Study these example situations
Chalani is in the canteen. She is eating This means she is eating now at the time of speaking the action is not finished
Ruwan is in his car. He is on his way home. He is driving. This means he is driving now at the time of speaking the action is not finished.
I am = I’m
He is = He’s
She is = She’s
It is = It’s
Car is = Car’s
Nimal is = Nimal’s
We are = We’re
You are = You’re
They are = They’re
We use the present continuous to talk about particular actions or events that have begun but have not ended at the time of speaking.
Study this example situation
I am doing - I’m in the middle of doing something I have started doing it and I haven’t finished
She is doing - she’s in the middle of doing something.
Why are you sitting at my desk?
Where is Ruwan? He’s having a bath.
It is raining
What is happening?
It is getting dark please turn on the light.
I am not wearing a coat as it is not cold.
Saman is talking with his friend.
Sometimes we use the present continuous to talk about an action that is not happening
at the moment of speaking.I’m reading an interesting book. I will lend it to you when I have finished it.
Actually, Saman is not reading the book at the moment of speaking. He means that he has started reading it but he has not finished it. He is in the middle of reading it.
He is learning English these days (perhaps he is not learning English at the time of speaking)
I’m not enjoying my job
she’s training to be a teacher.
some of my friends are building their own house.
We use the present continuous to talk about changes happening around now.
Your English is improving.
I’m beginning to realize that he is a nice person.
The economic situation of the country is getting worse.
Things are changing nothing stays the same.
In modern English it is more usual to place prepositions or adverbs after certain verbs to give a variety of meanings:
You need not try to decide whether the combination is verb + preposition or verb + adverb, but should learn whether the combination is transitive (i.e. requires an object) or intransitive (i.e. cannot have an object):
take off is transitive: He took off his hat.
Look out is intransitive: look out! This ice isn’t safe.
Each of the combinations given in the following pages will be marked ‘tr’ (= transitive), or ‘intr’ (= intransitive), and examples of the use of each will help to emphasize this distinction.
Note that it is possible for a combination to have two or more different meanings, and to be transitive in one/ some of these and intransitive in others. For example, take off can mean ‘remove’. It is then a transitive expression:
He took off his hat.
Take off can also mean ‘rise from the ground’ (used of aircraft). Here it is transitive:
The plane took off at ten o'clock.
Transitive expressions: the position of the object.
Noun objects are usually placed at the end of these expressions:
I am looking for my glasses.
With some expressions, however, they can be placed either at the end or immediately after the verb, i.e. before the short word.
We can say: he took off his coat or he took his coat off.
Pronoun objects are sometimes placed at the end of the expression: I am looking for them. But they are more often placed immediately after the verb: He took it off.
This position is usual before the following short words: up, down, in, out, away, off, and on (except when used in the expression call on = visit).
Examples given of the use of each expression will show all possible positions of noun or pronoun objects in the following way: I’ll give this old coat away. (give away this old coat/ give it away)
i.e. with this expression, the noun object can come before or after the example is given the student may assume that the pronoun object has the same position as the noun object.
C When these expressions are followed by a verb object the gerund form of the verb is used:
He kept on blowing his horn.
Where gerunds are usual this will be shown by examples.
Not that some expressions can be followed by the infinitive.
It is up to you to decide this for yourself.
Some of the younger members called on the minister to resign.
The lecture set out to show that most illnesses were avoidable. Go on can be followed by either infinitive or gerund but there is a considerable difference in meaning.
Verb + preposition/ adverb combinations
Account for (tr) = give a good reason for, explain satisfactorily (some action or expenditure):
A treasurer must account for the money he spends.
He has behaved in the most extraordinary way: I can’t account for his action at all/ I can’t account for his behaving like that.
Allow for (tr) = make provision in advance for, take into account (usually some additional requirement, expenditure, delay, etc.):
It is 800 kilometers and I drive at 100 k. p. h., so I’ll be there in eight hours. – but you’ll have to allow for delays going through towns and for stops for refueling.
Allowing for depreciation your car should be worth $2,000 this time next year.
Answer back (intr), answer somebody back = answer a reproof impudently:
FATHER: Why were you are so late last night? You weren’t in till 2 a.m.
SON: you should have been asleep.
FATHER: don’t answer me back. Answer my question.
Ask after/ for somebody = ask for news of:
I met Tom at the party: he asked after you. (asked how you were/ how you were getting on)
= ask to speak to:
Go to the office and ask for my secretary.
The men asked for more pay and shorter hours.
Ask someone in (object before in) = invite him to enter the house: he didn’t ask me in: he kept me standing at the door while he read the message.
Ask someone out (object before out) = invite someone to an entertainment or to a meal (usually in a public place):
She had a lot of friends and was usually asked out in the evenings, so she seldom spent an evening at home.
Back away (intr) = step or move back slowly (because confronted by some danger or unpleasantness):
When he took a gun out everyone backed away nervously.
Back out (intr) = withdraw (from some joint action previously promised help or support:
He agreed to help but backed out when he found how difficult it was.
Back somebody up = support morally or verbally:
The headmaster never backed up his staff. (backed them up) if a parent complained about a teacher he assumed that the teacher was in the wrong.
Be against (tr) = be opposed to (often used with gerund): I’m for doing nothing till the police arrive. / I’m against doing anything till the police arrive.
Be away (intr) = be away from home/ this place for at least a night.
Be back (intr) = have returned after a long or short absence:
No, I’m afraid she’s out at the moment or
No, I’m afraid she’s away for the weekend.
– When will she be back? –
She’ll be back in half an hour / next week.
Be for (tr) = be in favor of (often used with gerund).
Be in (intr) = be at home/ in this building.
Be in for (tr) = be about to encounter (usually something unpleasant)
Did you listen to the weather forecast? I’m afraid we’re in for a bumpy flight.
If you think that the work is going to be easy you’re in for a shock.
Be over (intr) = be finished:
The Storm is over now; we can go on.
Be out (intr) = be away from home/ from this building for a short time- not overnight.
Be up (intr) = be out of bed:
Don’t expect her to answer the door bell at eight o’clock on Sunday morning. She won’t be up.
Be up to (tr) = be physically or intellectually strong enough (to perform a certain action). The object is usually it, though a gerund is possible.
After his illness, the Minister continued in office though he was no longer up to the work/ up to doing the work.
Be up to something/ some mischief/ some trick/ no good = be occupied or busy with some mischievous act:
Don’t trust him: he is up to something/ some trick.
The boys are very quiet. I wonder what they are up to.
Note that the object of up to here is always some very indefinite expression such as these given above. It is never used with a particular action.
It is up to someone (often followed by an infinitive) = it is his responsibility or duty:
It is up to the government to take action on violence.
I have helped you as much as I can. Now it is up to you. (you must continue by your own efforts.)
Bear out (tr) = confirm:
This report bears out my theory. (bears my theory out/ bears it out) Bear up (intr) = support bad news bravely, hide feelings of grief:
The news of her death was a great shock to him but he bore up bravely and none of us realized how much he felt it. Blow Blow out (tr) = extinguish (a flame) by blowing:
The wind blew out the candle. (blew the candle out/ blewit put) Blow up (tr or intr) = destroy by explosion, explode, be destroyed: They blew up the bridges so that the enemy couldn’t follow them. (blew the bridges up/ blew them up) Just as we got to the bridge it blew up. = fill with air, inflate, pump up:
The children blew up their balloons and threw them into the air.
(blew the balloons up/ blew them up) Boil
Boil away (intr) = to rise and flow over the sides of the consider (used only of hot liquids):
The milk boiled over and there was a horrible smell of burning.
Break down figures = take a total and sub-divide it under various headings so as to give additional information:
You say that 10,000 people use this library. Could you break that down into ages – group? (say how many of these are under 25, over 50, etc.)
Break down a door etc. = collapse, cease to function properly, owing to some fault or weakness:
(a)used of people, it normally implies a temporary emotional collapse: he broke down when telling me about his son’s tragic death. (he was overcome by his sorrow: he wept.)
(b) it can express collapse of mental resistance:
At first, he refuses to admit his guilt but when he was shown the evidence he broke down and confessed.
(c) When used of health it implies a serious physical collapse:
After years of over work his health broke down and he had to retire.
(d) it is very often used of machines:
The car broke down when we were driving through the desert and it took us two days to repair it.
(e) it can be used of negotiations:
The negotiations broke down (were discontinued) because neither side would compromise. Break in (intr), break into (tr)
(a) = enter by force:
Thieves broke in and stole the silver.
The house was broken into when the owner was on holiday.
(b) = interrupt someone by some sudden remark:
I was telling them about my travels when he broke in with a story of his own.
Break in (a young horse/ pony etc.) (tr) = train him for use:
You cannot ride or drive a horse safely before he has been broken in.
Break off (tr or intr) = detach or become detached:
He took a bar of chocolate and broke off a bit. (broke a bit off/ broke it off)
A piece of rock broke off and fell into the pool at the foot of the cliff.
Break off (tr) = terminate (used of agreements or negotiations); Ann has broken off her engagement to Tom. (broken her engagement off/ broken it off)
Break off (intr) = stop talking suddenly, interrupt oneself:
They were in the middle of an argument but broke off when someone came into the room.
Break out (intr)
(a) = begin (used of evils such as wars, epidemics, fires, etc.): War broke out on 4 August.
(b) = escape by using force from a prison etc.:
They looked him up in a room but he broke out. (smashed the door and escaped)
The police are looking for two men who broke out of prison last night.
Break up (tr or intr) = disintegrate, cause to disintegrate:
If that ship stays, there she will break up/ she will be broken up by the waves.
The old ship was towed away to be broken up and sold as scrap. Divorce breaks up a lot of families. (breaks families up/ breaks them up)
Break up (intr) = terminate (used of school terms, meetings, parties, etc.):
The school broke up on 30 July and all the boys went home for the holidays.
The meeting broke up n confusion.
Bring someone round (tr; object usually before round)
(a) = persuade someone to accept a previously opposed suggestion: After a lot of argument, I brought him round to my point of view.
(b) = restore to consciousness: She fainted with the paint but a little brandy soon brought her round.
Bring a person or thing round (tr; object usually before round) = bring him/into my/ your/ his house:
I have finished that book that you lent me; I’ll bring it round (to your house) tonight.
Bring up (tr)
(a) = educate and train children:
She brought up her children to be truthful. (brought her children up/ brought them up)