I just bought a record from rough trade website. After I completed the order, I saw the sentence:

"Where we are sending it"

Why is this present continuous and not present simple? Is it because it is an arrangement or is it because they are already sending it? I don't think so as I ordered it on Sunday and very often Sunday is a closed day. Or is it a commercial way to say that they are very efficient? The customer has barely completed his order that it is already sent.

  • arrangement is a good way to understand its use here; a process has ensued and is underway.
    – TimR
    Jun 24, 2017 at 13:40
  • 3
    Can you provide more context? What came before and after it? On its own, this looks incomplete. Jun 24, 2017 at 18:16
  • I don't have any more context, the check out was finished , it was the summary of the order, and I saw this sentence "Where we are sending it"
    – Yves Lefol
    Jun 25, 2017 at 5:37
  • Sounds like they meant to say where are we sending it? This construction implies that the fulfillment of the order is already in process. They have taken your information, received your payment, the information in in their computers and, thus, their fulfillment process has begun.
    – Brillig
    Jun 29, 2017 at 18:09
  • I slightly disagree with Brillig. "Where we are sending it" could work as a subheading or as a caption followed by a colon (though "Delivery Address" would arguably be more conventional). There is no need to turn it into a question.
    – rjpond
    Sep 2, 2017 at 7:51

2 Answers 2


If I say, "I'm sending you a parcel", it doesn't mean I'm posting it right now. It probably doesn't even mean that I'm preparing or packing the item right now. It is more of a statement of intent, albeit a firm intent and a more immediate and definite intention compared with "I'm planning to send it".

"I send you a parcel" would make it sound like it something I do habitually or repeatedly. "Where we send it" would suggest that they're going to be sending it multiple times.

"Where we are sending it" isn't a complete sentence, but could work as a sub-heading or caption above a delivery address.

The above is my intuition as a native speaker, but here are some sources:

  • "Use the Simple Present to express the idea that an action is repeated or usual. he action can be a habit, a hobby, a daily event, a scheduled event or something that often happens. It can also be something a person often forgets or usually does not do." ( https://www.englishpage.com/verbpage/simplepresent.html )

  • "Use the Present Continuous with Normal Verbs to express the idea that something is happening now, at this very moment." But also: "Sometimes, we use the Present Continuous to say that we are in the process of doing a longer action which is in progress; however, we might not be doing it at this exact second." And: "Sometimes, speakers use the Present Continuous to indicate that something will or will not happen in the near future." ( https://www.englishpage.com/verbpage/presentcontinuous.html )

Thus, it can be seen that the present continuous can mean many different things and isn't always a reference to what's happening right now.


For verbs that represent actual physical actions (and not feelings or statuses), English present simple has an awkward "narrative" effect to it unless it's understood from context to express a habit or there is an explicit "occurrence" expression (like everyday, every other day, each hour, etc.)

Without that understanding/occurrence expression - it's typically not used unless you are "self-announcing" your actions, and almost never used if the verb describes a motion or transport.

I feel bad for him (typical, OK - feel in this sense is not a physical activity)

I make myself a cup of coffee (sounds like you're logging your actions to something or playing a role-playing game)

I am making myself a cup of coffee (idiomatic - and yes, it can mean you will make yourself a cup of coffee soon, or that right now in the present you are doing that)

Everyday I make myself a cup of coffee (ok due to "occurrence" expression)

I walk to the park (a listener/reader will probably assume you mean this in the context of exercising regularly)

I am walking to the park (idiomatic if you are trying to say you're walking to the park at this present time)

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