Present Tense Verbs Exercise (226)

The following sentences require either a simple present tense verb or a continuous (progressive) present tense. Choose the sentence that contains the form called for by the context.

    1.
    Look! The moon is shining over the Brooklyn Bridge.
    Look! the moon shines over Brooklyn Bridge.

    2.
    Ben Kingsley is playing Silas Marner in the 1985 Masterpiece production of that novel.
    Ben Kingsley plays Silas Marner in the 1985 Masterpiece production of that novel.

    3.
    Does your girlfriend always put on her makeup as she drives?
    Is your girlfriend always putting on her makeup as she drives?

    4.
    What does that man do by our mailbox?
    What is that man doing by our mailbox?

    5.
    I’ll join you later. Right now I’m having a cup of tea in Barnes and Noble.
    I’ll join you later. Right now I have a cup of tea in Barnes and Noble.

Answers and Explanations

1. Look! The moon is shining over the Brooklyn Bridge.
The interjection "Look!" indicates that the event is taking place in the moment and continuing. Present progressive/continuous is called for.

2. Ben Kingsley plays Silas Marner in the 1985 Masterpiece production of that novel.
If the production were being aired in the present, "is playing" would be appropriate. but the date indicates that the production is not current. Note: The simple present tense is usually used in discussions of literary works, including films.

3. Does your girlfriend always put on her makeup as she drives?
In a question, the form does is called for. "Is she always putting" might be heard in informal speech, but it is nonstandard usage.

4. What is that man doing by our mailbox?
The form "What does that man by our mailbox?" is not ungrammatical, but it has a very old-fashioned ring to it.

5. I’ll join you later. Right now I’m having a cup of tea in Barnes and Noble.
The action is in progress, so the progressive tense is required.

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