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Thread: to owe

  1. #1
    allthewayanime is offline Member
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    Default to owe

    I know that 'owe' is a stative verb, but recently I have also seen it in the present continuous.Is there a difference?

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    billmcd is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: to owe

    Quote Originally Posted by allthewayanime View Post
    I know that 'owe' is a stative verb, but recently I have also seen it in the present continuous.Is there a difference?
    Some examples?

  3. #3
    allthewayanime is offline Member
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    Default Re: to owe

    For instance :

    I'm owing 3 months rent.(shouldn't it be I owe 3 months rent)

  4. #4
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    Default Re: to owe

    I don't recommend that learners use 'owe' in this way, but you will cetainly hear it. I have noticed a tendency in recent years for some of those verbs traditionally regarded as stative to be used in progressive forms.

    Don't forget that the 'stative/dynamic verb' distinction was always a little artificial. Some writers preferred to say something like 'verbs normally used statively/verbs normally used dynamically'.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: to owe

    Quote Originally Posted by allthewayanime View Post
    For instance :

    "I'm owing 3 months' rent."

    Shouldn't it be "I owe 3 months' rent"?
    It's not the same as your original question/example, but "The flat is being rented out again with three months' rent still owing."

  6. #6
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: to owe

    Quote Originally Posted by allthewayanime View Post
    I know that 'owe' is a stative verb, but recently I have also seen it in the present continuous.Is there a difference?
    The person might be using it to suggest how current their rent problems are. You will see some stative verbs used in continuous/progressive forms. However, the tendency is not to use them much, but it's not an absolute rule.

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    billmcd is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: to owe

    Quote Originally Posted by allthewayanime View Post
    For instance :

    I'm owing 3 months rent.(shouldn't it be I owe 3 months rent)
    As a grammatical purist (when I want to be), "I owe........"

  8. #8
    billmcd is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: to owe

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    The person might be using it to suggest how current their rent problems are. You will see some stative verbs used in continuous/progressive forms. However, the tendency is not to use them much, but it's not an absolute rule.
    Hmmm, is an "absolute rule" like being "absolutely pregnant"?

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    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: to owe

    I get your point, but people do talk about the partial rule of law, so it can be modified. Some learners take patterns of usage and even when the grammar book says things like 'we prefer', they interpret it a rule that is to be applied in every circumstance. There are descriptions and even rules about progressive forms of stative verbs, but there are exceptions.

    I don't like I am owing much and will leave it for those who want to use it. Some books give it as a rule, others as a tendency, so saying its not an absolute rule seems OK to me. The other option would be to say that a single exception means there's no rule or that books are wrong, which may undermine learners' trust.

  10. #10
    billmcd is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: to owe

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    I get your point, but people do talk about the partial rule of law, so it can be modified. Some learners take patterns of usage and even when the grammar book says things like 'we prefer', they interpret it a rule that is to be applied in every circumstance. There are descriptions and even rules about progressive forms of stative verbs, but there are exceptions.

    I don't like I am owing much and will leave it for those who want to use it. Some books give it as a rule, others as a tendency, so saying its not an absolute rule seems OK to me. The other option would be to say that a single exception means there's no rule or that books are wrong, which may undermine learners' trust.
    I understand and agree. Just joking in response to your "absolute" post.

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