Present Progressive Tense – 10 Minute English Grammar

The sentence formation follows:

  Singular Number Plural Number
1st Person I am eating = I’m eating We are eating = We’re eating
2nd Person You are eating = You’re eating You are eating = You’re eating
3rd Person He is eating = He’s eating  
  She is eating = She’s eating They are eating = They’re eating
  It is eating = It’s eating  

Uses of The Present Progressive (Continuous) Tense:

  1. For an action happening at the time of speaking: She is weeping.   I am wearing a scarf as it will look good.    Why are you complaining me for the act which I did not do?
  2. For an action happening now, but not necessarily at the time of speaking: I am reading a novel in which the girl marries her bodyguard. (I may not be reading at the moment of speaking, but it means ‘now’ in a more general sense.)      My sister is learning French and teaching English. (She may not be doing either at the time of speaking)
  3. For a definite arrangement taking place in the near future (it refers to the immediate plans): Our company is opening up a new branch in Toronto next month.  My friends are coming tonight, and I am taking them to the theatre.
  4. With always, especially for obstinate habits – something which persists and annoys: My dog, Jericho is very silly; he is always jumping on the kitchen platform for human food.   I know you very well. You are always losing your keys.
  5. Certain involuntary actions are not usually used in the continuous tenses:
    1. Verbs of senses/perception: hear, notice, recognize, see, smell

However, there is certain deliberate use of senses, such as listen, gaze, look (at), observe (= watch), watch and stare and of course, we can use them in the progressive tense:

I am watching this place carefully, but don’t see anything unusual.

Rita is listening to the IELTS tape, but she has put on the headphones so nobody else hears it.

  • Verbs of emotions and feelings: admire (= respect), adore, appreciate (= value), care for, desire, detest, dislike, fear, feel, hate, hope, loathe, love, mind (= care), respect, prefer, refuse, value, want, wish

Some verbs can also be used in the progressive tense depending upon the context (deliberate actions). For example, admire means to look at with admiration, value means to decide the worth, appreciate means to increase in value over a period of time, enjoy and at times love/like means to enjoy, and hate means the opposite. Yet it is safer to use the simple tense with love, like and hate:

Do you like your new job? How are you liking your new job?

I hate touristy places, but I am enjoying this place for some unexplained reasons.

I love eating burgers, but I don’t know why I am not loving it today.

  • Verbs of appearing: seem, look, appear

It seems acceptable, so you are good to go.

She looks beautiful, but today she is looking stunningly a knockout girl.

  • Verbs of thinking: agree, appreciate (= understand), assume, believe, expect (= think), feel (= think), feel sure/certain, forget, know, mean, perceive, realize, recall, recognize, recollect, remember, see (= understand) see through someone (= penetrated his attempt to deceive) suppose, think (= have an opinion), trust (= believe/have confidence in), understand

I do not agree with you on this point. And I assume you have a long way to go yet.

I see through his devious plan and also feel certain that he won’t be successful in it.

  • Verbs of possession: possess, own, owe, belong

How much does she owe you?

Do you own this bungalow?

Did you know?

Some native speakers and singers do not pronounce ‘ing’ entirely, but they pronounce only ‘in’ and omit ‘g’. For example, “Quit playin games with me” instead of “Quit playing games with me.”

There is also a non-standard short form for am not, is not, are not, have not and has not. It is ain’t.  For example, “Quit playin games with me.”  ~ “No, I ain’t.”

Indian English

  1. I belong to Ahmedabad.

This expression reminds me of the past era. It is a kind of allegiance to any ruler. It looks as if you show your allegiance to a city. Yes, when somebody asks you where you are from. Better say the following way:

I come from Ahmedabad or I am from Ahmedabad.

  • She is doing her graduation in Cincinnati.

The moment I hear the word ‘graduation’, it reminds me of my graduation ceremony day, dressing up in a gown and cap to receive the degree certificate after studying a three-year undergraduate degree. But it is not the case in India. ‘Doing graduation’ refers to the full undergraduate or graduate degree. It does not say about the one special day for which students wait anxiously in life. ‘I did my graduation at the University of Toronto’ is the equivalent of saying ‘I studied for my degree at the University of Toronto’ – in the context of India.

  • I passed out of college last year.

As per the Oxford dictionary, the phrasal verb ‘to pass out’ means ‘to become unconscious’. Therefore, if I put this statement into a literal translation, it comes out like ‘I became unconscious at the college last year’. Do we mean this? I guess not. It should be, “I graduated last year”.

  • My sister is convent-educated.

So, the meaning of convent-educated in the context of India is somebody who has studied in a school where the medium of instruction was English. Parents proudly mention this expression on matrimonial ads/websites. There was a time when teaching in India was generally delivered by members of the clergy, but it is not the case anymore. The choice is yours whether you want to use this expression or not.

  • Please do the needful.

The ‘Grammarly Blog’ describes this expression in a cogent way. The writer or speaker here wants to say is ‘do that which is needed’ or ‘do what needs to be done’.

“If it sounds too chunky or vague to you, or if your audience will be unfamiliar with it, you can politely ask people to do what you need them to do instead”.

  • My father is out of station.

I don’t really understand the rationale behind this statement. There could be many stations in the town, such as the railway station, bus station, and other types of stations. Which station is referred to here? It can simply be said like this: My father is away or My father is not present in the place.

  • I preponed my tour.

There is no word such as prepone in the English language, but it has certainly been invented by Indians. Yes, it has been added to the dictionary because it has widely been used in India. Let’s put this word in the context: I am out of my station next week so I will prepone this job tomorrow.

The right way of speaking: I will do this job tomorrow as I am away next week.

  • He is a four-twenty.

420 is an Indian Penal Code (IPC) which states cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property. In a way, it attributes to the IPC for a cheat. Why complicate? Make it simple by saying: He is a thug.

  • My neighbor is foreign-returned.

All right, so this expression also stems from the family of convent-educated. People in India perceive valuable studying or living abroad and when somebody returns to India after living another country, they are called as foreign-returned. However, there is no such expression anywhere in the world but in India. It is an asset in the matrimonial adverts, too.

  1. My teacher is standing/sitting on my head.

It is a colloquial way of comparing. If your teacher is standing or sitting on your head, tell him to get down and make a complaint to the principal.

My teacher is stressing me out.

  1. He was doing this thing and that thing.

It is another colloquial way of comparing. He was doing all sorts of things, wasting my time.

  1. Do one thing.

It is a common expression while suggesting or ordering someone to do something, but it also brings some laughing. The right way of speaking is ‘There is one thing you could do’.

  1. Aakash is my cousin brother:

We never use a brother or a sister after the noun ‘cousin’. The word ‘cousin’ itself proves a relationship. Aakash is my cousin.

  1. According to me…

According to someone or anyone is all acceptable but not according to me. Grammatically some sentence structures cannot be challenged, but their finesse and usage will certainly be questionable. ‘According to me’ is one among them. There is no such expression. The right one is: To me or In my opinion or My viewpoint is…

  1. Myself is Ronak.

This one is the deadliest. Right from the beginning, it gives a funny impression of someone when he introduces himself using ‘myself’. I am Ronak.

Simple Future Tense – 10 Minute English Grammar

Simple Future Tense

The sentence formation follows:

  Singular Number Plural Number
1st Person I shall/will = I’ll We shall/will = We’ll
2nd Person You will/shall = You’ll You will/shall = You’ll
3rd Person He will = He’ll  
  She will = She’ll They will = They’ll
  It will = It’ll  

Uses of The Simple Future Tense:

  1. It is used for simple future actions/commitments: We shall practice hard to win the competition.    She will remember me forever.
  2. It is used with the point of time: Next Tuesday, our website will be functional.    Next week, the government will clear all the pending dues of the recipients. Next month, we shall fly to the USA.
  3. It is used with In + Period: They will arrive in two hours.    I shall return your book in a week.
  4. Going to Future: It is going to rain soon.    Are you going to help me or not?
  5. We use ‘shall’ for determination and the same way the determination is normally expressed by ‘will’: Sometimes public speakers and others believe in using ‘shall’ instead of ‘will’ to express the determination. They feel that it is a heavier word.
    1. I am sure you shall win this competition.
    1. You shall have your share after you complete your job.
    1. We will, we will rock you (a popular song, sung by Freddie Mercury, Queen).
    1. We will not (won’t) accept his terms under any circumstances.
  6. It is used to express the speaker’s assumptions, opinions, speculations about the future. Such sentences may be introduced by verbs, such as be afraid, believe, assume, daresay, be/feel sure, expect, know, hope, doubt, think, suppose, wonder. They may be accompanied by adverbs, such as probably, perhaps, surely, possibly, but can also be used without them:
    1. (I’m sure) she’ll agree to this proposal
    1. (I suppose) they won’t be able to meet the deadline of the project.
    1. (Perhaps) you’ll find a better partner.
    1. They’ll (probably) come with us.

Simple Past Tense – 10 Minute English Grammar

The sentence formation follows:

  Singular Number Plural Number
1st Person I did We did
2nd Person You did You did
3rd Person He did  
  She did They did
  It did  

Uses of The Simple Past Tense:

  1. The past tense refers to actions completed in the past at a definite time:
    1. Actions with the specific time given: We met them to discuss this proposal yesterday.    His father passed away in 2016. I was born in 1990.
    1. When actions took place even though time is not mentioned: The bus arrived 10 minutes late.    How did you convince him to work with you?    I bought a Volvo S90 car in Canada.
  2. The past tense is used for a past habit: She always carried a water bottle.    My father drank the cold milk.
    1. We can also use ‘used to’ or ‘would’ for past habitual actions: My father used to drink cold milk. My father would drink cold milk.
  3. The past tense is also used in conditional sentences when the supposition is contrary to known facts: If I were you, I would not have done such a mistake (But I am not you.)

Note: The same sentence can also be constructed in other way as well: Were I you, I would not have done such a mistake (But I am not you.)

If I knew this fact beforehand, I would not have permitted him to go and talk to him. (But I don’t know this fact.)

For the unreal past, we use subjunctive mood with as though, as if, it is time, if only, would sooner/rather and wish.

She is crying as if she were a child. (But she is not a child)

  • The past tense is used for describing incidents/accidents: The plane was hijacked by terrorists.    Two pilots were killed in a helicopter crash.
  • The past tense is used for narrating stories and history: Maharaja Ranjit Singh was a brave king.    There was a clever crow.    The 1897 battle of Saragarhi was the epitome of bravery, sacrifice and valor.    Baji Rao never lost a battle in his life.

Simple Present Tense – 10 Minute English Grammar

There are three chief Tenses: The Present, the Past, the Future.

Broadly, verbs may refer to the time of an action/state or event.

The sentence formation follows:

  Singular Number Plural Number
1st Person I do We do
2nd Person You do You do
3rd Person He does  
  She does They do
  It does  

Note: When we use 3rd person singular, it must follow s/es after the verb.

For example:

Rohit does a lot many new things in his business.

She feels terribly sorry for her acts.

Uses of The Present Tense:

  1. To express habitual action: Rachel smokes.     Cats meow.     Cows eat grass.    I wake up at 4 in the morning.
  2. It can be used, mainly with the verb say, when we ask about or quote from notices, books or recently received letters: What does that announcement say? ~ It says, ‘No more delays will be tolerated’.

What does that book say? ~ It says, ‘Trust but verify.’

“There are three gates to the self-destructive hell: lust, anger, and greed”, says Lord Krishna

  • To express general truths: Barking dogs seldom bite.     Earthquakes occur often.     Rain gives water to life.
  • It can be used in newspaper headlines: India win(s) by 6 wickets.    Militants surrender.
  • In exclamatory sentences beginning with here and there to denote what is actually happening in the present. In other words, we can call it a ‘Dramatic Narrative’. Such sentences can also be possible without using ‘here’ and ‘there’, particularly when describing the action of an opera, play, etc. and is generally used by radio commentators at ceremonies, public functions, sports events, etc.:

There you go!

Here comes your bus!

Here comes the great Achilles!

At play and also while telling stories: Samantha is asleep in her bed and she wakes up groggily. Suddenly the window opens and a masked man with a dagger enters to kill her.

  • It is also used to introduce quotations: Chanakya says, “Books are as useful to a stupid person as a mirror to a blind person.”
  • It is used in the conditional sentences: If you do not work hard, you will not succeed. If I happen to meet Roger, I will ask this question.
  • It is used in time clauses: (a) when there is a routine idea:

As soon as he enters the room, his dog jumps on him for a hug.

She drops her child to school before she goes to work.

(b) when the main verb is in a future form:

It will get darker soon. Then we will go out for supper.

When it gets darker, we will go out for supper.

  • It is used for a planned future action or series of actions, such as referring to a journey.

Alright, folks! We leave tomorrow morning at 6 and arrive in London 9. We have a layover of 2 hours at Heathrow Airport before we fly to Los Angeles.

The same sentence construction is used for the planned activities:

The exam commences next week

  1. We have many several involuntary actions/senses for which we do not use the verb form of the present progressive tense. The list of such verbs is the following:

Verbs of the senses: feel, hear, see, smell, notice, observe (= notice), taste, recognize

I am watching this place carefully, but don’t see anything unusual.’

Rita is listening to the IELTS tape, but she has put on the headphones so nobody else hears it

Verbs expressing emotions and feelings: admire (= respect), adore, appreciate (= value), care for (= like), desire, detest, dislike fear, hate, like loath, love, mind (= care) respect, value, want, wish, hope, refuse, prefer

I hate touristy places, but I am enjoying this place for some unexplained reasons.

I love eating burgers, but I don’t know why I am not loving it today.

Verbs of appearing: seem, look, appear

It seems acceptable so you are good to go.

She looks beautiful, but today she is looking stunningly a knockout girl.

Verbs of thinking: agree, appreciate (= understand), assume, believe, expect (= think), feel (= think), feel sure/certain, forget, know, mean, perceive, realize, recall, recognize, recollect, remember, see (= understand) see through someone (= penetrated his attempt to deceive) suppose, think (= have an opinion), trust (= believe/have confidence in), understand.

I don’t agree with you on this point. And I assume you have a long way to go yet.

I see through his devious plan and also feel certain that he won’t be successful in it.

Verbs of possession: own, possess, belong to, contain, consist of

  1. It is used for giving directions: First of all, you go straight and take the right turn when you reach the intersection.
  2. It is also used in ceremonial or formal conversation: The jury pronounces you innocent.

Note: There are some verbs that can also be used in the continuous forms with a different meaning, e.g. I smell diesel. But when you sniff or try to sniff at something/someone, you can use the continuous form as well.

Why are you smelling the cup? Is it stinking?


A pleonasm refers to the use of more words than they are necessary to express an idea i.e., redundancy. It is derived from a Greek word that means ‘excess’. Some people complicate the language for no reason. They have a habit of using redundant in sentences or with the combination of unwanted words.

In other words, a pleonasm is a redundant and tautological phrase or clause.

For example,

Judy is the cousin of Joshua.

Not: Judy is the cousin sister of Joshua.

  • Tuna fish burger: We ordered a fish burger last night.
  • My own eyes: I saw him with my eyes and confirm that he was behind this crime.
  • Free gift: Every child loves to have a gift.
  • Foreign imports: Most reading glasses are imports from Germany.
  • ATM machines: you will have many ATMs in the vicinity, but a couple of them are out of operation today.
  • Actual facts: It is always unwise to judge anyone until all facts are in.
  • Busy in: James was busy gathering the required papers the other day.
  • Circle around: When you circle the building, you will see a puppy near the bench.
  • Could possibly: You could either accept or reject the validity of this paper.
  • Current incumbent: The higher voting percentage suggests that the incumbent government will be defeated in this election.
  • Crisis situation: during the financial crisis in the USA, there was a ripple effect on the banks worldwide.
  • Confused state: I am confused about whether to accept this proposal or not.
  • Cope up with something: he was not able to cope with the stress and the strains of the job, and hence he quit.
  • Discuss on/about: We discussed this matter at length.
  • Drop down: the topline revenues dropped to $13 million last year.
  • Down south/ up north: As you move towards the north, the temperature will get cooler.
  • Empty out: ‘Empty his pocket’ was a scream from the back.
  • False pretense: Politicians are masters in engineering falsehoods and pretenses.
  • Frozen tundra: North Asia is an arctic tundra in the winter time and therefore it is not a recommended neighborhood to live in.
  • Hear with my own ears: I heard him clearly owning up to his few mistakes.
  • Gather together: We gathered to discuss this matter last evening.
  • It’s déjà vu all over again: A shiver crept down my spine as I experienced a sense of déjà vu.  
  • Join together: Why don’t you join us tonight?
  • Lift up: The US fed lifted the interest rate this month and cleared the uncertainties in the stock market.
  • Meet together: Let’s all meet this weekend and have fun.
  • New innovation: This innovation will disrupt the Information Technology world.
  • Open up: Open the door. (open up means begin shooting).
  • PIN number: Don’t ever share your PIN with anyone.
  • Pursue after: I pursued this plan wholeheartedly so I don’t think that I can disown it.
  • Raise up: It is time that the company has to raise the salary package of seniors.
  • Revert back: Once you receive the email, please revert immediately.
  • Safe haven: Some countries are a tax haven for tax evaders.
  • Total destruction: The earthquake wreaked havoc and the city witnessed destruction at every corner of it.
  • True fact: The fact remains unchallenged forever.
  • Ultimate goal: my goal is to train students for a good score in the IELTS exam.
  • Visible to the eyes: It is visible; one does not need to put efforts for the same.

Admission Woe for Canadian Colleges Continues

Over the last two years, international students, especially from India, China, Vietnam and the Philippines, have been facing difficulty in securing admissions at the community colleges in Canada. This discomfort can be attributed to rapidly growing numbers of international student from these countries against the limited capacity of the schools. Seats fill up quickly; in some cases, when community colleges decide to open the admission gate for specific courses, they fill up in moments. That was not the case some years ago.

Seeing this, one could start scratching his head and ask himself, “Where does this overnight demand come from?”

There could be multiple answers to such questions. Here is my perspective to this continuing dearth of seats for students:

Under the Student Partner Program (SPP) which was introduced by the Canadian Immigration Department almost a decade back, the numbers of Indian and Chinese students were going up every year. The scarcity of the place at the community colleges was firstly experienced in the year 2013. Some schools filled up in the blink of the eyes. However, not all the colleges were beneficiary of this boom but that was the cursor to the deteriorating situation. In the following year, international students started experiencing the same. This did not end there. The government of Canada decided to add other countries, such as Philippines and Vietnam not far long ago and replaced the SPP program with the Student Direct Stream (SDS). I believe this was the tipping point, and it looks like the situation is not going to get better in the years to come.

Ergo, we advise students to be early and fast in having their applications processed. There is a never-ending queue and if they are late in applying for the school, probably they will miss the bus.

Did you know…?

    1. Canada has a public health care system known as “medicare”. It provides medical insurance for health care services to all Canadian citizens and permanent residents. You must have a valid health card and number to get eligible health care costs covered.
    2. Canada’s national health insurance program (Medicare) covers the cost of necessary hospital and doctor services. It involves the health care plans of all provinces and territories and aims to be equitable for all. Not all medical services or procedures are covered by public health care.
    3. The ancestors of Aboriginal peoples are believed to have migrated from Asia many thousands of years ago. In the 1970s, the term First Nation began to be used. Today, about half of First Nations people live on reserve land in about 600 communities while the other half live off-reserve, mainly in urban centres.
    4. When they came to Canada, many early French fur traders married First Nations women. Their descendants are called the Metis people. Most Metis live in Canada’s prairie provinces and speak their own dialect – Michif.
    5. The first four provinces to join Confederation as “Canada” in 1867 were Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick. Canada’s first Prime Minister was Sir John A. MacDonald. Manitoba joined in 1870, BC in 1871, PEI in 1873, NWT in 1880, Yukon in 1898, Saskatchewan and Alberta in 1905, Newfoundland and Labrador in 1949 and Nunavut in 1999.
    6. Canada’s Pacific coast province is British Columbia. The Prairie provinces are Alberta, Sasketchewan, and Manitoba. Central Canada refers to Ontario and Quebec. The North means the three territories: the Yukon, the Northwest Territories, and Nunavut. “Maritimes” refers to the three provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island. “Atlantic provinces” refers to those three plus Newfoundland and Labrador.
    7. More than 80% of Canada’s population live in towns and cities that are within 250 kilometres of the U.S. border. The U.S. borders Canada to the south. The United States is Canada’s largest trading partner.
    8. According to the 2006 Census, 6,186,950 foreign-born people lived in Canada. Not all foreign-born people who live in Canada have English or French as their mother tongue. In the 2006 census, people reported their mother tongue as:
      1. Chinese 18.6%
      2. Italian 6.6%
      3. Punjabi 5.9%
      4. Spanish 5.8%
      5. German 5.4%
      6. Tagalog 4.8%
      7. Arabic 4.7%
    9. The Inuit, which means “the people” in the Inuktitut language, live in small, scattered communities across the Arctic. Their knowledge of the land, sea and wildlife enabled them to adapt to one of the harshest environments on earth. About 65% of the Aboriginal people are First Nations, while 30% are Metis and 4% Inuit.
    10. The name “Canada” comes from the Huron-Iroquois word “Kanata” meaning village or settlement, and the name was used by the early explorer Jacques Cartier. The word Canada started appearing on maps in the 1550s.

Reference: DayPlanner