I want to know difference between the following sentences.

  1. Is your English getting better?
  2. Does your English get better?

I am not sure about the nuance of each. Also my book says "We use the present continuous when we talk about changes happening around now". But I'm not sure what this means.

UPDATED: In brief, If I want to use be-ing form sentence, this sentence does not need any other expression. But if I want to use do/does, it needs to supplement. Right? Then which one is sentence correct of the following. 1.What is he studying? 2.What does he study?

  • your second sentence is incorrect
    – Leo
    Nov 15, 2014 at 15:39
  • @Leo : Why? Why the sentence is incorrect? As I know, that seems not incorrect grammartically.
    – Carter
    Nov 15, 2014 at 15:40
  • 1
    @Carter it's correct - it's just likely to have no meaningful answer without any context. A question seeking a useful answer would also provide the circumstances in which the question is framed (see Tetsujin's answer)
    – ataulm
    Nov 15, 2014 at 19:21

6 Answers 6

  1. Is your English getting better?

As tunny says, this one's fine. It's a direct question about your English language ability and how you perceive its progress.

  1. Does your English get better?

On its own it doesn't really say anything, but it could become a useful sentence with an addition...

Does your English get better if you practise frequently & study hard?

  • Whoops! Your answer appeared while mine was still in the hopper. You addressed the second question quite well.
    – JimM
    Nov 15, 2014 at 16:51
  • It's not own...
    – Ruslan
    Nov 15, 2014 at 19:37
  • "it's not own" makes no sense whatsoever. Nov 15, 2014 at 20:00
  • 1
    Maybe this is too picky, but "it's" is only the contraction for "it is". As a possessive pronoun, oddly, the apostrophe should be omitted.
    – JimM
    Nov 15, 2014 at 20:58
  • 2
    ahh, didn't spot my typo, thanks... but "its not own" still makes no sense to me ;-) Nov 15, 2014 at 20:59

1.Is your English getting better?

This is fine. The speaker is asking about the current state of your English

2. Do your English get better?

This is grammatically incorrect. English is 3rd person singular; the auxiliary verb form needs to be does. Does your English get better? is asking about the general/habitual/repeated improvement in your English. It is not very natural unless some context is provided, for example, by adding "... when you are on holiday in England?"

2-1. Do your English good?

This means nothing,

  • Sorry tunny, I missed that. So I have just updated it. Please let me know What does differences between them.
    – Carter
    Nov 15, 2014 at 15:52
  • 'Does your English good?' is not a possible question. There is no main verb. You could say, for example, 'Does your English sound good'?
    – tunny
    Nov 15, 2014 at 15:55
  • It's in personal correspondence from maybe the mid-1800s, but consider How are you all — does your health improve in your more quiet manner of living?. The usage is a bit dated/stilted, but I don't see how it's any different to OP's example #2. Nor do I think you can say either are "grammatically incorrect" - it's just "not very natural" (and thus probably not worth knowing, for today's learners). Nov 15, 2014 at 16:11
  • 2
    My mistake. The do/does error had already been corrected in the question itself, and I just assumed your #2 matched what I'd just read there. You're quite right that it's not a very "natural" form even after the simple tense correction. Nov 15, 2014 at 18:45
  • 3
    '@FumbleFingers. This is one of the drawbacks in a system that allows corrections in a post after it has received a response.
    – tunny
    Nov 15, 2014 at 18:53
"Is your English getting better?"

This is the correct sentence. The other sentence implies "At some point during our conversation, will your English get better?". You could use that phrasing when speaking of an ongoing experience, such as "Does this movie get better?" although this would likely be considered too direct for conversation. The getting in the correct phrase is in the present continuous tense, but I stress there are situations where the combination Does this NOUN get ADJECTIVE? will be perfectly acceptable. Sentences such as Does this RADIO get LOUDER? or Does this TREE get TALLER? would be useful in conversation. In this situation, it implies the future, but not the present. Think about how the ing and does changes the experience. Is this radio getting louder? or Is this tree getting taller? relates that the experience is taking place right now, before your eyes. I hope that helps you understand the nuances better.

  • Thanks if you can would you please let me know more a bit?
    – Carter
    Nov 18, 2014 at 14:18

A verb in its original tense/form is used to talk about

  • **general preference
  • a fact that doesn't change
  • something that happens regularly without change
  • something that is not limited to this moment, temporarily.**

Some examples are,

  • Water boils at 100 degrees, (this is a fact that doesn't change)
  • School starts at 8:00 AM, (every day)
  • I do not like eating pizza (it's a general fact or preference that will not change)

So, compare the following sentences:

  • Are you listening to music? (now?)
  • Do you listen to music? (usually? or ever?)
  • Is your brother studying for the test? (now, for "the test")
  • Does your brother study before tests? (whenever he has a test)
  • Is your English getting better? (is it getting better right now?)
  • Does your English get better? (generally. usually not used like this)

Get it? You can improve the last sentence by adding a certain condition.

  • Does your English get better by practicing every day?
  • Does your English get better by reading books?

So what do you think? Try the following questions:

**"Hey, I saw you while driving home yesterday. You seemed to be in rush. I recall seeing you last week and the week before that. So, where _____________ on Sundays?"

  1. are you going
  2. do you go

"On Sundays? Oh! Do you remember my friend that I told you about who plays the drum? Well, he is staying here for a few months, and he _______________.

  1. gives me drum lessons every Sunday.
  2. is giving me drum lessons every Sunday.**

For both #1&2, the answer is '2'.

What ______________ on Saturday next week?

  1. do you do
  2. are you doing

What ______________ on Saturday usually?

  1. are you doing
  2. do you do


______________ better?

  1. is your English getting

  2. does your English get

  • Please let me know the answers as to your questions? Actually I don't know what you want to said.
    – Carter
    Nov 18, 2014 at 14:13
  • What they are thinking as to like this "Does your English get better?" seems like a very empty question and needs some additional context."
    – Carter
    Nov 18, 2014 at 14:21
  • I just have updated my question. Please let me know about that.
    – Carter
    Nov 18, 2014 at 14:46

"Is your English getting better?" completely obeys all conditions of the English language needed to satisfy the "requirements" for a sentence to be a proper sentence, including tense and object subject relation.

"Does your English get better?" seems like a very empty question and needs some additional context. Although it does follow all "requirements," it would sound better with something following the question or possibly a leading conditional statement or expression, such as: "I've been practicing reading and writing for hours with my teacher, but I feel like my speech isn't improving in the slightest. Does your English (ever) get better (with time)?"


I'd replace 'getting better' with 'improving' for which one definition is 'to become better'. The first question asks about the learner's progress. The second question requires more. 'Does your English improve as you perform the exercises in Rosetta Stone?

  • Have you any particular reason for your preference for getting better over improving?
    – tunny
    Nov 15, 2014 at 18:56
  • Have you any reason for preferring 'getting better'?
    – tunny
    Nov 15, 2014 at 18:57

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