Grammar in Real Life: Present Progressive Tense

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Many have written in asking about speaking and making grammar mistakes, so I’d like to combine the two in this simple article that invites you to use English in your daily routine. The rule is that you do this out loud and not in your head.

In this exercise, we will be using what is called the present progressive tense, which requires you to verbally express an activity that is in progress (is occurring, is happening) right now.

So the first thing you will do when you wake up tomorrow is narrate exactly what you are doing. This is what you will say. Make sure that as you say it, you do it:

I am getting up right now.
Now I am walking to the washroom.
I’m washing my face.
I’m lifting my toothbrush. 
I am squirting Colgate on my toothbrush.
Now I’m brushing my teeth.

Notice that you will only use the form am + ing which is the present progressive form.

Then please accomplish whatever business you set out to do in the washroom (and don’t make me describe it for you!). You may narrate the process using am + ing if you so wish, but if somebody yells from outside,

“Buat apa tu cakap sorang-sorang? Cepatlah sikit!”
(Hurry up, will you?!)

You are welcome to reply, “I am speaking in English out loud.”  (am + ing—see that? Great!)

Here are further suggestions of things you typically do in your house as you prepare for the day. Describe your actions as you are doing them in the present progressive form.

1.       Make breakfast, drink a cup of coffee, wash the dishes.
2.       Open the door, head to the car, open the car door, switch on the radio and drive the car.

What do you think you’ll achieve by the end of the morning? You will have used the present progressive form correctly by relating it to your daily routine. It’s all about incorporating English as a habit and relating it to yourself.

Now, what can you do if you get stuck? What if you have no idea how to describe a particular action? Make a mental note of it:

“Hmm, I don’t know how to say “tengok WhatsApp” in English. I’ll find out and use it tomorrow.” (Answer: “I’m checking my Whatsapp” or “I am reading my WhatsApp messages”.)

Try it out and see if it’s helpful!

If you like this article, please share it with your friends and relatives. If you’re a teacher, try this out with your pupils!

I am signing off now,
Madam Azimah

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Hi there!

We’re Azimah, Amnah and Aisya from Malaysia. We created My English Matters as an online platform to help people improve their English.

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