I deduced like in the title above by the reason of information I got from my book, but I doubt that it is not correct to use

Why does it is sounding like...

The problem is taken from an exercise book [Advanced Grammar in Use, Hewings, 2015].

Use the present continuous; if this is not possible, use the present simple.

  1. A: What's that noise? B: It __ like a bird stuck in the chimney.

The key answer only provides one answer i.e. sounds (Usually, the book will give other answers if there's any).

The reason, I think, it's also correct to use present continuous is, I remember a line from a novel that there was a character complaining about her life and she said:

Am I sounding like an ungrateful child? (I hope I remember it correctly, but I can't guarantee it)

In my view, both cases have the same sense, meaning, shouldn't we be able to use present continuous in the sentence taken from my book? If it isn't, does it mean the grammar in the novel is incorrect? It's an interactive novel from an app named Choices, actually a story when the reader can choose their own path of stories.

  • It is sounding like this is the same kind of "Indian English" usage that leads to utterances like I am loving my mother's home-baked apple pie - which "mainstream" Anglophones would never say. Oct 19, 2021 at 11:52

1 Answer 1


This phraseology is not always incorrect - the reason it is incorrect in your example is because of what "it" (the subject) refers to.

In the example you compare to, someone asks if they sound like something - an ungrateful child. Presumably, they are not a child, and they don't normally sound like one. They are asking if their present mode of speech, either the words they expressed or the way they expressed them, made them sound that way.

But, in your example in question, someone has heard a sound and doesn't know what is making the sound. The subject - "it" - is the sound itself. It doesn't make sense to say that the sound is presently sounding like something - they are talking about what it sounds like in general, to identify what it is.

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