Grammar

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Continuous Tense

In some cases, it can be difficult to distinguish between similar-looking clause patterns. Consider the following sentences:

At first glance, these clauses look the same. But upon closer examination, we should notice:

Consider the following sentences.

Sentence Pattern Explanation

He is upset.

S=C

Here, the word "is" is functioning as a linking verb. The meaning of the sentence is "He = upset." Therefore, the pattern is equative.

He is playing.

SV

Here, the word "is" is helping to form the present continuous tense of the verb "to play." The meaning of the sentence is: "He continues to play at this moment." Think of "is playing" as one big verb. The pattern of the sentence is intransitive.

He is playing the guitar.

SVO

Here again, the verb "is" is helping to form the present continuous tense of the verb "to play." But in this case, the verb "to play" has taken an object (the guitar), so the pattern is transitive.

 

How can you tell the difference?

How can you tell if the word "is" (or one of its many conjugations) is functioning as a linking verb or helping the main verb to form the continuous tense? Here are some helpful hints:

Lastly, keep in mind that everything we have said about "is", above, is equally true of its many conjugations. Study the following sentences. None of them mean "He equals singing." Instead, all of them are variations of the continuous tense, formed with different conjugations of the verb "to be". In each of these sentences, the highlighted words can be thought of as "one big verb."

Sentences in the Continuous Tense
  • I am singing.
  • I was singing.
  • You are singing.
  • You were singing.
  • He is singing.
  • Sally has been singing.
  • Joe had been singing.
  • They have been singing.
  • George will be singing.
  • Linda is going to be singing.

 

Now study the sentences in the table below.

       

1

Anthony is fishing.

SV

intransitive

2

Ben is a genius.

S=C

equative

3

I am working right now.

SV

intranstive

4

I am building a website.

SVO

transitive

5

The baby is an angel.

S=C

equative

6

The baby is crying.

SV

intransitive

7

We are the best team in the league.

S=C

equative

8

We are beginning the movie at 8:00.

SVO

transitive

9

They were angry.

S=C

equative.

10

They were giving the children candy.

(SVOiOd)

ditransitive

11

Ben was friendly.

S=C

equative

12

Ben was eating a pizza.

SVO

transitive

 

Now check your understanding by taking the quiz that accompanies this lesson.