We shouldn't stand here


We shouldn't be standing here

What is the difference between those two?


The first sentence sounds like there is certainty, that it is a command to not stand at a particular location

The second, be standing here, sounds more contemplative

If we is changed for you

You shouldn't stand here !
You shouldn't be standing here, (should you)?

the difference may become more apparent

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  • 1
    I think your first sentence has things completely reversed. OP's first version is "hypothetical" in that it can reasonably be said in a situation where the conversants are not in fact "standing here" (i.e. - walking past a spot where they might stand, but the speaker is counselling against that). In the second version it's almost an absolute certainty the conversants are currently standing here. – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Feb 11 '16 at 15:54
  • I never said whether or if they were standing anywhere in the first scenario. I think you've assumed that. – Peter Feb 11 '16 at 16:02
  • Well, if I haven't understood what you're saying, when I'm a native speaker, that doesn't bode well for OP (or any other nns users who might be looking at this answer now or in the future). – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Feb 11 '16 at 16:17

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