I have the following exercise in my textbook:

This weekend costs / is costing me a fortune — but it’s worth it.

It is asked to choose the correct or more natural form of cost.

The correct answer is costing. It does make some sense to me: the situation is temporary. But why is the present simple not appropriate here?

For example, the present simple can be used here:

This cake tastes wonderful. Where did you buy it?

Both “cost” and “taste” can be seen as stative verbs to which the present simple, to my knowldge, should apply. Why such inconsistency?

  • 1
    "this trip" is a temporary, specific trip, happening in your life now. The taste of the cake is a characteristic of the cake, it's a different approach. Good question, by the way.
    – anouk
    Dec 19, 2022 at 16:36

1 Answer 1


A sentence such as:

This weekend costs me a fortune.

using the simple present is indeed not usual. Possible alternates would include:

  • This weekend has cost me a fortune.
  • This weekend will cost me a fortune.
  • This weekend is costing me a fortune.

Perhaps this is because the act of costing does not take place at a single moment, but in the past, in the future, or over a period. Or perhaps it is just a matter of accepted usage. It is often the case in English that certain constructions are not common and are not thought natural, without there being any clear or logical rule to explain why.

In this case similar constructions using other verbs, such as "taste" or "run" are commonly used. Perhaps soemoen can describe this with a "rule" but I cannot.

  • I'll add that I can't find a rule against using costs here. Your textbook sucks; it's pedantic. I taught EFL/ESL for over a decade in Asia. This is normal. Also, the apparent contradiction is partly due to there not really being any rule, and also partly due to language being the product of a bunch of stupid people. Most humans don't really try to develop coherent ideas about things; those humans outnumber the ones that do. So, they win the language wars.
    – Pound Hash
    Dec 20, 2022 at 21:33

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