When answering the question about what I like to do in my favourite weather which is the correct choice of tense the present simple or the progressive?

  1. I write poetry and try to write a book.

If I use the present simple that would mean that's what I usually do. But with the progressive if I say "I am trying" it would refer to a temporary action.

  1. I write poetry and I am trying to write a book. (currently)

The question is from the book by Casey Malarcher "Reading Challenge".

  • 1
    There no rule about expressing a generality followed by a specific activity. However, temporary action is not quite right, it is one occurring at the present time.
    – Lambie
    May 17, 2021 at 17:02
  • Then should I use the progressive in "I am writing" and "I am trying"? May 17, 2021 at 17:12
  • As I said, there is no rule. I write poetry [a general thing] and am trying [at this moment in time] to write a book. Verb parallelism is only for very formal writing, like an essay.
    – Lambie
    May 17, 2021 at 17:57

1 Answer 1


You understand what the tenses mean. The problem is you're trying to combine two sentences with different tenses into one. One of which answers the question about what you do in general ("I write poetry") and the the other of which is not a direct answer to the question, but a comment about a specific project you're currently working on.

So make them two sentences, or at least don't try to join them with a simple "and".

e.g. "I write poetry. And currently, I'm trying to write a book." or even just "I write poetry, but currently I'm trying to write a book."

  • The book's question confuses me. It asks what I like to do when the weather is good. :s That's why I thought I should use the progressive to talk about what I like to do when/while the weather is good. May 17, 2021 at 17:20
  • 1
    @AntoniaA If you want to combine the two, just adjust your sentence so the tenses are similar. "I write poetry or work on my book." Most people understand that in the context of books, working on a book means the book isn't completed, so any work done on it is an attempt to complete it.
    – Edwin Buck
    May 17, 2021 at 17:26
  • 1
    "What do you like to do in this weather?" is not directly answered by the progressive "I am writing poetry" - it would be directly answered by "I (like to) write poetry (in this weather)". To answer with "I am writing poetry" would be to tell them what you are currently doing, but not to answer what you generally do.
    – Dronz
    May 17, 2021 at 17:28
  • 1
    "What do you like to do in this weather?" means in general. "What are you liking doing in this weather?" would be asking what you're currently liking doing, and would be answered in the progressive and with current examples like trying to write a specific book.
    – Dronz
    May 17, 2021 at 17:36
  • 1
    I only think your advice is sound for a formal context, like a college application. Otherwise, it's fine.
    – Lambie
    May 17, 2021 at 17:39

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