What's the difference between a limited duration, a temporary action and the current trend?

  1. "She is learning English." (Limited and temporary)

  2. "She is working in a bank." (Meaning temporarily but isn't it also limted?)

  3. "They are living in poverty.' (current trend as one of my books says)

Does the first sentence express a limited duration and isn't it also a temporary action? Does the third sentence express the current trend only?

"The current trend" was mentioned in my book "English Grammar in Context" by Michael Vince.

  • 1
    Can you give more details (ideally, a link) regarding current trend as one of my books says? Perhaps you misunderstood something there. Living in poverty isn't a "trend", so it makes no sense logically, and I can't imagine what aspect of grammar / semantics the writer is getting at there. Commented Feb 16, 2021 at 13:25
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    It may be a reference to "current trend" in the sense of a current tendency. "They are getting poorer" would be a legitimate example. (Not so much "They are living in poverty", which is a temporary state rather than a tendency.)
    – rjpond
    Commented Feb 16, 2021 at 14:09
  • The book calls it a trend. It gives these sentences: "Some kids are carrying more than 25 % of their body weight... which is giving them serious backache." It says both the present simple and progressive are correct when we are talking about a current trend and activity. I listed the definitions from my books. I didn't want to frame them in these categories. If I understand correctly a current activity and a temporary action and limited duration mean the same thing but a current trend is another thing. Commented Feb 16, 2021 at 16:44
  • If the present simple and progressive are both correct when we describe current trends and current activities, are they interchangeable when we are talking about a limited duration and temporary actions? Commented Feb 16, 2021 at 16:47

1 Answer 1


It is easy to understand the notional differences between:

A limited duration - a specified period, generally in which to complete an action or process.
A temporary action - an action that starts and stops, as opposed to one that continues indefinitely.
A current trend - a popular activity, fashion or similar.

However, it it not easy to define what is signified by temporary and permanent in your sentences.

One can learn English for a short time, a long time or the whole of one's life.
A job in a bank can be temporary or permanent.
Living in poverty is a state rather than a trend.
Insofar as trends are limited by definition to certain periods and poverty has been with humanity through-out recorded history, I certainly wouldn't call it a trend.

The question is why you wish to frame these actions/states in these categories. They are matters of interpretation.

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