An average user of social media feels that he is underperfoming and his self-esteem is constantly decreasing.

I used tenses in this sentence instinctively, and after I had finished I started to wonder whether it is okay. And I am not sure about it.

I guess that one feels something anyway, hence simple, while underperforming and decreasing are continuous "actions" which can be easily stopped, for example by quitting social media.

So, I suppose it would be quite awkard(?):

An average user of social media feels that he underperforms and his self-esteem constantly decreases.

1 Answer 1


I would say that your sentences are essentially equivalent in meaning, and the first with the present progressive tense sounds slightly better to me, but I'd phrase it slightly differently:

An average user of social media will feel their work [?] performance suffer as well as their self-esteem.

The question mark is because I assume by "underperform" you are talking about work, but I'm not sure.

I would use the gender-neutral "they"/"their" if you're talking about people of any gender.

I would use "will" to indicate that the feelings come as a result of using social media - the future tense puts the feelings in a time after the time when social media is used (i.e., using social media leads to these negative feelings).

I would also rephrase the part that talks about the two actions - it might be personal/stylistic preference, but I think if you're saying "action 1 and action 2" where both actions are pretty much the same (in this case, decreasing/suffering) it sounds better to use two nouns with one verb to emphasize this fact.

  • I used "underperform" in a context of life in general. So, a user sees only healthy, happy persons on those media, and they wrongly compare their lifes with pictures/videos of others, and then there is this feeling of underperforming.
    – ziolek
    Feb 27, 2019 at 16:58
  • 1
    @ziolek I see. At least as a native American English speaker, using the word "underperform" for a person's life in general sounds weird to me. I might also word it this way: "For the average person, using social media will lead to feelings of inadequacy and low self-worth". I think "inadequacy" conveys what you're talking about - that such a person would feel like they don't measure up to other people they see on social media.
    – Mixolydian
    Feb 28, 2019 at 19:42

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