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    #1

    the use of present continuous

    Hello, I would like to ask about the use of present continuous.

    Is the below sentence OK?

    1. The flashing lights indicate that the bus is stopping.

    I asked a friend of mine(American) and he said he wouldn't use present continuous but say "the bus is about to stop."


    I don't see any big differences between "is stopping" and "is about to stop" probably because the translation of them are almost the same in my language.
    Would you tell me whether I can use present continuous here or not, and why I can or cannot. If I can use either, what is the difference in meaning?

    I would appreriate your help.


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    #2

    Re: the use of present continuous

    The flashing lights signal that the bus would stop

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    #3

    Re: the use of present continuous

    Thank you very much, schmoozed.

    You mean "signal" would be preferable in this case, right?
    I wounder if you would answer one more question.

    Is it OK to use present continuous tense or "is about to" instead of "would" in your example sentence? If it's OK, are there any differences in meaning? If not, why not?

    I would appreciate your help.


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    #4

    Re: the use of present continuous

    My point is simple. Is about to would also do the job; but if the same could be said in a word, why not? Some words add nothing but length to the prose...

  1. stuartnz's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: the use of present continuous

    It's interesting to note in this context that when I press the button to signal the driver that I wish to get off, a sign lights up that says "bus stopping". Schmoozed's point about economy of phrasing is a good one. "The light means that the bus is stopping" is what I would probably say and hear, here.

  2. banderas's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: the use of present continuous

    Quote Originally Posted by Yoshio View Post
    Hello, I would like to ask about the use of present continuous.

    Is the below sentence OK?

    1. The flashing lights indicate that the bus is stopping.

    I asked a friend of mine(American) and he said he wouldn't use present continuous but say "the bus is about to stop."


    I don't see any big differences between "is stopping" and "is about to stop" probably because the translation of them are almost the same in my language.
    Would you tell me whether I can use present continuous here or not, and why I can or cannot. If I can use either, what is the difference in meaning?

    I would appreriate your help.
    the bus is stopping= the bus is ialready n the process of stopping/slowing down

    the bus is about to stop=the bus will stop in a second or two


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    #7

    Re: the use of present continuous

    Quote Originally Posted by Yoshio View Post
    Hello, I would like to ask about the use of present continuous.

    Is the below sentence OK?

    1. The flashing lights indicate that the bus is stopping.

    I asked a friend of mine(American) and he said he wouldn't use present continuous but say "the bus is about to stop."


    I don't see any big differences between "is stopping" and "is about to stop" probably because the translation of them are almost the same in my language.
    Would you tell me whether I can use present continuous here or not, and why I can or cannot. If I can use either, what is the difference in meaning?

    I would appreriate your help.
    The two sentences have slightly different meanings.
    The present continuous suggests that the bus has started to stop and is in the process of stopping.
    The second sentence suggests that the light only comes on when the bus will stop imminently- it almost suggests that an instant after the lights flash that the bus will stop, its only experience that tells us otherwise.

    Really, they both convey the same meaning in this case, but I would choose to use the present continuous.


    Quote Originally Posted by schmoozed View Post
    The flashing lights signal that the bus would stop
    I disagree with this alteration, this uses would, and there is no need to introduce the conditional here. Signal is indeed another verb that you could use in place of indicate in this case, as a Brit, to me the verb signal in this case sounds very American.

  3. stuartnz's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: the use of present continuous

    Quote Originally Posted by banderas View Post
    the bus is stopping= the bus is ialready n the process of stopping/slowing down

    the bus is about to stop=the bus will stop in a second or two
    While this is technically true, as in the case of the sign, the usage will often be heard when "about to ..." would be more strictly accurate. When I press the button, for example, the bus will carry on at the same speed (70 km/h) for a minute or two before actually beginning to slow prior to stopping. During that minute or two, the sign reads "bus stopping". I think it's an example of the meaning being understood in context, just as most of us would understand that the sun rising and setting is not literally accurate either.

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    #9

    Re: the use of present continuous

    Thank you all very much for your kind assistance.
    I appreciate it very much.

    I am sorry that I didn't give enough information about what the light is like.
    What I have in mind is the one on the back of a school bus or something like that which tells the driver behind the bus that the bus is stopping.

    It seems that we can use continuous form here because such lights are on when bus drivers press the brake pedal and this means the action of stopping has already started.

    Thank you again for your help.

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