I'm doing my best in distinguishing between the meaning of the Present Simple form and the meaning of the Present Continuous form. Every day I read some texts and highlight the extracts consisting such grammar that perplex me.
I'm asking you to help me make sense of all this.
Labour's Hillary Benn — who chairs the Brexit select committee — said it was a "big step forward" and called it "significant". (The BBC's article)
Why is the verb used in the Present Simple form here? I consider the action to be temporary, because this person is a chairwoman at the moment, not forever. Am I wrong?
From the UK to South Korea, seismic "detectives" are tracking the causes of anomalous tremors. (The BBC's article)
I don't understand why the continuous form is used in the phrase. The author tells us about doing some special things which are a part of the job of those people. So they do this regularly, not at the moment of speaking.
By listening carefully to what the ground is telling us, companies and governments may be better equipped to react — before it is too late. (The BBC's article)
Why is the Present Continuous chosen to express the thought which is similar to the "general truth", in a way? It is hard to argue with the author's statement, so isn't the Present Simple more appropriate?
This potential for habitat-switching leads to some pretty fantastical possibilities. (The BBC's article)
I have extracted this sentence from the text about the fauna of the distant future. The authors have some hypotheses and share them with readers. I wonder why the Present Simple form is used here. I think that the action is happening now (better say, during the time we live in), and there is no result at the moment. Such meaning of the phrase should be conveyed through the continuous form, shouldn't it?
The National Museum of Singapore transports visitors back 2000 years in time to experience life and death in the ancient Roman Empire. A new exhibition, Pompeii: Life in a Roman Village 79 CE reveals daily life in a city steeped in legend and mystery. (The Cambridge Student's Book's text)
Why is the Present Simple form chosen? In my opinion, an exhibition is a temporary event, so doesn't the continuous form better convey such meaning? Or, by using the Present Simple form, the author wants to emphasize that the action is "intermittent" and recurring? I mean that the days of the exhibition pass, new visitors come, so all of this can be described as something that happens regularly.
Now as for "reveals", why doesn't the author use the Present Continuous form? The new exhibition is time-limited, and it isn't permanent. I think that we should choose the Present Continuous in such a case.
Proton decay has never been observed so far despite some heroic research efforts. But this merely tells us that it takes trillions of years, if it happens. (The BBC's article)
I wonder whether it isn't possible to use the continuous form here. The phrase can be interpreted as the conclusion reached at the moment of speaking, it seems to me.
This once enabled people to petition the king in private without risk to his security but nowadays just provides great amusement to tourists. (The Cambridge Student's Book's text)
Why does the author use the Present Simple form? We see some situation in the past which has changed in the present, so we can't call the action happening in general. In my opinion, there are two temporary actions in the phrase (one in the past and one in the present), that's why we should use the continuous form.
The knowledge that Big God is watching makes sure we behave ourselves. (The BBC's article)
Isn't the Present Simple more appropriate here? People's life is under constant supervision by God and not only at the moment of speaking.
Winfrey, who plays the butler's wife, was asked if she had "ever been called the N-word". (The Guardian's news)
Why isn't the continuous form chosen? I think playing some role is an actor's "temporary state" because they don't play a same role all their life and the roles change. The butler's wife is Winfrey's current role, so, in my opinion, we should use the Present Continuous to convey such meaning.
More and more Jordanians are also breeding dogs and cats, and owners now proudly stroll through the capital with their pets on a leash. (The Yahoo!News' article)
I wonder why the author doesn't use the continuous form here. There are two actions ("are also breeding" and "stroll through") in the phrase. The former illustrates a change that has started to happen and the latter is a process going on around the time of speaking. I don't understand why the Present Continuous form isn't chosen to show the process.
I'm not making a stand against progress. I simply find life and work generally far easier without carrying what my 90-something aunt rather quaintly calls a "portable telephone". (The Cambridge Student's Book's text)
I think the Present Simple form is more appropriate when the author tells us about their ideal of living, not about some fleeting, ephemeral wish.