: Business Grammar Builder. : (.. .. )


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Unit 2 present time 2


 Present Simple or Present Continuous? A


Present Simple


habits and routines

facts that are always true general situations

I live in Budapest. (all the time) This plane lands in Frankfurt. (routine)


Present Continuous


in progress

events happening at the moment a particular situation

Im living in Budapest. (for a few months)

Look! Were landing. (in progress


NLT dominates UK cable-television market. (general situation)

It is doing very well in the rest of Europe, too, with about 4m customers.

(trend in progress)


 Other uses of present tenses B




 The Present Simple can be used to refer to timetables and schedules. When we speak about timetables we are often thinking about the future.

British Airways flight BA729 leaves Geneva at 16.40 and arrives in London at 17.20.


 The Present Simple can be used to make a story appear more immediate and interesting. This is common in journalism.

On a grey November day in New England the mood inside EMCs

headquarters is sunny and bright. Executives of the data-storage market

leader see no limits to the worlds expending appetite for their storage machines. CEO Michael Ruettgers calls EMC recession-proof.




 The Present Continuous can be used to describe a fixed future arrangement.

This is usually a future time expression.

HSBC are moving to new premises next year.


 We can use always with the Present Continuous. This is often used for exaggerating or complaining. We emphasise always in speech in this case. This photocopier is always breaking down!



Im trying to give smoking up.

(= stop doing it, quit)

 State verbs C


 Some verbs describe states, not actions. Nothing happens. Verbs like this are not normally used in the Continuous form of any tense.

How much does it cost? (NOT How much is it costing ?) Sorry, I dont understand. (NOT Im no t un ders tan din g )

These examples are in the present even though we are talking about temporary situations.


 State verbs include:

the senses: appear, hear, look like, notice, see, seem, smell, sound, taste

(= have a flour)

feelings: dislike, fear, hate, like, love, prefer, want, wish

thinking: agree, believe, doubt, expect (= believe), feel (=believe), forget, imagine, know, realise, recognise, suppose, suspect,

think (believe), understand

possession: belong to, contain, have (= possess), include, own, possess being: be, consist of, exist

other verbs: cost, depend on, fit, involve, matter, measure (= have length), mean, need, satisfy, surprise, weigh

Analysts expect that shares in the demerged P&O Princess Cruises will trade initially at about 400p a share, which means that P&O is currently



 Some of the verbs in the previous list can have a state meaning and an

action meaning. Examples include be, have, taste, think. Our suppliers are usually very helpful. (state)

Our suppliers are being very helpful at the moment. (action) I have two sisters. (state)

Im having problems with this computer. (action) This soup tastes salty. (state)

Im tasting the soup to see if it needs more salt. (action) I think youre right. (state)

Im thinking about changing my job. (action)


 State verbs are not normally used in the imperative.



The Central Bank is trying to keep inflation down.

(= control it to stop it increasing)



Exercise 1 (A)

Underline the correct words.

1 A: What do you do / are you doing?

B: Im an executive secretary.

2 A: What do you do / are you doing?

B: Im looking for the details on the computer.

3 A: Where do you work / are you working?

B: Paris this month, then Bonn the next.

4 A: Where do you work / are you working?

B: At our Head office in Paris.

5 My names Walter, and I come I come / Im coming from Frankfurt.

6 I come / Im coming to Frankfurt next Tuesday I can call in to your office.

7 I deal with / Im dealing with Andrews clients while hes on holiday.

8 I deal with / Im dealing with the paper work and general administration.

9 A: Who do you go / are you going to the Trade Fair with?

B: This year with Stefano.

10 A: Who do you go / are you going to the Trade Fair with?

B: Usually with Stefano.


Exercise 2 (A, D)

Complete the sentences by putting the verbs in brackets into the Present Simple or

Present Continuous.


1 I .. (look at) the details on the screen right now.

2 I .. (look at) the sales results in detail every morning.

3 The production line .. (not, work) at weekends.

4 The production line .. (not, work) at the moment.

5 Yes, I agree. I .. (think) its a good idea.

6 I ..... (think) about it. Ill let you know tomorrow.

7 Helen .. (stay) at the Astoria while shes in Madrid this month.

8 Helen .. (stay) at the Astoria when shes in Madrid.

9 We .. (take) a sample for testing once a day.



They had to lay 100 workers off last month.

(= dismiss, make redundant)

10 We .. (take) a big risk if we go ahead with the project.

11 They .. (be) usually very flexible if we need to change the order.

12 They .. (be) flexible about giving us credit for a few more months.


Exercise 3 (D)

Some of the following sentences are right and some are wrong. Put a tick (√) next

to the right ones, and correct the wrong ones.



Which wine are you going to have?



Which wine are you preferring?



Thats ridiculous Im not believing it!



Thats ridiculous Im not doing business with them again!



Im sorry Im not following what youre saying.



Im sorry Im not understanding what youre saying.



This building is containing all the printing machines.



This building is getting very old soon well have to move.




Exercise 4 (A, D)

Complete this dialogue by putting each of the verbs in brackets into the correct form of the Present Simple or Present Continuous.


MATT: (1) .. (you / look) for someone?

JENNIFER: Yes, I (2) .. (need) to speak to Kim Bryant but she isnt in her office. (3) .. (you / know) where she is?

MATT: Oh, Im sorry, she isnt here today. She (4) .. (work) at home trying to finish an urgent report. I (5) .. (think) shell be back at her desk tomorrow. Perhaps I can help you?

JENNIFER: Oh, thanks. I (6) .. (work) for Pritchard Evans. We (7) .. (organise)

corporate hospitality MATT: Oh, yes.

JENNIFER: Well, Kim Bryant contracted us last week. Apparently you (8) ..

(expect) a visit by a Korean trade delegation next month. MATT: Yes, thats right.

JENNIFER: Kim asked me to call in and give her some information on our service.

Um, I (9) .. (have) a list of suggestions with me. It (10) .. (give) you



I looked their number up in Yellow Pages.

(= searched for it in a reference list)

information on where you could take your visitors, and details of extra services that we can offer, like our pick-up service from the hotel in a chauffeur-driven limousine.

MATT: Well, that sounds great. Im sure Kim would be really interested to see this.

JENNIFER: How long (11) .. ? (your visitors / stay)?

MATT: Oh, Im sorry, I (12) .. (not / know) exactly. You really need to speak to Kim, she (13) .. (deal) with this conference. Ill tell her to give you

a ring tomorrow. Whats the best time to call?

JENNIFER: I (14) .. (not / work) in the office in the mornings anytime after two. Or she can call on my mobile, on 0777


Exercise 5 (A, D)

Complete this article about the magazine Time Out by using words from the list

below. Decide whether to put the verbs into the Present Simple or Present




look for






try to


Time Out: time to expand

Time Out, the London entertainment magazine, has plans for expansion. It already (1) .. the monthly magazine Paris Passion, and now it (2) .. beyond France to other markets such as Argentina and Japan. Tony Elliott, Time Outs founder, says he (3) .. local people to initiate and run the magazine, as Time Outs London office does not

have the cash or management time. Elliott also has plans for the website, Timeout.com, which was launched in

1995 and (4) .. information about more

than 30 cities. It (5) ..

On advertising revenue and a small amount of money from ticket sales to survive. But as Time Out changes and expands,

Tony Elliott (6)

.. persuade advertisers in the printed version to take more space on the Internet site. Also, he (7) .. The possibility of charging visitors to the site for access to some information. Despite these expansion plans, Elliott says that a flotation on the stock market is out of the question. He (8) .. to keep control of the business he has built up.




Can you pick me up at the station?

(= collect me in your car)

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