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  1. #1
    hela is offline Senior Member
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    Default progressive + adverbs of frequency

    Dear teachers,

    1) Is it true that the progressive aspect when used with adverbs of frequency like always, forever, eternally, perpetually, continually, constantly, repeatedly may express either :

    emphasis or approval.

    ex: I am always hearing strange stories about him. (stative verb ?)
    Those children are continually getting into trouble. (emphasis or disapproval ?)

    He is always reading. She is always helping people.
    She is indefatigably / untiringly helping people. (approval or disapproval ?)

    I was always hearing strange stories about him.
    Those children were continually getting into trouble.

    or

    disapproval, reproach or complaint.

    ex: Our burglar alarm is forever going off for no reason.
    He is always snoring in his sleep. He was always snoring in his sleep.

    2) And is it true that both the simple present / past and the progressive can express a bad habit ?

    ex: I always lose my keys = I am always losing my keys. (same meaning ?)
    He always works late at the office = He is always working late at the office. (?)

    Do you have other (or better) examples for me please ?

    I look forward to hearing from you soon.
    Best regards,
    Hela

  2. #2
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: progressive + adverbs of frequency

    Those children are continually getting into trouble. (emphasis or disapproval ?)

    Context should tell you- it'soften hard to get the speaker's attitude from a single sentence. they could even be admiring the children. Tone of voice, etc should tell you.

  3. #3
    hela is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: progressive + adverbs of frequency

    Dear Tdol,

    The conclusion I draw then is that we can use an adverb of frequency + progressive aspect EITHER to emphasize a habit or state of behaviour, to approve or even disapprove of it. It all depends on the context. Is that right?

    What's the difference then between:

    a) He always plays football in the weekend. (correct preposition ??)
    (= neutral or objective comment ?)

    and

    b) He is always playing football in the weekend.
    (subjective comment ?)

    Thanks again.
    Hela

  4. #4
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    Default Re: progressive + adverbs of frequency

    Quote Originally Posted by hela
    a) He always plays football in the weekend.
    b) He is always playing football in the weekend.
    To me, it's a matter of structure, more so semantics, but I wouldn't rule out that meaning is expressed through structure, or rather the position a word holds within the sentence.

    Frequency adverbs occur inside the verb phrase if the verb is a form of BE. The reason being, and this is pure speculation at this point in time, is that BE, being copular, or rather a linking element that joins the subject with the participle ING, is not a verb, and so it cannot be modified by an adverb. So the adverb is placed after BE, inside the verb phrase: is always playing.

    Just my thoughts.

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