Results 1 to 6 of 6
  1. nyota's Avatar
    Senior Member
    Interested in Language
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Polish
      • Home Country:
      • Poland
      • Current Location:
      • Australia

    • Join Date: Jun 2009
    • Posts: 615
    #1

    while I try/ I'm trying to

    1. Why don't you find yourself something to do while I try to figure this out.
    2. I've been staying with friends for the last few weeks while I try to find a flat.

    I can't quite explain it, but as far as sentence 1 sounds perfectly fine to me, number 2 makes me feel uncomfortable.

    Why not I'm trying... in sentence 2, which would point to the temporary action continuing over a period of time?

    Maybe it has something to do with parallel structures - find and try in 1 - OK, but have been staying and try in 2 - mjeaah, not really. But then it doesn't explain why I would feel better with have been staying and am trying.

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • Laos

    • Join Date: Nov 2002
    • Posts: 57,903
    #2

    Re: while I try/ I'm trying to

    You can use am trying in the second IMO, but as the person has been staying there for a few weeks, maybe they see the action as bigger and longer than a temporary one- a series of repeated events and more habitual than temporary.

  2. nyota's Avatar
    Senior Member
    Interested in Language
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Polish
      • Home Country:
      • Poland
      • Current Location:
      • Australia

    • Join Date: Jun 2009
    • Posts: 615
    #3

    Re: while I try/ I'm trying to

    Alright, I see, it depends how the speaker perceives the action. So I'm just thinking - you could similarly say that:

    you're studying chemistry or
    you study chemistry.

    If you can think of a 'couple of weeks' in terms of habitual actions then surely it'd work with 'years' you need to study a subject?

  3. 5jj's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • Czech Republic

    • Join Date: Oct 2010
    • Posts: 28,134
    #4

    Re: while I try/ I'm trying to

    Quote Originally Posted by nyota View Post
    If you can think of a 'couple of weeks' in terms of habitual actions then surely it'd work with 'years' you need to study a subject?
    If you ask a student on a three-four year course about his chosen course, you are likely to ask "What are you studying?"

    If you ask the director of a research laboratory abot the work of that laboratory, you are lokely to ask, "What do you study here?" Of course, if you are asking him/her about his current project, then it's "What are you studying (at present)?"

  4. nyota's Avatar
    Senior Member
    Interested in Language
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Polish
      • Home Country:
      • Poland
      • Current Location:
      • Australia

    • Join Date: Jun 2009
    • Posts: 615
    #5

    Re: while I try/ I'm trying to

    Quote Originally Posted by fivejedjon View Post
    If you ask a student on a three-four year course about his chosen course, you are likely to ask "What are you studying?"

    If you ask the director of a research laboratory abot the work of that laboratory, you are lokely to ask, "What do you study here?" Of course, if you are asking him/her about his current project, then it's "What are you studying (at present)?"
    So still the preference is towards the present continuous form when it comes to temporary actions (which is why I was puzzled about sentence 2 in my OP).

  5. 5jj's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • Czech Republic

    • Join Date: Oct 2010
    • Posts: 28,134
    #6

    Re: while I try/ I'm trying to

    Quote Originally Posted by nyota View Post
    So still the preference is towards the present continuous form when it comes to temporary actions (which is why I was puzzled about sentence 2 in my OP).
    Yes. Tdol explained the use of the present simple in this example in post #2.

    There are many times in which the situation is absolutely clear, and 99% of native speakers would all select the same form, and not select the other. However, there are many situations in which nobody can say for certain which form is likely to be used. It depends on how the speaker views the situation, probably subconsciously, at the moment of speaking.

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •