I was wondering whether which one of these two phrases would be correct?

  1. How are they being supported?
  2. How are they supported?
  • Both versions are syntactically valid - in many contexts they'd be (more or less) interchangeable, but sometimes one would be much more suitable than the other, and there may be contexts where only one would be "acceptable / correct / idiomatic". So you should give us a more precise explanation of the context you have in mind - as things stand, we don't even know if you're talking about a family in need of metaphorical financial support, or something like roof beam trusses on an architect's drawing. Commented Jun 5, 2018 at 13:26

1 Answer 1


As @fumblefingers points out, there is a slight difference between your two examples, thought they can often be used interchangably

How are they being supported?

Tends to have a more active and habitual intent for a particular purpose where if the support were to end, whatever is being talked about would fail.

How are the refugees being supported (in the refugee camps)?
The Red Cross is providing relief aid and shelter.

How is the Red Cross being supported for refugee relief? (in particular)
Private and public donations can be earmarked for emergency relief.

How is the Red Cross supported? (in general)
Through donations of money, clothing, and supplies throughout the year.

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