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  1. Unregistered
    Guest
    #1

    present simple x continuous

    Hi,

    I would like to ask what is the difference (or if I can use only one possibility) between:

    I study to become a doctor. I read a book about WWII. ...
    I'm studying to become a doctor. I'm reading a book about WWII. ...

    Is it possible to use both tenses?



    Thanks a lot.


    Jana


    • Join Date: Dec 2009
    • Posts: 576
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    #2

    Re: present simple x continuous

    Quote Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post
    Hi,

    I would like to ask what is the difference (or if I can use only one possibility) between:

    I study to become a doctor. I read a book about WWII. ...
    I'm studying to become a doctor. I'm reading a book about WWII. ...

    Is it possible to use both tenses?



    Thanks a lot.


    Jana
    (Not a teacher)

    It would sound very unnatural to say the present simple tense just on it's own like this. In response to a question that 'models' the tense, it would be appropriate:

    'What do you study for?'
    'I study to become a doctor.'

    'What book do you read in your free time?'
    'I read a book about WWII.'

    However, the present continuous tense is much more natural sounding. People hardly ever talk about doing things in present simple tense.

    __

    It seems to me that 'present simple' tense is more used to describe things that are more permanent/longer lasting:

    I live in a house.
    I work as a teacher.
    I like cheese.

    Even in your examples, 'I study to become a doctor' sounds better than 'I read a book about WWII' because studying is more permanent than reading a book. At least, I think that's what makes it sound unnatural - 'I read a book about...' sounds like it's the only book you ever read.
    Last edited by Linguist__; 09-Mar-2010 at 03:17. Reason: Added more text.

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