1

My teacher said the second sentences below is wrong, but it looks grammatically correct to me. Help!

  1. I’m spending this weekend near the coast. I go there nearly every weekend.
  2. I spend this weekend near the coast. I go there nearly every weekend.

Same for these two below, the second one is wrong.

  1. He usually has coffee for breakfast, but today he’s having tea.
  2. He usually has coffee for breakfast, but today he has tea.
6
  • 1
    It is technically correct, but nobody uses that tense in those cases. Commented Mar 6, 2023 at 14:21
  • @PlaceReporter99 No, it's grammatically incorrect to use the simple present there.
    – alphabet
    Commented Mar 6, 2023 at 17:10
  • He usually does this, but today he does that. Makes sense, in that every day except that day, he does this. Otherwise, he does that. @alphabet Commented Mar 6, 2023 at 17:29
  • 1
    @PlaceReporter99 That is only valid for some verbs and generally only applies to future events, not ongoing activities.
    – alphabet
    Commented Mar 6, 2023 at 18:51
  • @PlaceReporter99 - It would only work in a story being told in the present tense (which is not the usual way). Commented Mar 6, 2023 at 19:21

3 Answers 3

1

I spend this weekend near the coast. I go there nearly every weekend (NO)

This weekend is a specific point of time, in this case it refers to the future. The continuous tense is also used for future plans or arrangements. The sentence above does not have the same meaning as:

I spend weekends near the coast. ✅
I spend the weekend near the coast. ✅

This is why the first sentences are correct

  • I’m spending this weekend near the coast. ✅ (an arrangement)
  • He usually has coffee for breakfast, but today he’s having tea. ✅ (plan)

Only “today” is he going to drink tea. (a specific period)

1
  • 'He is having tea tomorrow' means that he has arranged to have tea tomorrow. 'He is going to have tea tomorrow' means that he has decided to have tea tomorrow. Commented Apr 18, 2023 at 7:46
0

You can use the simple present to describe future scheduled events:

I leave for the coast on Friday.

You can also use it to describe habitual or recurring events:

I go to the coast every weekend.

But you cannot use it to describe ongoing activities. For that you need the present continuous:

I am spending this weekend on the coast.

There is one exception: the "historic present" used informally, when telling stories. For example:

So, here's what happened last week. I go to the coast on Friday, and I spend the weekend there...

2
  • In both examples the present continuous can be used to express an event that has been planned. If today is Wednesday "this weekend" refers to a specific point in the future: "This weekend I am competing in a marathon." And "He usually drives to work but today he's going on foot" Does that mean he is walking at this very moment? Maybe. But it's more likely referring to an action that has been planned and is imminent.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Mar 8, 2023 at 6:04
  • @Mari-LouA You certainly can use either the present continuous or the simple present in those cases; my point is that in some circumstances only the former is acceptable.
    – alphabet
    Commented Mar 8, 2023 at 6:57
0

We can use the present continuous for the future.

I’m spending this weekend near the coast. (I have arranged to spend this weekend near the coast.)

Today he’s having tea. (Today he has arranged to have tea.)

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .