Arab World English Journal
AWEJ Vol.2 No. 4 December 2011                                                                                                pp. 286-301

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Pragmatics and Grammar: A Contextual Analysis of the Auxiliary Verb “Be” with the Present
Participle and the Past Participle

Drs. Supardi, MPd
UPT – Language Centre
University of Jember

In both English Grammar Course books and TOEFL Preparation Course books, it is frequently explained that the auxiliary verb be can be followed by either the present participle or the past participle. Though it is grammatically possible to put these two forms of participle after be, in a sentence only one of them is appropriate or accepted. This possibility of having the two participles (present and past) after the verb „be‟ can of course make the EFL English as a Foreign Language) students, especially the beginners, feel confused. It would be difficult for them to make appropriate choices when they are completing some exercises from English grammar books or doing grammar and structure section of TOEFL examination. As a result, they could make a mistake. Hence, it is not enough for the EFL learners to have only grammatical knowledge, but it is also necessary for them to know pragmatics. To mphasize the importance of pragmatics for EFL learners, this paper analyzes the grammatical construction of the verb be followed by either the present participle or the past participle. Such analysis provides a solid understanding of how pragmatics is important for the EFL learners in the context of using the participles appropriately. The paper explores the grammatical construction of the verb forms after the verb be. It also analyzes the relationship between pragmatics and grammar.

Keywords: pragmatics, context, present participle, past participle, EFL learner