English as a Second Language/Present continuous tense


Dear Shannon,

Sorry for my continuous disturbance!

Again! From Englihs for Starters 9

A day in the life of a news paper reporter
1-First, I check my email and phone messages. I'm usually working on a story for the next day's newspaper, so I have to make sure I meet the deadline for that...

I am surprised by the use of the present continuous tense because I think it is wrongly used here. The sentence must read "I usually work on ..."

What is your point of view?

Fond regards,
Antoine Ghannoum

There can be overlap between the use of certain tenses.  In this case, the present continuous is more appropriate because the writer is discussing what would normally be ongoing/in progress at a very specific time of the day.  If we used the simple present here, we wouldn't have any clear indication of a starting or stopping point of his action.

English as a Second Language

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Shannon Cole


I can answer questions related to learning the English and Spanish language.


I have taught ESL and Spanish since 1998 at the university and middle school levels. I am a native of the U.S., and have taught in both the U.S. and Mexico.

I am owner and operator of www.coleinstitute.com, an online language school.

Georgia TESOL in Action (1999)

B.A. in Spanish; M.Ed. in Language Education

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I have clients worldwide, some who want their documents proofread, and others who take lessons with me through the Internet. Some work at high-profile companies and government organizations. Besides the U.S. and Mexico, my recent students come from South Korea, Switzerland, Turkey, Colombia, Russia, Italy, Paraguay, China, Japan, the Philippines, and Saudi Arabia.

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