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  1. #1
    Kotfor is offline Member
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    Default How to convey or eliminate regularity ?

    Whould it be correct to say this sentence if I wanted to emphasise that the lesson takes place only one time. (I hope you don't think it's impossible for a lesson to take place only once.)

    1) Tim and Jim can’t go with me next Sunday. They are having a singing lesson then.

    On the other hand, whould it be correct to use the Present Simple if I wanted to emphasise that the lesson takes place regularly on Sundays.

    2) Tim and Jim can’t go with me next Sunday. They have a singing lesson then.

  2. #2
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    FreeToyInside is offline Member
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    Default Re: How to convey or eliminate regularity ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kotfor View Post
    Whould Would it be correct to say this sentence if I wanted to emphasise that the lesson takes place only one time? (I hope you don't think it's impossible for a lesson to take place only once.)

    1) Tim and Jim can’t go with me next Sunday. They are having a singing lesson then.

    On the other hand, whould would it be correct to use the Present Simple if I wanted to emphasise that the lesson takes place regularly on Sundays?

    2) Tim and Jim can’t go with me next Sunday. They have a singing lesson then.
    In sentence 1, "they are having their singing lesson then" doesn't rule out the possibility that they have singing lessons every week. It's ambiguous as to whether it's a one-time lesson or one of their regular lessons. It's the same with sentence 2.

    It's not the verb tense you use, but rather you need additional words to convey whether it's regular or not. If it were a regular, weekly lesson, you could say

    "Tim and Jim can't go with me next Sunday. They're having one of their singing lessons then."

    If it were a one-time lesson, you could say something like

    "Tim and Jim can't go with me next Sunday. They signed up for a singing lesson that day."

    (not a teacher, just a language lover)
    Last edited by FreeToyInside; 27-Jul-2013 at 11:28. Reason: addition

  3. #3
    Kotfor is offline Member
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    Default Re: How to convey or eliminate regularity ?

    OK. But does "Tim and Jim canít go with me next Sunday. They have a singing lesson then." mean only that they have singing lessons on a regular dasis? OR can it also mean that they have only one lesson on that day?

  4. #4
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    Default Re: How to convey or eliminate regularity ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kotfor View Post
    OK. But does "Tim and Jim can’t go with me next Sunday. They have a singing lesson then." mean only that they have singing lessons on a regular dasis? OR can it also mean that they have only one lesson on that day?
    No, it can be either way, and the listener can't tell from verb tense alone. In this instance, the only difference I feel between "they have" and "they're having" is that the progressive tense conveys something immediate in the future, it's coming up very quickly. It doesn't give any indication as to whether they always have a lesson that day or if it's a lesson only on that day.

    (not a teacher, just a language lover)

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