Let's tackle some of the problems some of the posters have with tenses.
Let's start with the Present Continuous.
Remember, a native speaker is using words to convey a particular meaning - there is a situation they have in mind, or some situation they are commenting on.
So - none native speakers:
What is a situation where it would be appropriate for someone to say:
'Dinner is served.'
and a situation when
'Dinner is being served' would be appropriate.
Then say why!
Last edited by David L.; 22-Jun-2008 at 23:47.
"Then say why", I think.
Not a professional ESL teacher.
MrPedantic has reasoned my typing has a speech impediment!
27 readers and not one brave soul willing to give it a go?!? This is your chance to really get down and understand the tenses in detail, starting with the present tense forms and building on that.
I shall surely get wrong but I will try.
Dinner is served refers to both a result and at this moment whereas Dinner is being served would rather refer to an action - meaning likely it is being served and goes on
I am deeply a non-native.
Edited: I just want to say that I have not taken that from any dictionnary or other books - so only what I had in mind. You will therefore observe the non-native mistakes from that post.
Last edited by philadelphia; 23-Jun-2008 at 00:14.
Thank you Philadelphia - and I phila-philadelphia for giving it a go.
So- you've picked out that in
'dinner is served', it refers to "at this moment"
'dinner is being served' refers to "an action' and that this action "goes on", is somehow continuing.
Great start! So can somebody now suggest a situation for each, where each would be appropriate, so we can continue to tease out the respective meanings.
1) Dīnner is served! Let us sit down at the table.
2) Hey David and ROn, take a glance at the waiters, they are being served the dīnner at all tables but ours.
I see it like this:
Dinner is served from 5 pm to 7 pm - an action that happend on regular basis
We could further discus this subjet when the dinner is being served - something continous.
Thank you for the useful post, Mr.David L.
a.I'd like to know what time dinner is served.
b.Dinner is served at seven o'clock every evening.
I feel something static in these examples above. I feel as if I were looking at a picture on which dinner is served.
a.Dinner is being served now.
In this example, I feel something dynamic. "Serving" is happening now. I feel as if I were watching a scene of a movie.
-ing forms(both Present Participle and Gerund) somehow, almost always, make me feel something dynamic.
Maybe I'm wrong...