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Tutor Zach McLaughlin 's Column

Talking about change in English

Weekly Topic: To Those Entering a New Phase in their Life!

Mittwoch, 24. März 2021, 01:23

This week’s column topic is To those entering a new phase of life, so for anyone studying English, here are some verb tenses that you can use to talk about change!


Let’s start with an easy one: Present Continuous. This is a good choice for change that is happening now or these days (generally short-term).


Examples:

  • The weather is getting warmer.
  • Prices are going up.
  • More and more people are studying online these days. 

You can also use Present Perfect and Present Perfect Continuous to talk about change over time (short-term, long-term, and specific duration). 


Examples:

  • Construction has slowed down over the past year.
  • My nephews have grown a lot since the last time I saw them!
  • In Toronto, some stores have been reopening.
  • In some countries, lockdowns have been getting stricter again.

But what’s the difference between these tenses?

  • Prices are going up these days. (present continuous)
  • Prices have gone up recently. (present perfect)
  • Prices have been going up recently. (present perfect continuous)

“Prices are going up these days” tells us about recent time. It tells us that an action began in the recent past, is still happening now, and may continue in the near future. It does not tell us about specific time or duration. We cannot say “Prices are going up for three weeks.” 


“Prices have gone up recently” can also tell us about recent time, but it does not tell us if the action is still happening now. However, it is possible that the action will happen again in the future. It can also tell us the period of time during which the action happened, such as “Prices have gone up since early 2020.”


“Prices have been going up recently” is similar to the first sentence. It can tell us about recent time but it can also tell us about longer periods of time. It can tell us that an action began in the past, is still happening now, and may continue in the near future. However, it can also tell us the duration of the action. For example, “Prices have been going up for over a year.” 


To summarize:

  • Use present continuous or present perfect continuous for change that is happening now and may continue.
  • Use present perfect continuous to give the duration of change that is happening now and may continue. Use this tense to express change with a longer duration.
  • Use present perfect for change that has already happened and may happen again in the future. 

I hope this will help you to talk about change in English!


Zach


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