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simple present Options
Tara2
Posted: Tuesday, April 10, 2018 4:56:46 AM

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Hi
Does the simple present in the sentence below indicate the action (playing) take place repeatedly?
"Milan play Inter this weekend"
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Tuesday, April 10, 2018 5:23:26 AM

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No - it is a future form. It has a relatively specific point in time.
It shows something which is definitely (well, almost certainly) going to happen.
It has been planned and everyone who is involved agrees.

I go to work every day - repeated.
I go to work at 7am tomorrow. - future plan.

Wyrd bið ful aræd - bull!
Erw_BFTS
Posted: Tuesday, April 10, 2018 5:33:13 AM

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No, in your example you should use the progressive: Milan is playing against Inter this weekend.
If they are playing against each other repeatly, you should say "Milan plays against Inter every Sunday/every month/2 times in a football season, ...
Tara2
Posted: Tuesday, April 10, 2018 5:41:08 AM

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Drag0nspeaker wrote:
No - it is a future form. It has a relatively specific point in time.
It shows something which is definitely (well, almost certainly) going to happen.
It has been planned and everyone who is involved agrees.

I go to work every day - repeated.
I go to work at 7am tomorrow. - future plan.

Thank you so much Drago
If it's for future why don't you say "will play"? What is the difference between "will play" and "play" in that sentence, please?
Tara2
Posted: Tuesday, April 10, 2018 5:42:02 AM

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Erw_BFTS wrote:
No, in your example you should use the progressive: Milan is playing against Inter this weekend.
If they are playing against each other repeatly, you should say "Milan plays against Inter every Sunday/every month/2 times in a football season, ...

If we say "Milan play Inter" it also shows they play repeatedly?
thar
Posted: Tuesday, April 10, 2018 5:51:23 AM

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You could say 'will play' - but look at the source and the reason for the communication.

This is sports reporting.
They want it to be simple, and they want it to sound immediate.

That is just how the present tense is used. If you look at uses of 'will' it is rarely used. You talk about the future using the present simple or the present continuous, or using 'going to', but very rarely 'will'. That often has a specific meaning of intent, determination.



The simple present can mean repeated actions - but that makes no sense here.
It depends on the context.


Inter play at the San Siro stadium
- general truth

Inter play every Saturday
- habitual, repeated action

Inter play Roma this weekend
- future event, fact


The context tells you the meaning.


The only thing it doesn't describe is the simple present, except in football commentaries reported 'as it happens'. (Which is in fact reporting what just happened, but that wouldn't sound as exciting.)

Tara2
Posted: Tuesday, April 10, 2018 6:13:15 AM

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thar wrote:
You could say 'will play' - but look at the source and the reason for the communication.

This is sports reporting.
They want it to be simple, and they want it to sound immediate.

That is just how the present tense is used. If you look at uses of 'will' it is rarely used. You talk about the future using the present simple or the present continuous, or using 'going to', but very rarely 'will'. That often has a specific meaning of intent, determination.



The simple present can mean repeated actions - but that makes no sense here.
It depends on the context.


Inter play at the San Siro stadium
- general truth

Inter play every Saturday
- habitual, repeated action

Inter play Roma this weekend
- future event, fact


The context tells you the meaning.


The only thing it doesn't describe is the simple present, except in football commentaries reported 'as it happens'. (Which is in fact reporting what just happened, but that wouldn't sound as exciting.)


Thank you that so much
In the sentence below, does "present simple" state a fact or is used for an action that is repeatedly done?
The sun sets, the birds become silent and the world is dark - it was then he realised he was lost.
Untergang
Posted: Tuesday, April 10, 2018 8:15:07 AM
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"The sun sets, the birds become silent and the world is dark - it was then he realised he was lost."

it was then he realised he was lost. - It was this moment when he realised he was lost. He only realizes it once, not every day or hour.

A repeated action occurs more than once, for example every day, every week.

When something occurs only once it is not a repeated action.

True, the sun sets every day, but your sentence describe the moment when someone realizes that he is lost. It is not about the sun.
thar
Posted: Tuesday, April 10, 2018 8:55:33 AM

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This is another example of a use of the simple present - the historic present. It is telling a story, about what happened, but like you are giving a football commentary as it happens. It makes it more exciting, as if it is happening now. Although sometimes you show you know what will happen next.

Eg
In 1914 Archduke Ferdinand is assassinated, and the descent into war begins.

That happened a long time ago, but if you want to engage the listener in the story, you tell it as if it is happening now.


It is different from how you would describe events that are actually happening now - that would be the present continuous.
X has been assassinated and Y is descending into war.
That is what is happening right now.


But it is an odd use of present and past together. Normally it is consistent. Historic present or past.Mixing them doesn't feel like good writing, although it is hard to tell in a short extract.
Tara2
Posted: Tuesday, April 10, 2018 10:33:56 AM

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Thank you both so much
thar wrote:
This is another example of a use of the simple present - the historic present. It is telling a story, about what happened, but like you are giving a football commentary as it happens. It makes it more exciting, as if it is happening now. Although sometimes you show you know what will happen next.

Eg
In 1914 Archduke Ferdinand is assassinated, and the descent into war begins.

That happened a long time ago, but if you want to engage the listener in the story, you tell it as if it is happening now.


It is different from how you would describe events that are actually happening now - that would be the present continuous.
X has been assassinated and Y is descending into war.
That is what is happening right now.


But it is an odd use of present and past together. Normally it is consistent. Historic present or past.Mixing them doesn't feel like good writing, although it is hard to tell in a short extract.


I can't understand when "the simple form" express one instance of an action and when express an habitual action. Can you please explain the difference between "one instance of an action" and "an habitual action"?
NKM
Posted: Tuesday, April 10, 2018 11:39:50 AM

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Tara2 wrote:

I can't understand when "the simple form" express one instance of an action and when express an habitual action. Can you please explain the difference between "one instance of an action" and "an habitual action"?

══════════════════════════════════════════════

Simply put, "one instance" means that it happens once; "habitual action" means that it happens repeatedly or habitually.



Incidentally, I note that Tara2 says "Milan play Inter this weekend" — using a plural verb (British style) — whereas Erw_BFTS writes "Milan is playing …" and "Milan plays …" in the American style, treating the team (Milan) as a singular noun.

Tara2
Posted: Tuesday, April 10, 2018 12:28:19 PM

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NKM wrote:
Tara2 wrote:

I can't understand when "the simple form" express one instance of an action and when express an habitual action. Can you please explain the difference between "one instance of an action" and "an habitual action"?

══════════════════════════════════════════════

Simply put, "one instance" means that it happens once; "habitual action" means that it happens repeatedly or habitually.



Incidentally, I note that Tara2 says "Milan play Inter this weekend" — using a plural verb (British style) — whereas Erw_BFTS writes "Milan is playing …" and "Milan plays …" in the American style, treating the team (Milan) as a singular noun.


I know the definition, but I can't understand the difference in sentences.
Can I say "I eat an apple" that that means "one instance" or "it happens once"?
BobShilling
Posted: Thursday, April 12, 2018 1:34:09 AM
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Tara2 wrote:

I know the definition, but I can't understand the difference in sentences.
Can I say "I eat an apple" that that means "one instance" or "it happens once"?
[/quote]


Only with the idea of the 'historic present' mentioned by that. I would call it the 'dramatic' present in this sort of situaion:

The alarm rings I jump out of bed and think about breakfast. I eat an apple. The phone rings.


For actions of very brief duration, we can use the simle present for single instances:

Henderson dashes forward, tackles Brown, gets the ball, passes it across to Jones, who sees the gap, kicks, and ... it's a goal.
thar
Posted: Thursday, April 12, 2018 3:17:12 AM

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TThge term 'simp!e present' is misleading.

It does not describe the present time for action verbs.


If someone phones you and you can't talk you say, "I am eating an apple."
That is the progressive, what is happening now.

You would only say "I eat an apple" if it is a habit
I eat an apple every day

Or

You are telling g a story, as in Bob's post. Or giving a commentary (also telling a story, but events that you have just seen).

It is a dynamic verb - an action. A comp!ete action. So you do not use the present simple to describe the present, in the middle of that action.

I am eating an apple - I am in the middle of that action, it is progressing and not finished.

I eat an apple - the complete action.
I do it every day.
Or
I did it, and in the story I tell, the action is completed.


But if the apple is in my hand right now, I don't say "I eat an apple" because it is not completed. Instead, I am eating an apple.



Tara2
Posted: Thursday, April 12, 2018 8:52:11 AM

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Thank you both so much.
You use both "present simple" for actions happening now. for example you say "what do you do" instead of "what are you doing", right?
thar
Posted: Thursday, April 12, 2018 9:03:19 AM

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No. Or at least, not if you mean 'now' this moment.
The simple present does not apply to 'now'!


What do you do?
Asks for a habit. What do you do every day? What is your job?

What do you do?
I work in environmental science.

What are you doing?
Asks about this moment.

What are you doing?
I am sitting and typing on my tablet.


Of course 'now' depends on context. The bubble around 'this moment' in the timeline diagram can grow bigger or smaller depending on context.

Eg
What do you do?
I work in environmental science.

What are you doing now?
I am working on water quality and wildlife monitoring.

That is in the larger 'now'. Around the 'now' when I am sitting and typing this answer on my tablet.
But the useful answer depends on context.


But the present simple is timeless - used for state, habit, commentary or truth.
But not for 'now'.
Tara2
Posted: Thursday, April 12, 2018 9:26:02 AM

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Shouldn't you say "I sit" because the action doesn't have any duration?
"Present simple" for "an instance of an action" is like "present continuous", no?
thar
Posted: Thursday, April 12, 2018 10:41:59 AM

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No, it has duration. I sat down. At some point. I will get up. But right now I am sitting. That is a progressive action.
Discard the idea that the simple present has anything to do with an action that is happening right now.

Tara2
Posted: Thursday, April 12, 2018 3:39:36 PM

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thar wrote:
No, it has duration. I sat down. At some point. I will get up. But right now I am sitting. That is a progressive action.
Discard the idea that the simple present has anything to do with an action that is happening right now.



Thank you so much :)
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Friday, April 13, 2018 10:11:26 PM

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Hi Tara.
I answered very briefly at the start of the thread and have not been back since.
I meant to expand a little.
Similar to what thar said about "forget about the 'simple present' being about an action happening now" - I was going to say something even more radical.

My explanation - feel free to disagree. It is more or less the way I learned at school. A 'tense' is simply a time of action or existence.

Tense
noun
1. a category of verbs or verbal inflection serving chiefly to specify the time of the action or state expressed by the verb.

Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary
(The Collins English dictionary definition is similar, but uses bigger words.)

The things which are often called 'tenses' in grammar are really forms. A sentence has a tense - it happened in the past, it is happening NOW, or it will happen in the future.

The various forms and combinations of verbs react with the rest of the sentence to show several things: tense (past, present, future); duration (how long in time); repetition or not; completion (or not; and so on.

Any verb-form can imply different times - depending on the rest of the sentence.

The simple form (which is often called 'simple present') has, really, NO TIME.

"I go to church", just on its own, means "I regularly went to church several times and I expect to go to church regularly in the future. I consider that going to church is something I used to do, I do now and I will do." There really is no 'tempus' (the Latin word for time, the origin on the word 'tense') in it.
"I go to church on Sundays" is very similar, but more specific.
"I go to church on Sunday" is a future form - it is what is planned, agreed upon and definitely expected to happen.
"Looking back at last Christmas, I can't believe how different I was.
I get up, I go to church, I sing hymns . . ." this is a past form.

It is the same with "I am ____ing" - depending on the sentence, it shows past, present or future time.

"Have ____ed" can show a single event in the recent past (I've fixed the car), or a repeated action over years (I've studied French), or a single action in the distant past (I have eaten an egg, but vowed never to have one again), or several other things - but generally in the past.


Wyrd bið ful aræd - bull!
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