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  1. #1
    joham is offline Key Member
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    Default What does "is/ are refusing" mean?

    What does "is/ are refusing" mean in the following sentences? Does it mean the repetition of refusal, or the speaker's disapproval or anything else? Could you please tell me? I've long been puzzled over this problem. Thanks a lot.

    The ship's owers are refusing to accept any responsibilities for the accident. (LONGMAN CONTEMPORARY DICTIONARY 3rd edition, accept7)

    Once again she's refusing to help. (LONGMAN CONTEMPORARY DICTIONARY 4rd edition, once6, once again)
    Last edited by joham; 13-Mar-2009 at 02:48. Reason: a word added。

  2. #2
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    Default Re: What does "is/ are refusing" mean?

    Someone has blamed the shipping company for an accident, and the company does not agree that they are responsible. They will not accept any responsibility. They are refusing to accept any responsibility.

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    jctgf is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: What does "is/ are refusing" mean?

    to refuse = to say no

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    Default Re: What does "is/ are refusing" mean?

    They are refusing is a present progressive (also known as present continuous) tense phrase.
    It means they are refusing to do something now.
    Just like the phrases I am reading or she is playing, it means that the action is happening now.

    Is/are refusing is used very often in English, it emphasises the fact that they are still refusing - sometimes despite someones attempts to stop them refusing.

  5. #5
    joham is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: What does "is/ are refusing" mean?

    Quote Originally Posted by Niall View Post
    They are refusing is a present progressive (also known as present continuous) tense phrase.
    It means they are refusing to do something now.
    Just like the phrases I am reading or she is playing, it means that the action is happening now.

    Is/are refusing is used very often in English, it emphasises the fact that they are still refusing - sometimes despite someones attempts to stop them refusing.

    Then, do we say "They are agreeing to do something."? What I mean is, since both agree and refuse are short actions, why don't we say 'They have refused/agreed to ..."? So I thought there must be something special about the present progressive used in this occasion.

    Another sentence with the present progressive is:

    If you don't leave now, I'm calling the police. (LONGMAN CONTEMPORARY DICTIONARY 3rd edition, if) My question is: Why doesn't the speaker say '...I'll call/I'm going to call the police"?

    Thank you very much for troubling you again, sir.

  6. #6
    Naamplao is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: What does "is/ are refusing" mean?

    Quote Originally Posted by joham View Post

    If you don't leave now, I'm calling the police. (LONGMAN CONTEMPORARY DICTIONARY 3rd edition, if) My question is: Why doesn't the speaker say '...I'll call/I'm going to call the police"?

    Thank you very much for troubling you again, sir.
    The speaker could say what you suggest. Perhaps he has the phone in his hand in the first case and is in the act of dialing the number. In your example he would have to get the phone (a future act)

  7. #7
    jctgf is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: What does "is/ are refusing" mean?

    Quote Originally Posted by joham View Post
    Then, do we say "They are agreeing to do something."? What I mean is, since both agree and refuse are short actions, why don't we say 'They have refused/agreed to ..."? So I thought there must be something special about the present progressive used in this occasion.

    Another sentence with the present progressive is:

    If you don't leave now, I'm calling the police. (LONGMAN CONTEMPORARY DICTIONARY 3rd edition, if) My question is: Why doesn't the speaker say '...I'll call/I'm going to call the police"?

    Thank you very much for troubling you again, sir.


    i am just a student...

    i think there is nothing logical in the way a language is spoken.

    thanks to the french who massively influenced great britain during the 11th-13th centuries (or so), my native language and english have a lot of similarities.

    however, it still sounds odd the way certain pieces of grammar developed in english:

    "i have been going..."
    "i have gonne..."
    "i went..."

    "i will do..."
    "i am doing..."
    "i am going to do..."

    some of them with a very close meaning but all of them with different nuances, subtlenesses and usages.

    thanks

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