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  1. #1
    dilodi83 is offline Senior Member
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    Default Are they both possible and grammatically correct?

    I want him to drive his new car today.
    I want him to be driving his new car today.

    It's ridiculous for her to drive in the center of Rome at her age!
    It's ridiculous for her to be driving in the center of Rome at her age!

    DO THEY MEAN THE SAME THING? ARE THE TWO FORMS POSSIBLE IN BOTH CONTEXTS?

  2. #2
    Rover_KE is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: Are they both possible and grammatically correct?

    They mean the same to me and they are grammatically correct.

    Rover

  3. #3
    konungursvia's Avatar
    konungursvia is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: Are they both possible and grammatically correct?

    I would say "in downtown Rome" rather than in the center of Rome. That is a Latinism.

  4. #4
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    bhaisahab is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: Are they both possible and grammatically correct?

    Quote Originally Posted by konungursvia View Post
    I would say "in downtown Rome" rather than in the center of Rome. That is a Latinism.
    In BrE we wouldn't say "downtown Rome", but rather "the centre of Rome" or "Rome city centre".

  5. #5
    TheParser is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: Are they both possible and grammatically correct?

    Quote Originally Posted by dilodi83 View Post
    I want him to drive his new car today.
    I want him to be driving his new car today.

    It's ridiculous for her to drive in the center of Rome at her age!
    It's ridiculous for her to be driving in the center of Rome at her age!

    DO THEY MEAN THE SAME THING? ARE THE TWO FORMS POSSIBLE IN BOTH CONTEXTS?

    ***** A NON-TEACHER's COMMENT *****


    (1) I have found some information that you may wish to study. Then

    you can make up your own mind.



    (a) Mr. Michael Swan in his well-known Practical English Usage says that

    the progressive infinitive (to be + ing) is used

    to suggest that actions are/were/will be continuing around the time

    we are talking about.

    (i) His examples:

    It is nice to be sitting here with you [now]. [My note. Not: It is nice to sit here with you.]

    I noticed [yesterday] that he seemed to be smoking a lot. [My note. Not: I noticed he seemed to smoke a lot.]

    This time tomorrow I'll be lying on the beach. [My note. Not: This time tomorrow, I am going to lie on the beach.]

    I believe that the key to understanding this difference is the word

    "continuing."

    (b) Professor Sidney Greenbaum in The Oxford English Grammar

    gives two examples that I found most helpful:


    (i) It would healthier for me to be doing something. The scholar

    explains that this shows "duration," which I think is just another

    way to say "continuing action." For example, that sentence means

    that I should be doing something on a regular basis, such as getting

    a job that I go to every day.

    (ii) It would be healthier for me to do something. The scholar did not

    explain the difference between (i) and (ii), so here is my guess: (ii)

    does NOT refer to "duration." That is, it could refer to a one-time

    event. For example: This neighborhood is becoming too dangerous.

    It might be a good idea to do something, such as to move to another

    place. This is a one-time action, not one of "duration."

    (c) Finally, Professor L.G. Alexander in Longman English Grammar

    gives this example:

    "I would like to be flying over the Alps and to be looking down at the mountains."

    Sadly, the scholar does not explain further. Based on what we have

    learned from Messrs. Swan and Greenbaum, I guess that his

    sentence is referring to "now." I would like to be flying over the Alps

    now; NOT: I would like to fly over the Alps (maybe some day in the

    future).

    *****


    The telephone rings and you pick it up:

    Your sister: I just got a telephone call from Grandmother.

    You: How is Grandmother? Is she relaxing at home?

    Your sister: No, she isn't. She called me on her cellphone to

    tell me that she is driving around downtown right now.

    You: OMG!!! It's crazy for a woman her age to be driving around

    in such dangerous traffic. Call her back this minute and tell Granny

    to come home right now!!!


    Respectfully yours,


    James
    Last edited by TheParser; 05-May-2011 at 12:29.

  6. #6
    dilodi83 is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Are they both possible and grammatically correct?

    Thank you very much for your help! so you meant that we can use the be + ing if we want to underline that a particular action is continuing and the simple infinite if we want to talk about a general action?

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