I read the following example sentence in Eastwood‘s Oxford Guide to English Grammar :

You are lucky to be winning.

Also in OED is the same construct- that of the progressive found:

the government is winning the battle against inflation

The verb win seems to me an action of achievement, i.e. it is rather instantaneous than durative. So I didn’t expect any progressive aspectuality of it and the progressive form be winning sounds rather nonsense to me. Could any one help work out a reasonable interpretation of the meaning communicated via this progressive form?

1 Answer 1


It simply means "in the lead", or "on target". You are progressing towards a win.

You are lucky to be winning.

In the context of a sport or game, this means you are luck to be in the lead.

The government is winning the battle against inflation.

Metaphorically the government is "battling" against "inflation". If the government is winning, then they are on target to get rid of inflation.

You can use "losing" in the same way.

Chelsea are losing 2-Nil.

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