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  1. sumon.'s Avatar
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    #1

    Smile In continuous tense or not

    Hi everyone,

    How are you today?

    How can we be sure something or actions meant in continuous tense or not , using "can" or any modals
    Such as, "I can not think it". Actually I meant I am not being able to think it. Or, it may be "I am not able to think it". Similarly, "I can not do it." meant I am not able to do it. or It may be "I am not being able to do ti."

    So, I want to know if the two senses are meant the same ideas or actions ; how i can be sure which one has been meant.

    Thank you all.

  2. Raymott's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: In continuous tense or not

    Quote Originally Posted by sumon. View Post
    Hi everyone,

    How are you today?

    How can we be sure something or actions meant in continuous tense or not , using "can" or any modals
    Such as, "I can not think it". Actually I meant I am not being able to think it. Or, it may be "I am not able to think it". Similarly, "I can not do it." meant I am not able to do it. or It may be "I am not being able to do ti."

    So, I want to know if the two senses are meant the same ideas or actions ; how i can be sure which one has been meant.

    Thank you all.
    The modals are generally not used in the continuous tense. Therefore, you have to take the meaning from the context.
    So, you can say, "I eat fish" to mean that you habitually eat fish, or "I'm eating fish" to say that you are doing it now. But if you say, "I can't eat this", it's possible that you mean either 'habitually' or 'now'.

    Some modals can be used in the continuous tense with 'be'.
    "I could be studying [now] instead of answering questions here"
    "I would be riding my motorbike [now] if it wasn't raining."
    Last edited by Raymott; 29-Aug-2011 at 02:17. Reason: Fix typos

  3. sumon.'s Avatar
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    #3

    Smile Re: In continuous tense or not

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    The modals are generally not used in the continuous tense. Therefore, you have to take the mean from the context.
    if you say, "I can't eat this", it's possible that you mean either 'habitually' or 'now'."
    Nice answer.
    But, sometimes, non-native speakers fail to understand the mean for this distinction .

  4. Raymott's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: In continuous tense or not

    Quote Originally Posted by sumon. View Post
    Nice answer.
    But, sometimes, non-native speakers fail to understand the mean for this distinction .
    Well, that's sad. What can we do about it?

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    #5

    Re: In continuous tense or not

    Quote Originally Posted by sumon. View Post
    Nice answer.
    But, sometimes, non-native speakers fail to understand the mean for this distinction .
    Context can often help. if someone is sitting at a table in a restaurant and says I can't eat this, is it more likely to refer to now or to habit?

  5. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: In continuous tense or not

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    Context can often help. if someone is sitting at a table in a restaurant and says I can't eat this, is it more likely to refer to now or to habit?
    In that particular example, the context wouldn't help me at all! If someone said that at a restaurant table, I would read three possible meanings into it:

    1) I can't eat this = I'm allergic to it (long-term, habit)
    2) I can't eat this = I'm on a diet (short-term)
    3) I can't eat this = I'm full (right now)

  6. sumon.'s Avatar
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    #7

    Smile Re: In continuous tense or not

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    In that particular example, the context wouldn't help me at all! If someone said that at a restaurant table, I would read three possible meanings into it:

    1) I can't eat this = I'm allergic to it (long-term, habit)
    2) I can't eat this = I'm on a diet (short-term)
    3) I can't eat this = I'm full (right now)


    Thank you.
    It can mean or refer to three ideas not two ideas and it doesn't always depend on the context .
    Last edited by sumon.; 29-Aug-2011 at 10:23. Reason: on

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