I'm learning English with text books and it says the present progressive form means an action or event taking place at the present time and the action or event has limited duration. It is truth that the earth moves around the sun and then I wonder that we can use "moving" here if an action or event to which a verb in the progressive form refers must end in some future.

Is it right to use "moving" in sentences like "the earth is moving around the sun."?

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    I don't think it's correct to say that the present progressive can only be used when "the action or event has limited duration". The present progressive only comments on what is happening right now - that's it (as long as there are no time modifiers like "I am going to school tomorrow"). Nov 29, 2018 at 17:09

2 Answers 2


Yes, it's fine to use the progressive tense since the Earth is certainly moving (insofar as we can say anything is "moving" in relative terms, but that's a different subject).

This is an interesting case since it's fine to use either the present or the progressive tense, depending on whether we want to focus on the current state or the current action:

The Earth revolves around the sun once per year.

The Earth is revolving around the sun, even as we seemingly stand here motionless.

You can do the same thing in various other contexts, depending on whether you want to focus on the situation or the action. Some examples:

That man walks/is walking by my house every few minutes.

She attends/is attending a prestigious university

I read/am reading stories to young children at the library every Sunday.

If you do use the progressive, however, it's usually to relate the action to something else happening at the same time.

I am reading stories to young children that morning, so I can't join you for coffee until afterwards.


What is your source saying that present progressive can only be used when "the event has limited duration"? I am not aware of any such rule. I wonder if you are mis-stating what your source said, or if they worded something poorly.

We routinely use present progressive for things that continue or might continue indefinitely. "The Earth is moving around the Sun." "The grass is growing in the field." "God is ruling from Heaven." Etc.

  • Judging by the state of the world, God isn't doing a great job! Nov 30, 2018 at 0:41
  • @RonaldSole So you see human beings committing all sorts of evil acts, stealing and oppression and rape and murder, and you conclude that God isn't doing a good job ... but apparently you still have faith in human beings. :-)
    – Jay
    Nov 30, 2018 at 17:08
  • this discussion is continued page 94 Nov 30, 2018 at 17:28

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