Present simple Episode
„I love the smell of napalm in the morning”
– Apocalypse now
The movie opens in Saigon in 1968. Army captain and special intelligence agent Benjamin Willard is in a hotel room, very drunk and desperate to get back into action.
Two officers arrive to escort Willard to another town, where he meets with two military superiors and a CIA operative, who brief him on a rogue, Green Beret colonel named Walter E. Kurtz.
They order Willard to find and “terminate” him in a mission that officially doesn’t exist.
The officers say that Kurtz is insane, and his methods are “unsound.”
To reach Kurtz, Willard joins the crew of a Navy river patrol boat who ferry him up the river to Cambodia. The boat’s crew consists of four men: Chief, Chef, Lance, and Clean.
They find themselves in the middle of a bomber strike.
Willard meets the cavalry’s commanding officer, Lieutenant Colonel Bill Kilgore, who assures Willard that they will set the boat safely at the mouth of the river.
At dawn, Kilgore orders an air attack on a Vietnamese village, and one of the film’s most memorable sequences begins.
The helicopters approach, blasting Wagner’s “Ride of the Valkyries” through loudspeakers as the villagers scatter.
As Willard continues his journey, he becomes more and more like the man he was sent to kill.
After some frightening encounters, in which some of his crew are killed, Willard, Lance and Chef reach Colonel Kurtz’s outpost.
Now, after becoming prisoners of Kurtz, is Willard capable of fulfilling his mission? Does he have enough courage to end “the horror”?
subject + verb (+ s )
I love the smell of napalm.
He loves the smell of napalm.
subject + do / does + not + verb
I don’t love the smell of napalm.
He doesn’t like the smell of napalm.
(question word +) do / does + subject + verb?Do you love the smell of napalm in the morning?
When does he love the smell of napalm?
|present simple with ‘be’||subject + am / is / are
Willard is in a hotel room.
subject + am / is / are + not
Willard isn’t (is not) in a hotel room.
(question word +) am / is / are + subject?
Is Willard in a hotel room?
We use the present simple when something is generally or always true:
- Willard is American.
- The Sun goes down in Vietnam too.
Similarly, we need to use this tense for a situation that we think is more or less permanent:
- Willard is a soldier.
- He works in the U.S. army.
The next use is for habits or things that we do regularly. We often use adverbs of frequency (such as ‘often’, ‘always’ and ‘sometimes’) in this case, as well as expressions like ‘every Sunday’ or ‘twice a month’.
(However, we use the present continuous for new, temporary or annoying habits, as you will see in the next episode):
- Willard often smokes and drinks.
- He writes in his diary every day.
We can also use the present simple for short actions that are happening now. The actions are so short that they are finished almost as soon as you’ve said the sentence. This is often used with sports commentary, or in demonstrations.
- Chief and Lance shoot, one of the villagers dies.
We use the present simple to talk about the future when we are discussing a timetable or a fixed plan. Usually, the timetable is fixed by an organisation, not by us.
- The chopper leaves Saigon at 15:00 pm (chopper= helicopter)
We also use the present simple to talk about the future after words like ‘when’, ‘until’,’after’, ‘before’ and ‘as soon as’. These are sometimes called subordinate clauses of time.
- Your mission is accomplished as soon as Kurtz is dead.
We use the present simple in the first and the zero conditionals. (We’ll cover conditionals later.) :
- If you kill Kurtz, you’ll be promoted.
THINGS TO NOTICE
Some verbs have present simple spelling changes with ‘he’, ‘she’ or ‘it’:
Verbs that end in ‘y’ often change ‘y’ to ‘ie’ before ‘s’:
Study becomes studies, try becomes tries, marry becomes marries, fly becomes flies, cry becomes cries.
Be careful! 'y' doesn't change to 'ie' if the ending is 'ay', 'ey', 'oy', 'uy'. So, play becomes plays, say becomes says, buy becomes buys, enjoy becomes enjoys, stay becomes stays.
Verbs that end in ’s’, ‘sh’, ‘ch’ or ‘x’ often add ‘e’ before ’s’:
Pass becomes passes, wash becomes washes, teach becomes teaches.
Subject- verb agreement:
“The movie opens” = singular noun + singular verb (-s)
“Two officers arrive” = plural noun (-s) + plural verb
In one sentence with long subject:
“He meets with two military superiors and a CIA operative,(=they) who brief him…” = Not: briefs him!
Some nouns refer to groups of people (e.g. audience, crew, committee, family government, staff, team).
These are sometimes called collective nouns.
Some collective nouns can take a singular or plural verb, depending on whether they are considered as a single unit or as a collection of individuals (BUT: police and people are always plural!):
“Willard joins the crew of a Navy river patrol boat who ferry him up the river…” – seen as individuals
“The boat’s crew consists” – seen as a single unit
“Some of his crew are killed” – seen as individuals (passive voice, be + past participle – we’ll cover it later.)
VOCABULARY, PHRASES, COLLOCATIONS, IDIOMS, PHRASAL VERBS
To go with a person or vehicle, especially to make certain that he, she, or it leaves or arrives safely.
To give someone detailed instructions or information.
(Old-fashioned) a dishonest or bad man.
To (cause something to) end or stop.
Not physically or mentally healthy. If a person’s activities or judgment are unsound, they are not good enough, acceptable, or able to be trusted.
The part of a country’s armed forces that is trained to operate at sea.
A highly mobile army unit using vehicular transport, such as light armour and helicopters. The group of soldiers in an army who fight in tanks, or (especially in the past) on horses.
The period in the day when light from the sun begins to appear in the sky (notice: IN the morning/afternoon/evening BUT: AT night/dawn)
To make a very loud and unpleasant noise.
To (cause to) move far apart in different directions.
A meeting, especially one that happens by chance (=accidentally).
A place, especially a small group of buildings or a town, that represents the authority or business interests of a government or company that is far away.
Are You ready for a quiz?
1. Kilgore……………………. (love) the smell of napalm in the morning.
2. They………………….(like) surfing.
3. Colonel Kurtz……………….. (be) insane.
4. Willard…………….. (join) the crew.
5. …………. (do) he have enough courage?
6. …………..(be) he courageous?
7. When………………..(do) one of the most memorable scene begin?
8. It……………….(begin) when the helicopters ………….. (approach).
9. They ………………. (order) to find and kill Kurtz.
10. The military superiors and the CIA operative………………..(be) in an office.
11. His crew …………….. (help) him to go upriver. (as a single unit)
12. They………………. (be) on a boat.
13. They……………………..(not/like) Kurtz’s people.
14. Willard…………………….(be/not/afraid) of Kurtz.
15. Willard never ……………… (cry).
Maybe another one? 🙂