Present tense/present continuous

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Super Saiyan

Senior Member
I asked a similar question, but didnt quite get it, could be my English is bad, please bear with me. Now, I would like to explain or ask about pictures in a photo album, a book, a magazine a story , a newspaper and so for.

But I don’t know which tense I can use to explain about many situations which happened in different time and aspects in those pictures.

For example:

A sentence in little red hen story. The little red hen planted some grains of wheat.

And there is the hen picture and I’d like to point to it and ask something. What tense can I use to ask or explain about it?

Example 1.

Me: What does/did the little red hen plant?

Or What is/was the little red hen planting?

My friend: She plants/planted some grains of wheat.

Or She is /was planting some grains of wheat.

Example 2. Two men were talking at the bus stop.

Man 1: “Which bus are you waiting for?”

Man 2: “The 33.” I have been waiting 20 minutes for the bus.

What tense can I talk about the pictures of the two men in a website with my friend.

Me: What does/did the man do?

What is/was the man doing?

My friend: He waits/ waited for a bus.

He is/was waiting for a bus.

Me : How long does/did he wait for a bus?

How long has/had he been waiting for a bus?

My friend: He waits/waited 20 minutes.

Or He has/had been waiting 20 minutes.

Could you help and explain it to me, please?
  • london calling

    Senior Member
    UK English
    One question per thread. I will answer 1.

    You can use either tense. The continuous to describe what you can see in the picture, the past tense to talk about the story as it is told in the book. The important thing is that the question and answer use the same tense.

    Super Saiyan

    Senior Member
    Thank you London Calling. So since the author used the simple past tense. I should ask ‘what was the little red hen planting?’ Coz that’s what we see in the picture, correct? Thanks

    Super Saiyan

    Senior Member
    Further to post #3, the author used past tense ‘the little red hen planted some grains of wheat’, I CAN’T ask ‘ what is the little red hen planting right? We need to use the past tense that the author used right? Thanks again.
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