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I know that according to standard grammar rules in sentences with expressions of frequency such as ‘on a regular basis‘ we are recommended to opt for The Present Simple tense, but the below sentence from an exercise grammar book looks a bit puzzling for me as it, in my view, holds the idea of temporality in itself, I might be wrong though.

  • This involves not only planting new kinds of crops, but also strange ways of making money, the most unusual of which has got to be sheep racing. Yes, you heard me correctly! A farmer in the west of England is now holding/ OR holds sheep races on a regular basis an during the past years 100,000 people have turned up to watch the proceedings.

My question is whether both options fit the context.

Thanks in advance.

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It is possible to express the basic facts of this newspaper headline

SHEEP RACES AT LOCAL FARM

in a number of ways. We can say

A local farmer holds sheep races on his farm.

The implication of the simple present is that this is something he does on a regular basis.

But we could also say:

A local farmer is holding sheep races on his farm.

The implication of the continuous is that these races are happening at the present time. They are ongoing these days. They are not something he did last year and then stopped doing. We can be sure of that.

Now, just because we add the word regularly to the sentence does not require us to use the simple present. Not at all. The simple fact is that a word like "regularly" is not necessary if you use the simple present. And if you don't have a word like "regularly" in the sentence, and want to convey the idea of "regular practice", you need the simple present to convey that idea.

And we can use the word "regularly" with the continuous tense (is regularly holding or is holding ... regularly) to indicate an ongoing practice that is not erratic or haphazard but on some time schedule, such as every Saturday, or every third Sunday, or whatever.

A local farmer is holding sheep races on his farm regularly.

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