I am confused wirh the use of the present continuous tense in the following sentence. Please explain it to me whether the continuous tense should be used or not.

Mary is bilingual. She is speaking English now.

  • What is it about she is speaking English now that confuses you? – Jason Bassford Supports Monica Nov 30 '18 at 16:03
  • @Jason Bassford. It is said that the continuous tense cannot be used in this sense in OALD. – thein lwin Nov 30 '18 at 16:08
  • Please provide an actual reference to that statement. I am quite sure there is some confusion as to its interpretation. – Jason Bassford Supports Monica Nov 30 '18 at 16:12
  • [transitive] (not used in the progressive tenses) speak something to be able to use a particular language (from OALD) – thein lwin Dec 1 '18 at 4:58
  • Can you give an actual URL? (I can't find that text anywhere.) However, here is a site that shows all the conjugations of speak, including its present continuous form (speaking). – Jason Bassford Supports Monica Dec 1 '18 at 5:14

Mary is bilingual. She's speaking English now. She doesn't speak English every day.

One is at the present time and the other is a general statement.

I'm writing this answer now and I usually write answers here every day.

  • Thanks, Lambie, but in the OALD, it is said that 'speak' cannot be used in the continuous in this sense. – thein lwin Nov 30 '18 at 16:26
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    @theinlwin Lambie's got it exactly right. is speaking is used to say what the speaker is doing AT THIS VERY MOMENT. "She speaks English now" means that she is now capable of speaking English or that she habitually speaks English now, although she did not in the past. – StoneyB on hiatus Nov 30 '18 at 16:38
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    You must have misunderstood what it said. This is the standard rule for the present continuous tense in contrast to the simple present. – Lambie Nov 30 '18 at 16:42

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