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Can I use "stuck" with a continuous form? In other words, shall I say about a parcel that has not arrived:

Hope it is not being stuck in the Christmas post

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No, one would not typically use "stuck" in a continuous construction. Your example should be:

I hope it is not stuck in the Christmas post.

The only common continuous constructions are for referring to the state change from stuck to unstuck, such as "becoming stuck" or "getting stuck", or for referring to repeating events, such as "being stuck in traffic every day". However, when referring to a single occurrence, the continuous should no longer be used once the state has changed.

Similarly, one would only say "something is being destroyed" while the destruction is happening. Afterwards, you would say "it is destroyed."

  • why can we say "he is being silly" and not "it is being stuck", as both won't last forever? – user5577 Jan 3 at 15:19
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    @user5577 Because "being stuck" only refers to the single point in time when something becomes stuck, e.g. stops moving. Once the motion has stopped, the the thing is no longer becoming stuck, it is stuck. – Tashus Jan 3 at 15:25
  • @Tashus - Agreed. It is interesting, though, how we can say, "I hope it is not being held in the Christmas post." – J.R. Jan 3 at 15:28
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    @J.R. The difference is that holding something is a continuous action, whereas sticking is a process that must complete before the object's state has changed. Similarly we would only say "someone is being killed" at the time of their death. – Tashus Jan 3 at 15:30
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    @user5577 That is a reasonable thought, but it is not the case here. "Sticking" describes the process rather than the state. The state is simply "stuck". – Tashus Jan 3 at 15:46

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