In a book, there's a question:

Is your English getting better?

And not

Does your English get better?


Where does you mum and dad live.

Where do your mum and dad live.

They both sound right to me.

  • 3
    @MaulikV There are four examples here. Yes, the first two are grammatical, but they're very different in terms of meaning, so depending on what the OP wants to say, only the first may be okay. As for the other pair, the third is ungrammatical, but the fourth is okay. – snailplane May 20 '15 at 16:23
  • I had raised a question on meta (and probably you have commented/answered as well). Whenever there's an edit, leave commenter, even answerers aren't informed about it making their posts at times irrelevant. This is the latest example. The latter two examples are added later and I never knew that. :) @snailboat – Maulik V May 21 '15 at 4:37
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    @MaulikV Ah, I'm sorry, I didn't realize it had been edited. Actually, it's unfortunate in this case―the questions are unrelated, and of the four answers, two address the former and two address the latter! It'd be a real pain separating the questions out now... – snailplane May 21 '15 at 5:13

You should use the present progressive: is your English getting better? in most circumstances.

I would almost never say, my English gets better. The simple present is for characteristic, habitual, or repeated action, and, the way we normally talk about it, getting better at English is something that happens once. But we can imagine a person saying:

Whenever I spend a few months home in Hungary, I tend to lose my confidence speaking English, and when I come back to London, I sound like a foreigner again. But my English gets better after a couple of weeks.

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    Whenever I talk with a native speaker, my English gets better! :) – Maulik V May 20 '15 at 11:33
  • 1
    Great examples. We could also say: "When I started writing the book, I wasn't very good at English. But don't worry! Keep reading. As the book goes on, my English gets better!" – snailplane May 20 '15 at 16:21
  • I feel like, in both of these cases, the specific tense of my English gets better is governed by the need to agree with the first clause. – user8399 May 29 '15 at 8:53

The main difference has to do with the way the passage of time is involved and emphasized when using the -ing form.

is getting = is becoming with time

does get =  certainly becomes

Let's say two young lovers split up, and one of them is especially heartbroken. An older friend, who has been through this pain before, might give this advice:

It will take time, but the sorrow you are feeling does get better.

In other words, experience shows that this kind of sorrow usually fades. It is a general truth or fact.

After several months, the older friend and the sad younger friend meet again. The younger one might say:

You were right. The sadness is getting better.

The sadness it becoming less with time.

So, with respect to language:

Language skills do get better with practice. (a general truth)

Your language skills are getting better. (from practicing; the improvement is happening over time)


Where does you mum and dad live.

Where do your mum and dad live.

The second one is correct. There are two people, so you have to use the third person plural form of the verb.

He does.

They do.


For the second one, whether to use

Where does your mum and dad live?


Where do your mum and dad live?

completely depends on the context.
If we are referring to them as living in two different places, we would say "do" because of the third person agreement/plural rule. However, if we are referring to them living in the same house, then "does" would be the correct choice.

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