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  1. #1
    toloue_man is offline Member
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    Default Which sentence is more frequent in real life?

    Hello!

    Which one of the following sentences is more frequent or perhaps more accurate?

    I'm studying French at the university.

    I study French at the university.

    I mean when you want ask a person about his course of study, should it be in present progressive or simple present form?
    As far as studying a course of study is not a habitual task, my choice is the second one. What do you think?

    Thanks in advance !!

  2. #2
    emsr2d2's Avatar
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    Default Re: Which sentence is more frequent in real life?

    If they have not yet finished their studies then use the present continuous. Note that you don't need the definite article.

    I'm studying French at university.
    Remember - correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing make posts much easier to read.

  3. #3
    Cory Sampson is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: Which sentence is more frequent in real life?

    Simple present ("I study French") is usually reserved for statements about habit which the speaker does not expect will change at any point. Since very few people make it their life goal to study French all the time, I agree that "I am studying French" is more appropriate.

  4. #4
    billmcd is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: Which sentence is more frequent in real life?

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    If they have not yet finished their studies then use the present continuous. Note that you don't need the definite article.

    I'm studying French at university.
    Welllllllllll (the best I can do to indicate a long and drawn out "well" ) ems, don't forget us AmE speakers. We would use "the" before university/college.

  5. #5
    billmcd is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: Which sentence is more frequent in real life?

    Quote Originally Posted by toloue_man View Post
    Hello!

    Which one of the following sentences is more frequent or perhaps more accurate?

    I'm studying French at the university.

    I study French at the university.

    I mean when you want ask a person about his course of study, should it be in present progressive or simple present form?
    As far as studying a course of study is not a habitual task, my choice is the second one. What do you think?

    Thanks in advance !!
    Actually, I see little difference, but as always, context rules. For example, I think that if someone asked me "What are you doing these days?" (at this tome/present prog.), I would be inclined to respond, "I'm studying French at the university". On the other hand, if someone inquired, "What language do you study (simple pres.)?" I would probably answer, "I study French at etc." But again, my response might depend on what I had for breakfast.

  6. #6
    5jj's Avatar
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    Default Re: Which sentence is more frequent in real life?

    Quote Originally Posted by billmcd View Post
    Welllllllllll (the best I can do to indicate a long and drawn out "well" ) ems, don't forget us AmE speakers. We would use "the" before university/college.
    I think that most of us who respond here speak only for our own variety/dialect of English, as most members realise. Newer members can always click on 'Member Info' to find out where we (claim to) come from.

  7. #7
    emsr2d2's Avatar
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    Default Re: Which sentence is more frequent in real life?

    Quote Originally Posted by billmcd View Post
    Welllllllllll (the best I can do to indicate a long and drawn out "well" ) ems, don't forget us AmE speakers. We would use "the" before university/college.
    Ah, OK. I actually figured that in AmE it would probably be "I'm studying French in college" which is why I didn't make any mention of mine being BrE specifically. Having said that, I am genuinely surprised that it's "at the university" even in AmE. I will add now something which I was going to put in my original post - if you are actually naming the university and its name includes "The" then it would be necessary.

    I am studying French at Manchester University.
    I am studying French at The University of East Anglia in Norwich.

    I will restate though that, in British English, we just say "I'm studying French at university".
    Remember - correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing make posts much easier to read.

  8. #8
    billmcd is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: Which sentence is more frequent in real life?

    Quote Originally Posted by 5jj View Post
    I think that most of us who respond here speak only for our own variety/dialect of English, as most members realise. Newer members can always click on 'Member Info' to find out where we (claim to) come from.

    True. But especially for new(er) members, when to check and, in particular, for what terms would make for a difficult, if not impossible and impractical task.
    Last edited by billmcd; 30-Aug-2012 at 00:33.

  9. #9
    billmcd is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: Which sentence is more frequent in real life?

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    Ah, OK. I actually figured that in AmE it would probably be "I'm studying French in college" which is why I didn't make any mention of mine being BrE specifically. Having said that, I am genuinely surprised that it's "at the university" even in AmE. I will add now something which I was going to put in my original post - if you are actually naming the university and its name includes "The" then it would be necessary.

    I am studying French at Manchester University.
    I am studying French at The University of East Anglia in Norwich.

    I will restate though that, in British English, we just say "I'm studying French at university".
    OK, and I should have mentioned that in my examples and based on toloue_man's examples, the speaker's use of "the" (in AmE) assumes that the person to whom he/she was speaking, knew at which university the speaker studied. Also, in AmE you might hear a response such as "I'm in college" when a person is simply referring to the fact that he/she is studying beyond the secondary level and "college" would be a general reference to either a college or a university.
    Last edited by billmcd; 30-Aug-2012 at 00:44.

  10. #10
    toloue_man is offline Member
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    Default Re: Which sentence is more frequent in real life?

    Quote Originally Posted by billmcd View Post
    Actually, I see little difference, but as always, context rules. For example, I think that if someone asked me "What are you doing these days?" (at this tome/present prog.), I would be inclined to respond, "I'm studying French at the university". On the other hand, if someone inquired, "What language do you study (simple pres.)?" I would probably answer, "I study French at etc." But again, my response might depend on what I had for breakfast.

    Thanks for your attention !

    I think both forms can convey the message and also it depends on context but I think according to following reasons, the present progressive is more accurate:

    1)As far as studying usually has a limited duration , usually a 4-year term , and this fact that present progressive is used for long periods.

    For e.g we can say: He is writing a book this year.

    2) As I said in my original post , studying a course is not forever. One does not study a course is his/her whole life. So it is not a habit.

    I think the correct form should be like this:

    What are you studying at university?
    I'm studying French at university.

    Please note that language is very widespread. There are many dialects which all have the same value. One might think that the correct tense is simple present is this context. But based on evidences which I provide , I think the present progressive is closer to standard or prestigious dialect.

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