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  1. englishhobby's Avatar
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    #1

    Are they meeting today? Do they meet today?

    Is this sentence natural: Are they meeting today?
    Which is more natural: Do they meet today? or Are they meeting today?
    If I were a native speaker of English, I would never shut up. :-)

  2. Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Are they meeting today? Do they meet today?

    Both are natural, and they mean the same thing.

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    #3

    Re: Are they meeting today? Do they meet today?

    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****

    Hello, EnglishHobby:

    Teachers always remind us that context is king in English. That is to say, everything depends on the particular situation.

    So I believe that MAYBE (for at least some speakers) there could be a slight difference sometimes.

    *****

    James (telephones City Hall, the building where the city leaders work): Does the board meet today? [referring to a permanent situation]. I know that it meets once a week, but I keep forgetting on which day.

    Telephone operator: No, sir. It doesn't. Today is Wednesday. The board always meets on Mondays, not on Wednesdays.

    James: Oh, that's right. Now I remember. Sorry to bother you.

    *****

    Mona: I know that the board always meets on Mondays and that this is only Wednesday, but I heard on the news last night that the board was thinking about meeting today, too. Is the board meeting today? [referring to a temporary situation]

    Telephone operator: Yes, ma'am. It is meeting at this very moment. [referring to an action in progress.] It will last for one more hour.

    Mona: Thanks. I'll hurry down to City Hall because I have some business to discuss with the board members.




    Sources: Michael Swan, Practical English Usage (1995); Walter Kay Smart, English Review Grammar (1940; copyright renewed in 1968).

  3. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Are they meeting today? Do they meet today?

    I quite agree with the Parser in this question.

    "Do they meet today" would refer to a recurring situation.

    A: Is the Board meeting today?
    B: They meet every other Friday, unless it's the fifth Friday of the month.
    A: Oh, so do they meet today?
    B: Um, let's see. It's certainly Friday, and... it's the fourth Friday of the month, so yeah, they do.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  4. englishhobby's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: Are they meeting today? Do they meet today?

    Sorry for boostering this thread again. Just a follow-up question:
    He gets back tomorrow/He arrives tomorrow is quite a natural phrase in English, isn't it? (as I've been told in this forum before). But I don't think he gets back regularly, only tomorrow. Still, we use the present simple (and it's even preferrable). Why?
    Maybe here we have a situation closer to timetables and schedules where the present simple is normally used?
    If I were a native speaker of English, I would never shut up. :-)

  5. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: Are they meeting today? Do they meet today?

    We're not using the present simple to refer to a habitual action in "He gets back tomorrow". We're using it to refer to the future.

    It's nearly time for my holiday.
    Ooh, lucky you. When do you go?
    I go next Tuesday! I'm so excited.

    I have a four-day conference in Berlin next month.
    When is it?
    Let me see. I go on Monday the fifteenth and I get back on Saturday the twentieth. The conference is Tuesday to Friday.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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    #7

    Re: Are they meeting today? Do they meet today?

    Quote Originally Posted by englishhobby View Post
    Maybe here we have a situation closer to timetables and schedules where the present simple is normally used?
    We do.

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