Discovery Activity 5: Simple Present, Not Present Progressive
Read the following excerpts.
Underline the verbs in the excerpts.
Explain why the simple present tense is used in these two excerpts.
Forexample, in Excerpt A, we see the present tense used with now, even
though now is generally associated with the present progressive. Why is this
You now face a new world, a world of change. The thrust into outer space of the
satellite spheres and missiles marks a beginning of another epoch in the long story of
mankind… We deal now, not with things of this world alone, but with the… unfathomed
mysteries of the universe. [MacArthur, D. (1962, May 12). General Douglas MacArthur
reminds West Point cadets of duty, honor, Country. In W. Safire (Ed.). Lend me your
ears: Great speeches in history (rev. ed., p. 72). New York: Norton.] B.
I run into Jane on the street. We speak of a woman we both know whose voice is
routinely suicidal. Jane tells me the woman called her the other day at seven a.m.
[Gornick, V. (1996). Approaching eye level. In P. Lopate (Ed.), Writing New York:
A literary anthology (p. 137). New York: The Library of America.]
Can we use all verbs in the present progressive?
Verbs not Used in Present Progressive
Some verbs are not usually used in the present progressive. These are usually non-action verbs, also called stative
verbs (think “state” as in “state of mind”) because they describe:
• emotions • existence
These verbs are used in the present tense, even when describing something taking place now. The following chart
lists some of the more common stative verbs.
Common Stative Verbs
Are stative verbs difficult for ESL/EFL learners?