A: Why don't you just focus on making the best of it for yourself as well as for your children?

B: Maybe that's what I'm trying to do.

A: But then why do you only see / are you only seeing them a couple of times a month?

  • Would you see this as a fixed thing and use simple present, or see it as a temporary situation and use the present continuous?

  • Would native speakers care about which one to use in examples like this?

  • 3
    I would regard both as idiomatic. Mar 14 at 17:45
  • 2
    To the final question: no. Mar 14 at 18:47

1 Answer 1


There is a difference between the use of the simple present and present continuous. Generally, we use the simple present when talking about facts, or things that we do habitually, rather than actions that are currently happening/ongoing. We use the present continuous for the latter.

However, in the context of your sentence, the end of the sentence which reads "a couple of times a month" already implies that this is a habitual thing. Therefore you could use either of these constructions in this particular example. I think the difference, if there is one, is very subtle. I'm a native English speaker and see no problems with either of these. The context is really important here.

  • 1
    The sentence in question implies rather than infers....... Mar 14 at 20:49
  • @RonaldSole Sure . . whatever ;)
    – Billy Kerr
    Mar 14 at 21:33

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