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  1. #1
    mario85 is offline Newbie
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    Question Tony is a really kind person. He's always offering to help me with my work.

    I have been fierecly discussing the choice of Present Continuous tense in the sentence:

    Tony is a really kind person. He's always offering to help me with my work.

    I persist that the sentence should be deemed rather clumsy, since it describes a regularity which is expressed by Present Simple tense. Although it is allowed to use Present Continuous with habits, provided that they are irrtating, it is not the case with the above sentence as it does not express any irritation at all.
    I would be grateful if anyone could support my way of thinking.

  2. #2
    5jj's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tony is a really kind person. He's always offering to help me with my work.

    While the use of 'always' with the progressive (continuous) form often implies irritation, it does not necessarily do so, despite what some writers claim. Your example is natural and correct.

    Context and, in speech, intonation usually make the implication clear.

  3. #3
    garret is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: Tony is a really kind person. He's always offering to help me with my work.

    +1. There's nothing wrong with it.

    You can use the Present Continuous for sth happening very often (with always, continually, constantly, forever ).

  4. #4
    Placha is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: Tony is a really kind person. He's always offering to help me with my work.

    So how do you account for the two sentences:

    1) Tony is behaving foolish. - does it incline he behaves so very often? Not at all!! On the contrary, this is about a situation which is an exception to the rule that he behaves responsibly. Normally he behaves reasonably but only this time he is being foolish - not regularly)

    2) We normally grow potatoes but this year we are growing tomatoes. - similar is the case with this sentence. The habitual fact is that the family repeatedly grows potatoes but growing tomatoes is an exception, i.e. it does not happen 'very often'. It is not about 'very regular things', on the contrary, it's about irregularity rather. (although here - within one sentence - PC is confronted with PS what creates a slighlty different overview).

    By means of the two sentences, the above thesis has been somewhat negated.

    Having said that, to my mind accepting the enquirer's sentence allows English grammar to become turned upside down, even though it indeed may seem natural to say 'Tony is always offering help...' (especially in AmE).

    Notwithstanding the above, wouldn't you agree syaing 'Tony always offers help (or whatsoever:))' is much shorter than 'Tony is always offering help' and thus more comfortable and economic (be it for language itself or time)...

  5. #5
    garret is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: Tony is a really kind person. He's always offering to help me with my work.

    Placha - You're talking about a different use of the Present Continuous :)


    What we're dealing with here is an emphatic use of the Present Continuous :)

    The use I described is found with the words "always, continually, constantly, forever", adverbs of frequency that emphasize the continuity / repetition of the action, just like the "annoying habit" use.

    You won't see these 2 uses with adverbs of frequency showing that sth happens rarely / sometimes etc ;)

  6. #6
    bhaisahab's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tony is a really kind person. He's always offering to help me with my work.

    Quote Originally Posted by Placha View Post
    So how do you account for the two sentences:

    1) Tony is behaving foolishly. - does it incline he behaves so very often? It doesn't indicate one way or the other whether or not he usually behaves foolishly.

    .
    Bhai.

  7. #7
    5jj's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tony is a really kind person. He's always offering to help me with my work.

    Quote Originally Posted by Placha View Post
    Notwithstanding the above, wouldn't you agree saying 'Tony always offers help (or whatsoever:))' is much shorter than 'Tony is always offering help' and thus more comfortable and economic (be it for language itself or time)...
    Well of course I can't deny that it's shorter. However, as the two utterances convey different messages, length is not really relevant.

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