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38 votes

Difference between continuous and simple

Watch out. The answer is going to be far more complicated than you ever expected, but once you understand it, you will understand something very important about English grammar. This year Both ...
Ben Kovitz's user avatar
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7 votes

Difference between continuous and simple

It is a strange question to ask. Punishments are not usually set to a calendar. Parents don't normally say "This year we will punish you by...." Both are grammatical and mean almost the ...
James K's user avatar
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7 votes

In British English, can I use "be" in the past/present/future continuous tenses, like in "you are being selfish"?

The OP has obviously misunderstood something. It's nothing to do with British or American usage, or formal / informal contexts. The first three of these examples are all fine... 1: You are selfish 2: ...
FumbleFingers's user avatar
5 votes

Do you come? Are you coming?

Do you come? is an incomplete question which would lead the listener to wonder "Do you come what?" Do you come here often? would be a more complete question. Are you coming? is a complete ...
Peter's user avatar
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4 votes
Accepted

could the second conditional be like this?

The sentence you show could be correct in another context, but not in this one, which is reported elsewhere (with a slight and immaterial difference): HANI: He was in the room because I put him ...
StoneyB on hiatus's user avatar
3 votes

progressive tense for completed actions

By convention English narrative almost always uses the past tense. While the story is about something that has completed, the story itself is being told in the moment, and so we think of it as ...
Andrew's user avatar
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3 votes
Accepted

Watch you do/doing it [simple present or continuous?]

As mentioned, watch you doing is not the present continuous form but doing is a gerund and in the same way,watch you do is not the present simple form but do is a bare infinitive. Both choices are ...
Christina S.'s user avatar
3 votes
Accepted

Why was having and not had: "he was having trouble finding the right packaging" vs "he had trouble finding the right packaging"

Please note that this is not a shining example of English writing and the text may not be a very clear expression of what the writer intended. Having said that, if you do want to analyse it in ...
JavaLatte's user avatar
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3 votes

In British English, can I use "be" in the past/present/future continuous tenses, like in "you are being selfish"?

Maybe I've been speaking BrE wrongly for the past 80 years, but IMHO "You are being selfish" carries no information as to the past quality of the person being accused. It could be an ...
Peter Jennings's user avatar
2 votes
Accepted

would have been saving vs would have saved

I believe you will find the nuance expressed by the progressive here addressed at this question: where the simple construction asserts the fact of the action, the progressive ascribes a character or ...
StoneyB on hiatus's user avatar
2 votes

What is the difference in meaning between "I might work more this week" and "I might be working more this week"?

As the others have said: I might work more this week. Implies that you have some sort of control over the situation, whereas I might be working more this week. Implies that you don't really ...
Ashley's user avatar
  • 131
2 votes

Must there be ONLY Present Perfect Continuous

Both sentences are correct: She has been living in Liverpool all her life. She has lived in Liverpool all her life. The difference between these two is where you the speaker wish to place your focus:...
Lambie's user avatar
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2 votes
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Is "supposed to play" semantically different from "supposed to be playing"?

Yes, there are differences. How they differ really depends on the context, but I will give some examples to clarify. (Unlike some languages, English isn't as strict about whether a tense ...
Epanoui's user avatar
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2 votes

Is "supposed to play" semantically different from "supposed to be playing"?

I was supposed to play. I was supposed to be playing. WikiDiff.Com says that "to play" mostly means: "To act in a manner such that one has fun; to engage in activities expressly for the purpose of ...
SovereignSun's user avatar
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2 votes

progressive form with stay

I think the specific thing stopping you from saying "has been staying" is not "already" but rather "this week." "Three days this week" is a specific amount of time in the past, and you can't be ...
cjl750's user avatar
  • 3,003
2 votes

Do both sentences have the same meaning

It's a matter of "focus on the action" vs "focus on the end result". The first sentence stresses the final point - it didn't happen whereas the second sentence stresses the action - throughout the ...
2 votes

All they do is 'get/getting' groceries

You can use an infinitive with or without to, not the -ing form, after the construction all + subject + verb + be. However, the infinitive without "to" is more common. All they do is (to) get ...
Khan's user avatar
  • 27.2k
2 votes

present continuous for a future plan that is only involving you

The number of people involved is not relevant. You can say "I am working tomorrow", "I am going to France in January", "I am visiting my mother on Saturday", etc.
Michael Harvey's user avatar
2 votes

Simple versus continuous tense in sentences

When the teacher entered, the boys were all looking out the window. The teacher's enterance interrupts the boys action of looking out the window. They were already doing it when the teacher entered. ...
Rykara's user avatar
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2 votes

I have been working there\I am working there

Both present continuous and present perfect continuous can be used for a temporary habit. Present continuous is used with presently, at the moment, these days. Present perfect continuous is used with ...
anouk's user avatar
  • 3,954
2 votes

What is the difference between “have interviewed” and “are interviewing” in this sentence?

You are mostly right. The first sentence means that, as of now, interviews of two people are completed (and this specifically refers to this week, so the interviews took place between the beginning ...
laugh salutes Monica C's user avatar
2 votes
Accepted

Why can't I use Present Perfect Continuous or vice versa Present Perfect forms in these sentences?

In English context is very important and I have learnt that stative verbs cannot be used in the continuous tense, but otherwise it all depends on context and sometimes regional differences. In the ...
anouk's user avatar
  • 3,954
2 votes

being+past participle without is/are - what is the rule?

Some terminology before the answer: Phrase is a group of words that are meaningfully related and complete a single role in a sentence. Each phrase has a headword which is a main word in a phrase (I ...
RussoTuristo's user avatar
2 votes

Past Continuous for Temporary Situations

The simple past tense is used to tell a story that happened in the past. The past continuous is used to provide context for a story that happened in the past. So, your first sentence is great. It ...
gotube's user avatar
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2 votes

We didn't know what to do, so we did nothing/ were doing nothing

Simple past is the best choice here. While it's possible to construct a scenario where past continuous makes sense, it doesn't fit the context. Where simple past tells the story, past continuous sets ...
gotube's user avatar
  • 50.9k
1 vote

Do both sentences have the same meaning

The choice of a continuous or not does not usually reflect an objective difference in the facts. You cannot conclude from the speaker's choice how long an event lasted. All four possibilities (did not ...
Colin Fine's user avatar
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1 vote

Past Perfect and Past Perfect Continuous - In 2016 I had been going to France for five years

The problem with your sentence is the preposition in. The past perfect continuous expresses the idea that an action began in the past and continued until another time in the past. In your example, ...
TimR's user avatar
  • 128k
1 vote

Why "wrote" and not "was writing"?

The choice of tenses in the May 8th entry are somewhat odd, especially for a journal entry. The May 8th journal entry says in the present tense ...but now I am glad that I went into detail from the ...
TimR's user avatar
  • 128k
1 vote

Can "happen to" be followed by a Present Progressive form?

Both are grammatical: I happen to have her address if you need it. I happen to be playing pocket billiards again, now that my thumbs have healed.
TimR's user avatar
  • 128k
1 vote
Accepted

"Past perfect progressive" vs "past progressive"- Can we use the adverbial phrases of time with past progressive?

The adverbial phrase can be used with both tenses. In both cases, we understand the meaning to be that the computer was working up until the moment the disk was inserted. The meaning is conveyed in ...

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