose which tense to use, they get lost. I think some of them flip a coin to decide which tense to use.

Any ideas would be appreciated to help the kids uderstand these two better is really needed.

Sat Aug 14, 2010 11:06 am
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Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2006 10:46 am
Posts: 2130
Location: Nagano, Japan
It's quite common that, "on the fly", second language speakers make those mistakes. Actually, it's so common that they are thought to be an essential progress step towards fluency. I'd say that if they understand/know the difference, then let those performance misses slide for now. Look for self correction. If you aren't seeing self-correction at all or over time those misses aren't becoming fewer, then maybe hit the books again. Of course, it never hurts to review something that's a problem for the group.

For present tense, I explain that it's something that has nothing to do with the time line. Truly, it's that the information is true at the present,
"I am male. I have 2 sisters. I don't have a girlfriend."
see the present tense worksheet vs. present progressive worksheets

Present progressive is about actions that are happening right now. They are actions and they are concerned with time, now. You can get stative present progressive sentences ("he is being difficult.") but I'd leave that for later (and it clearly has to do with "now".)

I teach (explicitly with worksheets) present tense last.
pres. progressive --> past --> future --> present
For me that has been better .

I'd say that if they have trouble with the two, why not work on the two together. Maybe get them to tell a story like an event unfolding, like secret agents reporting on criminals. Or, you could have them act as commentators for a sporting event. Just emphasize describing certain things:
"He is going to the car. The car is blue. It's cool.
He is getting in the car. There is a woman in the car. She has dark sunglasses. I can't see her face.
She is giving him something. The package is big. It has brown paper on the outside ..."

Build up! Be positive! Teach hard!

Sat Aug 14, 2010 7:27 pm
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Joined: Thu Dec 10, 2009 2:02 pm
Posts: 29
Location: Canada
Perhaps one of the problems is they are using all verbs in continuous situations, so you get things like "he is having a brother"

Maybe reviewing the types of verbs that can be used in progressive tenses would help.


Wed Sep 01, 2010 12:08 pm
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