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    #1

    Jane's classmates stare/are staring at her.

    Sometimes it is possible to use both present simple and present continuous in storytelling without a significant change in the meaning. Is there a big difference in your perception of the same text written with different tenses? E. g.

    1.
    “Jane?”
    Jane’s classmates are staring at her.
    “Jane?” her professor is saying, looking at her with concern. He is not teaching anymore.

    2.
    “Jane?”
    Jane’s classmates stare at her.
    “Jane?” her professor says, looking at her with concern. He is not teaching anymore./He doesn't teach anymore

    In Micael Swan's Grammar I found that the present progressive is used for background events. Can we use the present progressive for events happening one after another? I think in the first example we have just this case.
    And can we use He doesn't teach anymore in the second example?
    Last edited by englishhobby; 05-Aug-2016 at 17:14.
    If I were a native speaker of English, I would never shut up. :-)

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    #2

    Re: present simple versus present continuous

    Quote Originally Posted by englishhobby View Post
    “Jane?” her professor says, looking at her with concern. He is not teaching anymore./He doesn't teach anymore

    <SNIP>

    And can we use He doesn't teach anymore in the second example?
    No. That means that he has given up his teaching job.
    I am not a teacher.

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    #3

    Re: Jane's classmates stare/are staring at her.

    Please note that I have changed your thread title.

    Extract from the Posting Guidelines:

    'Thread titles should include all or part of the word/phrase being discussed.'

  2. englishhobby's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: present simple versus present continuous

    Quote Originally Posted by GoesStation View Post
    No. That means that he has given up his teaching job.
    Thanks. And could you please clarify the first question as well?Is there a big difference in your perception of the two texts?
    If I were a native speaker of English, I would never shut up. :-)

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    #5

    Re: present simple versus present continuous

    Quote Originally Posted by englishhobby View Post
    1.
    “Jane?”
    Jane’s classmates are staring at her.
    “Jane?” her professor is saying, looking at her with concern. He is not teaching anymore.

    2.
    “Jane?”
    Jane’s classmates stare at her.
    “Jane?” her professor says, looking at her with concern. He is not teaching anymore. <SNIP>

    In Micael Swan's Grammar I found that the present progressive is used for background events. Can we use the present progressive for events happening one after another? I think in the first example we have just this case.
    And can we use He doesn't teach anymore in the second example?
    Quote Originally Posted by englishhobby View Post
    Thanks. And could you please clarify the first question as well?Is there a big difference in your perception of the two texts?
    Text 2 is written more conventionally, as a narrative introduced with the historical present. The present continuous in text 1 makes the action feel a little more immediate; the reader might imagine the events happening in the actual present, while knowing they aren't. So I'd say there's a perceptible difference but it's not huge.
    I am not a teacher.

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