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65 votes
Accepted

Great Expectations [is written vs has been written] by Charles Dickens

Actually, depending on context, all three answers are potentially valid. So this is another of those "Guess which answer the teacher is thinking is correct" questions rather than a "Guess the answer ...
Andrew's user avatar
  • 88.3k
64 votes

Great Expectations [is written vs has been written] by Charles Dickens

The one answer you've discarded is the correct answer. The book was written many years ago - in 1861, to be precise. Perhaps the question expects you to know this information but it's definitely a ...
Catija's user avatar
  • 25.4k
47 votes
Accepted

Using present simple when talking about a past event in spoken English

It is a kind of historic present, and one which is fairly common in conversation when referring to what another person has said. I was talking to my dad, and he says that you are looking for a ...
James K's user avatar
  • 223k
38 votes

Difference between continuous and simple

Watch out. The answer is going to be far more complicated than you ever expected, but once you understand it, you will understand something very important about English grammar. This year Both ...
Ben Kovitz's user avatar
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38 votes

"We don't install..." or "We didn't install..."?

I wouldn't even use the verb "install": We don't have Wi-Fi in our home.
chepner's user avatar
  • 1,127
33 votes
Accepted

"We don't install..." or "We didn't install..."?

I (British English speaker) would always use the "present perfect": We haven't installed. I believe many AmE speakers could say We didn't install (but I'm not an expert). If you want to ...
Colin Fine's user avatar
  • 75.8k
31 votes
Accepted

Is it incorrect to say I'm 20 years old next month?

You certainly can use the present tense (I am, he is, we are, etc) about a scheduled event, and many people do so when discussing a forthcoming birthday. I am sixty tomorrow, I am fifty in March, I am ...
Michael Harvey's user avatar
20 votes
Accepted

"Where you going" is right?

In colloquial US English the unstressed are in wh- questions is usually at least elided to 're (syllabic /ɹ/) and often dropped completely. Did is similarly reduced to 'd, which assimilates with the ...
StoneyB on hiatus's user avatar
20 votes
Accepted

Is the present continuous idiomatic in "I'm liking to take it easy on the weekend"?

If you just started relaxing on your weekends and are enjoying it, you might say, "I'm liking taking it easy on the weekends". The only context in which you'd use this form is one where you'...
Nuclear Hoagie's user avatar
19 votes

Is it correct to use "since" with the verb hate or like?

I hate math since I was in primary school! means that being in primary school caused you to hate math. It is the same as saying, "I hate math because I was in primary school." To say that ...
Readin's user avatar
  • 1,250
18 votes

Great Expectations [is written vs has been written] by Charles Dickens

Choice A - "is written" - implies that this is continuing or recurrent activity. "Examinations are written in room 408", e.g. - this happens periodically. Some people might use this in the example ...
Jim MacKenzie's user avatar
18 votes

Is it incorrect to say I'm 20 years old next month?

Want to add to the accepted answer: using the present tense to speak about future events is common, but to my intuitive understanding as a native US speaker is incorrect... except that it's understood ...
neph's user avatar
  • 360
18 votes

Why do native speakers sometimes use present continuous when it seems like it should be present simple?

The only one that sounds unidiomatic to me is "you're just having the right plan". That sounds more like how a speaker of Indian English would use the present continuous. But we would say &...
TimR on some device's user avatar
17 votes
Accepted

What is the difference between "I am going home" and "I go home"?

Good question! While they seem like they ought to mean similar things, the present continuous and present simple tend to be used in different situations. The present continuous is used for the ...
Katy's user avatar
  • 11k
17 votes
Accepted

When I tell a story in the past, shouldn't I use past tense when the verbs are describing states?

Your version is correct. Whatever site you used to "correct" the sentence is incorrect... changing the tense in this way creates a tense mismatch, and is simply wrong in English. ...
Richard Winters's user avatar
16 votes
Accepted

What is the difference in meaning between "I think" and "I am thinking" in the sense of having an opinion?

Verbs of inner state, unlike most verbs, do not normally take the progressive in English. So I think (I feel, I believe) are the ordinary unmarked forms. When they are used with the progressive, ...
Colin Fine's user avatar
  • 75.8k
16 votes
Accepted

"You can sleep while I drive" vs. "you can sleep while I am driving"

It'll take us four hours to get to the coast, so you can sleep while I drive. Here, while can (but does not necessarily have to) mean whereas. If said alone without more context, I would interpret ...
xngtng's user avatar
  • 663
16 votes
Accepted

What grammar should I use to talk about an action I've been doing for a long time and will definitely keep doing?

Present continuous always carries the feeling of being temporary, and usually for a short time only. Present continuous is also commonly used with a few verbs that may take a very long time, like &...
gotube's user avatar
  • 50.9k
15 votes

"You can sleep while I drive" vs. "you can sleep while I am driving"

As has been pointed out, in some contexts, while can mean whereas / on the other hand / contrariwise. But no native speaker would interpret OP's cited example like that without a couple more words to ...
FumbleFingers's user avatar
14 votes

Great Expectations [is written vs has been written] by Charles Dickens

The present perfect in English (and in some other languages) is strange for a number of reasons. One of these is very famous. It is called the lifetime effect. All this means is that we don't normally ...
Araucaria - Not here any more.'s user avatar
14 votes
Accepted

Is 'I forget how to do something' correct?

I would say #1 or #2 is fine: I forget how to do algebra: Puts the act of forgetting in the present. Maybe you do generally know it, but you can't remember right now, so you can't help. I've ...
anotherdave's user avatar
  • 1,041
14 votes
Accepted

Combining present with past

"Now" can mean "then". Chambers confirms this ... "now: 5. (in narrative) then". This is partly being used as a literary device to draw the reader into that moment. I ...
timchessish's user avatar
  • 1,881
13 votes

Is it correct to use "since" with the verb hate or like?

A native speaker isn't likely to say either of those - you'd expect to see either I've hated math since primary school! or I've hated math ever since I was in primary school! or even I've hated ...
Chris Cooper's user avatar
13 votes
Accepted

Why do native speakers sometimes use present continuous when it seems like it should be present simple?

As the Original Poster expected some of these are indeed mistakes. For example: It's really important to make sure that you're just having the right plan. We don't use the present continuous with ...
Araucaria - Not here any more.'s user avatar
12 votes
Accepted

Why did the writer use present simple instead of continuous

It helps to give the context surrounding the quote and a link to the text. After some googling, I found this script for The Importance of Being Earnest: JACK. Do you mean to say you have had my ...
Acccumulation's user avatar
12 votes

Is the present continuous idiomatic in "I'm liking to take it easy on the weekend"?

From what you describe, I think most of the answers are not really conveying what you seek. I'd suggest instead: "I've been enjoying taking it easy on the weekend." which (at least around ...
Glen_b's user avatar
  • 514
11 votes

Why is the present simple tense used for an event that is in the future?

Using the present tense for future events indicates certainty, consistency, and familiarity. In other words, use this to talk about events which will happen, which happen on a regular basis (or are ...
Andrew's user avatar
  • 88.3k
11 votes

Hate or hated? Can they be used interchangeably?

The past-tense form conveys, "My experience of watching this episode was a very negative experience." The present-tense form conveys, "My feelings (today) towards this episode are very ...
BobH's user avatar
  • 164
11 votes
Accepted

Use of simple present and present continuous in subtitles for background sound

The effect is basically to distinguish a point in time from a span of time. A siren wails (once); an engine is revving (for some time). However, in practice, the real situations referred to can easily ...
Luke Sawczak's user avatar
11 votes

Combining present with past

The author is using now to mean something like “at the point in the story where you, dear reader, at this current moment find yourself.” The usage is a bit unusual, but not tremendously so.
Paul Tanenbaum's user avatar

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