Student or Learner
Please tell me the different meaning between these sentence:
1.He always complains about everything.
2.He is always complaining about everything.
It is one of the questions in my test yesterday, I chose 'complains' but the answer is 'is complaining' and I don't understand why. Please explain it to me.
My question in the test is: Choose the correct answer to fill in the blank:
He ... about everything.
The given answer: A.is always complaining B.always complains C,D(I don't remember but I'm very sure they are incorrect)
I chose B but the correct answer is A. So there is definitely a difference between 'is always complaining' and 'always complains' and that's what I want to know.
Last edited by ha179; 18-Dec-2009 at 12:46.
No, you must not get the idea that these tests are always right, and that if you encounter a question like this that there must be a difference. Perhaps the question-setter is not familiar with the use of B.
There is a subtle difference in meaning, but it obviously doesn't help you to get the correct answer, because you don't know which meaning is intended. A and B are both right.
"He is always complaining" tends to suggest that at any time you meet him, he is complaining. It means he complains a lot.
"He always complains" is usually conditional on something. For example, "He always complains about the homework he's given"; "He always complains when X / if X"
Given the question: He ... about everything:
I suppose that if X = 'everything', then he "is always complaining".
I don't have any big issue with Raymott's distinction above, but to me the key here is the presence of the word "everything".
On the other hand, let's consider a specific complaint first, tv commercials for example.
He aways complains about tv commercials. This sentence suggests that every time he sees a commercial he complains about it.
He is always complaining about tv commercials. This sentence has the additional suggestion that even when not watching tv, he is 'always' complaining about the commercials.
So the above is similar to what Raymott said.
Now let's look at (complains)(complaining) about everything.
Aside from what he does during his sleep, in the morning he immediately starts (to complain)(complaining) about everything: bad mattress, bad dreams, bad sleep, wife's snorng and cold feet, having to wake up so early, bad job, bad boss, terrible traffic, etc, all day long.
Of course the above scenario is rather unlikely to put it mildly, but it raises the question of what "everything' is.
Unless "everything" is really everything, one can't really be always complaining. Both of the sentences are an exaggeration, and each just means that he complains a lot!
Last edited by 2006; 19-Dec-2009 at 05:46. Reason: minor changes