Does the verb “determine“ have present progressive form?

For example:

Although book reviews may determine whether a given book will be extensively sold, many works succeed commercially despite negative reviews.

In this sentence, can we use present progressive form with the verb “to determine“ like “book reviews are determining whether...”?

1 Answer 1


First, note that determine has a meaning akin to "work out", or "decide", which is a normal verb which can be used in the progressive form. But you are talking about a difference sense: something like "govern" or "set the course for".

In your sense, like most stative verbs, "determine" can have a progressive form, but it is highly marked and used in restricted circumstances, to emphasise that it is something happening at some precise moment - often there is an implication that this will not continue for long.

I found one example in the iWeb corpus:

... because it's wealth that is determining the course of countries, especially the USA ... (from here)

The use of "is determining" implies that this is the case at the moment, but hasn't always been, and may not be in the future.

But for your example, I can't think of a context in which may be determining would make sense.

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