+0
A question to the continuous in general.
Every English grammar book is the same. If I want to look up 'continuous' (how to use it, and especially when) it's written: continuous- focus on the action / simple - focus on the result.
But that's quite tricky. What is a result? When is it focused on the action?

Does anyone also have another explanation when to use which?

For example: I have been eating - it's focused that you did eat. But you can argue with if you did eat, you're not hungry anymore. So it's kind of a result? I just don't get this.
or 'I said' and 'I was saying'?
I know native speaker just have that feel for language, but I haven't. Well, I have the feel for langue in German.

and an extra question: Do you have the feel for language after spending a year in the US?
I'm going to do that, but I'm afraid that I won't be able to speak English well after one year
......
LS
1 2
Comments  
It's not an easy question to answer. I can give some idea:

I am eating lunch now. Please call back in an hour. (continuous)
X I eat lunch now. Please call back in an hour. (simple present. No native speaker would say this.)

In an email:
Dear Mr. Jones;
I eat lunch from 12:00 to 1:00, so please do not call me during this time. (OK - common, the focus is on the time period for lunch, not the action of eating.)

Past continuous is used for interrupted activities. We were sleeping when the telephone rang.

Present perfect continuous is for an activity that started in the recent past. It still may be going on.
We have been eating lunch for an hour now. We need to finish and get the check. Otherwise we will be late for work.

He is an excellent pianist. He has been playing since he was a young child.
louiSTDo you have the feel for language after spending a year in the US?
I'm going to do that, but I'm afraid that I won't be able to speak English well after one year
Very few Americans speak German. You will be immersed in the language. If you are young, you might be completely fluent in a year. If you are an older adult, that's a different story.
Thanks :-)

Huh, I'm the lucky one, I haven't even reached my sixteens Emotion: big smile
Site Hint: Check out our list of pronunciation videos.
Given you present level of English, and that you are a teenager, I can almost guarantee that after a year in the US, you will be fluent in American English (slang and all!!)

Good luck!
Thanks! Emotion: big smile
louiSTDo you have the feel for language after spending a year in the US?I'm going to do that, but I'm afraid that I won't be able to speak English well after one year
From what others have told me who have gone through this, you will have somewhat of a feel for English in a few months, and enough to get the necessities taken care of, but it takes four years for most people to be able to say, "I know English very well, and I can speak it fluently".

Everybody is different, though, and if you give yourself a head start by learning as much as you can before arriving in the US, you can shorten the time it will take.

CJ
Students: We have free audio pronunciation exercises.
louiSTBut that's quite tricky. What is a result? When is it focused on the action? ...
For example: I have been eating - it's focused that you did eat. But you can argue with if you did eat, you're not hungry anymore. So it's kind of a result? I just don't get this.
In all likelihood all this talk of "action vs result" won't make any sense until after you've become more familiar with those situations in which these verb forms are used by real people in real situations. And you won't make it make sense by doing an arm-chair analysis of "action vs result" for each case. You can't expect the two words "action" and "result" to summarize completely all the uses of the continuous and simple tenses of a whole language! That's just 'grammar book talk'.

It's more a matter of imitating the speech patterns of others, and learning which situations require which verb forms. You can only do this by continuing your studies of English, and reading, reading, reading. If you keep going long enough, everything will become clear. Emotion: smile

CJ
Nice to hear something like that.
There are five months left, so I will do as much as I'm able to Emotion: smile
Yes, but the problem is, we always write grammar tests, and there are always clozes in it, where you have to fill in the right tense form. So I have to decide between 12 English tenses. So I was just wondering if there is another explanation how to use them but 'action and result'.
Or as my teacher always says if I ask her why it is this tense: 'It's just that way'. And I'm always like: Ah that helps .......

But somehow and sometime I will have managed.

Emotion: smile

LS
Teachers: We supply a list of EFL job vacancies
Show more