While reading an article, I came across this sentence

French President Emmanuel Macron has said he is sure Syrian fighters were operating in Nagorno-Karabakh, where Armenia and Azerbaijan are engaged in heavy fighting.

My question is about the part of the sentence that reads "are engaged in heavy fighting." What I want to know is what is the difference between "are engaged" and "are engaging"? Intuitively, the second one makes more sense to me.

1 Answer 1


In the sense of this sentence engaged implies it is an ongoing conflict that has been happening for some time. It can also be used in past tense. Whilst engaging implies there is a sudden outbreak of conflict.

Consider these two example sentences:

During the war, we engaged with the enemy forces near the river for 3 days straight.


"We have heard reports that the marines are engaging the enemeny soldiers as we speak. Is this true?" the interviewer asked the general.

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