Please, take a look at this answer from English.SE. I am interested in understanding the precise meaning behind the ninth paragraph:

What the form BE+V-ing really does is to indicate that the action or state referred to by the verb in question is presented by the person speaking as actualized (that's the mental operation marked by the suffix -ing) and that this actualization is intimately linked to the situation under consideration (which is the core value of the verb BE). In other words : the action/state is specifically true in this situation to the (possible) exclusion of other situations.

Can anyone explain in in simpler terms? The wording seems too complex for me to comprehend. I am not interested in hearing why this answerer's view is wrong or right: I am merely interested in knowing what the paragraph means exactly.

  • 2
    Capitalized writings always shout! It's better to have them bold, in case of any emphasis. That user wouldn't care about them, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't.
    – M.A.R.
    Feb 15, 2015 at 17:02
  • It seems to me the paragraph after the one you are talking about gives several example situations of what that poster means. Other than that, I would leave a comment on that post. I'm not I can accurately interpret what that other person meant by those words.
    – user6951
    Feb 15, 2015 at 17:21
  • 1
    It seems to me the bolded words mean: something is true in this situation but not necessarily true in other situations.
    – user6951
    Feb 15, 2015 at 17:24
  • @δοῦλος the answer was posted a long time ago and the answerer's reputation is low, so I think it's unlikely I will get a response.
    – user132181
    Feb 15, 2015 at 17:34
  • Yes @δοῦλος. That must be the meaning of the statement. I think the poster of that reply was either: 1. Nonnative, so that wouldn't know the common forms (as in, words) of expressing himself\herself, just like learners like me. or 2. A native that wasn't really into teaching and explaining linguistics, and ended up with a wierd pattern of words.
    – M.A.R.
    Feb 15, 2015 at 17:49

1 Answer 1


specifically true in this situation to the (possible) exclusion of other situations

I think this is not quite so precisely expressed as the author intends. What is probably intended is:

true specifically in this situation, without regard to other situations

That is, when a fact or state is asserted by a progressive construction, the speaker asserts it to be true only with respect to the situation which is the immediate topic of discussion. The speaker "excludes" all other situations from his assertion. However, this exclusion does not mean that the speaker asserts that the fact or state is untrue of all other situations.

For instance, if I say "It is raining", I assert only that it is raining here and now; I exclude all other places and times from my assertion. But in excluding those places and times I do not mean that it is not raining anywhere else or that it has never rained anywhere else. It may be raining right now in Knoxville TN or Albany NY; it may have rained last night in Shanghai or Capetown; but I am not talking about those places or times, I am talking only about the state of the weather in my situation, Maryland Heights at 1:11 pm on 2/15/2015.

  • +1 except your American dating format confuses me. Should not it be 15/2/15, or even best: 2015/15/02, so computers don't get confused? ... Just kidding.
    – user6951
    Feb 15, 2015 at 19:25
  • @StoneyB sir, would it be appropriate to ask about your opinion on the answerer's view here in the comment section, or shall I ask this question on English.SE or Linguistics.SE? I am particularly interested in your opinion on the matter.
    – user132181
    Feb 16, 2015 at 13:28

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