Here's an example sentence from a meme (imagine there's a man thinking about it with a wise look):

When you are thinking about how to reduce work without doing anything

Why not

When you think about how to reduce work without doing anything


And, if both are used, then in what cases each of them?

1 Answer 1


Grammar rules distinguish the two, but the decision to use one versus the other in a meme is a function of idiosyncrasies in casual English.

In this case, the use of "are thinking" vs "think" is due to the tenancy to use gerunds over infinite verbs.

For example, "I run to the store" and "I am running to the store" mean approximately the same thing. In other romance languages (e.g. in Spanish, "corro a la tienda"), the tenancy would be to use the infinite verb form: "I run to the store." In English, most native speakers would use the gerund instead: "I am running to the store."

  • Don't you mean "when I run to the store"? Because "I run to store" means you do it often(simple present for habitual),and "i am running" would suggest that you are doing it now ?
    – Prof-Wiz
    Aug 9, 2019 at 16:31

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