I know that the verb to see can be used in the Present Continuous tense if it means:

  1. to visit/to meet someone: I'm seeing my dentist tomorrow (I've got an appointment).
  2. to watch (a movie/concert/play/sports game): I'm seeing a cool film now! (interestingly, The Collins Dictionary says that we cannot use the verb in any Continuous tense if it means to watch; though many people don't seem to know or care about it)
  3. to date someone: I was seeing her but I wasn't her committed boyfriend.

But I don't quite understand why TV meteorologists often use the verb to see in the Present Continuous. Check out the video (2:53):

Off the Atlantic high pressure will continue to expand through the Iberian Peninsula and will start to create things rather calm. But we are still seeing some of those waves out there picking up to 5 meters on the coast of Portugal.

In her next (!) sentence (3:01), the meteorologist says:

Throughout much of North America we're still seeing rather clear skies.

To me it sounds emphatic but ungrammatical.

Is it really ungrammatical or is it just my sensation? If it is grammatical, why is to see used in the Present Continuous tense?

1 Answer 1


There are two ways that the idea can be expressed, both of them grammatical:

Throughout much of North America, we can still see rather clear skies.

Here, we can see clear skies if we look at them.

Throughout much of North America we're still seeing rather clear skies.

Here, we are looking at the skies and what we are seeing is that they are clear.

In reality, both versions of the sentence, in conversational speech, convey the same thing:

(Pointing to a graphic.) "Look! Clear skies!"

So, the difference I ascribe to the two is not really something that most people think about. Either version is fine.

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