2

Let me present some example sentences...

  1. The population of the world is increasing very fast
    (Why it does not use 'increases'?)

  2. At first I didn't like my job, but I'm beginning to enjoy it now.
    (Why it does not use 'I begin'?)


UPDATED: Additionally, Which sentence is correct?

3a. You can turn off the radio, I don't listen to it.
3b. You can turn off the radio, I'm not listening to it.

9
    1. The population of the world is increasing very fast.
      (Why it does not use 'increases'?)
    1. At first I didn't like my job, but I'm beginning to enjoy it now.
      (Why it does not use 'I begin'?)
  • 3a. You can turn off the radio, I don't listen to it.

  • 3b. You can turn off the radio, I'm not listening to it.

Which sentence is correct?

The present continuous construction is used to emphasise an action happening now. We can think of now as being different from (- as contrasting with) usually, habitually, generally or always.

When we talk about actions that happen usually, or always, we use the present simple:

  • I play the violin
  • I smoke
  • I work in London

If you see a man jumping up and down, and you ask him: "What do you do?". His answer will be something like "I am a teacher". He won't say "Jumping up and down". This is because you used a present simple form for the question. Therefore he is telling you what he does usually. If you ask him "What are you doing?", then that means "What are you doing NOW", because you used a present continuous form. He will say "I'm jumping up and down".

Of course, some things that we usually do, we are also doing right now too. When we choose the present simple or continuous, it sometimes just shows how we are thinking. For example, if you see a man fall off a building, you might ask "Is he breathing?". You know that he usually breathes! But you are interested in if he is breathing NOW!.

In sentence (1) the speaker is emphasizing that the increase in world population is happening at the moment. This makes it seem more dramatic. It also seems to make us think that the population didn't use to increase so fast (although it doesn't say this). If we say:

  1. The population of the world increases very fast.

This means it increases very fast all the time, or usually.

In sentence (2) the speaker has to use a continuous verb form, because we can't usually begin the same thing all the time!

In sentence (3a), the speaker never listens to the radio. So it doesn't matter if you turn it off. Maybe somebody different turned it on!

In sentence (3b), however, the speaker is just saying that they aren't listening to it NOW. Maybe they listen to it a lot. But at this moment they aren't. So you can turn it off.

Both of the sentences in (3) are correct. But they mean different things.

Note: The present continuous doesn't necessarily mean the action is happening 'this second'. But it does mean that we are thinking about the action as in progress at the moment, as opposed to happening usually. For example, I can say I'm reading Romeo and Juliet at the moment. This doesn't mean this second but it means I am currently in the middle of reading it. This still contrasts with reading it all the time, or regularly: I read Shakespeare means I read Shakespeare regularly.

Hope this is helpful!

5

The population of the world is increasing very fast. Why not “increases”?

This construction, the verb be followed by a participle, is called continuous: it means that the action is happening.

The simple present (increases) has often a different meaning.

At first I didn't like my job, but I'm beginning to enjoy it now. Why not “I begin”?

Because, again, it is an ongoing, continuous process.

Your third question shows the difference. Both versions are correct, but they mean something different!

You can turn off the radio, I don't listen to it.
You can turn off the radio, I'm not listening to it.

The first sentence means that in general, you don't listen to the radio. The second one means that at this moment you are not listening to the radio. Maybe in genral you do, but not at this moment.

Compare also:

I don't eat fish.
I'm not eating fish.

The first one means I never eat fish. Maybe I don't like it. The second one means that at this moment I'm not eating fish. In general, maybe I love fish, but right now I am eating something else.

2
  • 1
    It's also worth noting that there is comma abuse in that penultimate block. Nov 18 '14 at 19:54
  • 1
    Re: "This construction, the verb be followed by an infinitive, is called continuous: it means that the action is happening": Firstly, you don't mean "infinitive", but rather "participle" or "present participle" or "gerund-participle" or "-ing form". Secondly, I think it's question-begging to explain "is Xing" in terms of "is happening". (To see why, imagine an otherwise-identical version of the sentence that ended with, "it means that the action happens". This other version would be wrong -- but the only way to know that it's wrong is to already understand this distinction!)
    – ruakh
    Nov 18 '14 at 23:39
1

In sentence 1 (is increasing) the idea is to indicate that it is a continuous progress, continously going on.

In sentence 2 (I'm beginning) you indicate the idea that it is a gradual process. The continous form can express a slow gradual process.

0
  1. Because it uses the "to be" verb "is" before "increasing," which puts lets the reader know it's currently happening, we use the -ing to show that it is currently in progress.

  2. Same reason, except they use "am" (within "I'm"). The "I" is currently in progress of beginning to enjoy the job.

See this website for more information.

2
  • But what if I don't write sentence correct , How could you answer me like above? I mean how do you know above sentence are happened currently?
    – Carter
    Nov 18 '14 at 15:00
  • @Carter oerkelens answer above provides what you're asking for.
    – Nicole
    Nov 18 '14 at 16:11

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .