0
  • A cheat sheet that shows the most used irregular verbs
  • A cheat sheet showing most used irregular verbs

The former sentence is in simple present, and the latter one is in continuous present. I know that both versions are in use, but at my view only the first one is correct.

Is it idiomatic to use continuous present in such cases? That is, in cases where normally the simple present should be used.

1
  • A cheat sheet that shows the most used irregular verbs
  • A cheat sheet showing the most used irregular verbs

Both are correct (although neither is a complete sentence, of course; both will become correct full sentences if you put "I would like" at the front of them).

(I have added "the" before "most" to your second version, so that the sentences properly parallel each other. Without the "the", it reads less well.)

The first (...that shows...) has a noun phrase ("a cheat sheet") followed by a subordinate clause (beginning with "that"). The verb of the subordinate clause ("shows") is in the simple present, as you correctly identified.

The second (...showing...) has a noun phrase followed by a participle clause. The verb of the participle clause is "showing". This is not in the present continuous. The present continuous would be "is showing". Here, there is no "is", so it can't be present continuous. This "showing" is a participle but isn't present continuous, nor past continuous, nor future continuous.

A participle clause can be used to postmodify a noun phrase - this is perfectly correct. Examples from Longman's Student Grammar of Spoken and Written English (by D. Biber, S. Conrad, and G. Leech) include:

  • families attending the local clinic
  • a jeep travelling down Beach Road
  • a society consisting of educated people

These can equally well be expressed as follows:

  • families who attend the local clinic
  • a jeep that is travelling down Beach Road
  • a society that consists of educated people

Depending on the context, the actual equivalents might be "...who attended...", "...was travelling..." etc, since the participle clauses work equally well in sentences about the future or past ("I saw a jeep travelling down Beach Road").

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.