He's always flirting with you

One girls says that to another to encourage her to talk to a boy. She's not irritated in any way -- and that's what this structure is generally used for. Is she stressing with this more-in-the-now construction that she's being silly to have confidence issues regarding talking to the boy? After all it's clear that he likes her.

What can you say about this usage?

  • 2
    The sentence as it stands, without context, means only that he has been flirting with "you" a lot recently, and the speaker expects him to continue. To draw anything else from it (irritation, confidence, whatever) would need much more context.
    – Peter
    Jan 22 at 9:54
  • Consider: 1. That boy in your class, that you like - he's always flirting with you - maybe you'll be dating soon! 2. That teacher aged 35, who is married with two children - he's always flirting with you - I think that's creepy! Jan 22 at 10:56

1 Answer 1


The use of "always" + present continuous can add an emotional tone to an utterance (in comparison with the simple present). That is the tone here: One girl is trying to b emotionally empathetic with the other, as a rhetorical feature to persuade her friend.

When "always" + present continuous is used, it often adds the tone of "irritation", since this is the most likely emotion to express about a repeated action. If you are happy with the repeated action, you don't usually need to bring emotion to your statement. But it doesn't mean irritation. It only adds emotional weight to a sentence.

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