In the last movie made by Boulie Landers,"Nobody has to know" a character was taking care of a dog that he did not own. The owners were on vacation and before leaving they had asked him to take care of the dog. But they have just come back and want their dog back. Hearing that the owners of the dog were back he said "I'm not giving back the dog".

Why did he not say 'I won't give him back' , what is the difference between these two versions? For me "is not giving" is only for a moment. He is not giving back the dog now but he may give it back later (in a month , a year...)

Does 'Is not giving' express future or present tense. I would say that 'is giving' expresses both tenses in this case.

I've got another question, should I write "asked" instead of "had asked" .I think 'had asked' is better but "before" indicates the order of the actions so past simple could be good too.

  • Can you please explain what "I think 'had asked' is better but because of before past simple can fit too." means? Does it mean you think it is better because past simple fits too?
    – DialFrost
    Commented May 27, 2022 at 5:48

1 Answer 1


The "present continous" is sometimes used to speak of future times and events that follow directly from the current state. It is rather like a slightly stronger form of the "be going to" future.

So "I'm playing tennis tomorrow" means the same as "I'm going to play tennis tomorrow" (but the speaker is very certain that the tennis game will happen, as it follows directly)

Similarly "I'm not giving the dog back" is a very certain and determined way to say "I'm not going to give the dog back"

(In your narration of the question, "had asked" is correct because the "asking" happened prior to the time that you are talking about in the story.)

  • so the only difference between "I won't give the dog back" and "I'm not giving the dog back" is the time" giving" is now won't give is in the future . Both expressions means that it is very certain . I thought " won't give " was stronger........
    – Yves Lefol
    Commented May 27, 2022 at 7:26

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