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    #1

    present continious for "habitual" situations

    Hello everybody,

    It is almost impossible to find in grammar books about the usage of the present continious tense for "habitual" actions though it seems that its quite commonly used in the english language. Only in one place I've found that the present continious is used to denote some "temporary habit" too.

    My question is whether it would be correct to use the present continious tense in the following context:


    " You've been vacationing here for such a long time. Aren't you worried about the garden back home?"


    Can I answer like :



    " Oh,not at all. I'm coming here regularly every week so it's not a problem really."

    or

    " Actually, I'm growing only sorts of flowers which don't need much water, so I don't need to worry about it."


    Thanks for the answer

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    #2

    Re: present continious for "habitual" situations

    "you are vacationing" is correct because it's a continuing event. And we are talking about one (long) vacation that is currently in progress, continuing.

    "I am coming" doesn't work. It's an event that happens, and then is over. Think of it in terms of an airplane "I am landing here regularly" - no - you land here frequently. Each time you land, it's over, and then you land again. You can say only that you "are landing" is during the actual event itself, and if it is "are landing regularly" that means that that one particular instance of landing is regular, rather than irregular. The only time you will hear "I am coming" is either as a promise of future attendance at an event, or during sexual climax.

    "I am growing" might work as growing is a continuing project. It is so well understood that you don't grow something in an instant, however, that you can just as easily and correctly say, "I grow only the sorts of flowers that ...."

    So, to state it simply, if the event is currently in progress, you can use the form
    "I am kicking" myself for not having studied harder.
    but
    "I kick" that damned waste basket every time I come around that corner.
    Both examples are in a present tense.

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    #3

    Re: present continious for "habitual" situations

    With I am growing, it could mean that the person normally grows different sorts and this year they are growing something different but may go back to the old sort if they aren't satisfied with the results.

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    #4

    Re: present continious for "habitual" situations

    Hello Jlinger and Tdol,

    It would be great if you would give some possible answer to :

    " You've been vacationing here for such a long time. Aren't you worried about the garden back home?"


    which would reflect the use of the present continious tense in expressing regularity of action.


    I want to say also that the way you have explained the use of "is growing" in the sentence Tdol was the exact meaning I was trying to express with it in that sentence . I'm happy I wasn't totally wrong with my answer

    Best regards
    Last edited by velimir; 22-Nov-2008 at 21:43.


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    #5

    Re: present continious for "habitual" situations

    Quote Originally Posted by velimir View Post
    Hello everybody,

    It is almost impossible to find in grammar books about the usage of the present continious tense for "habitual" actions though it seems that its quite commonly used in the english language. Only in one place I've found that the present continious is used to denote some "temporary habit" too.

    My question is whether it would be correct to use the present continious tense in the following context:


    " You've been vacationing here for such a long time. Aren't you worried about the garden back home?"


    Can I answer like :



    " Oh,not at all. I'm coming here regularly every week so it's not a problem really."

    or

    " Actually, I'm growing only sorts of flowers which don't need much water, so I don't need to worry about it."


    Thanks for the answer
    Hello velimir,

    An example of the present continuous for a habitual action would be:

    Sally: Let's go to
    Boston this....
    Frank (interrupting): Not Boston again, we should go to
    New York.
    Sally: There, you did it again! You are always interrupting me.
    Frank: And you're always talking about
    Boston like it was some kind of paradise.

    It's curious to note that typically this use of the present continuous for a habitual action is very restricted and usually occurs when we are being critical or complaining about something or someone.

    I hope that helps.

    Matthew Balson
    author of The Secret Lives of English Verbs

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    #6

    Re: present continious for "habitual" situations

    Hello Competence,

    I'm grateful for your help.

    I have come across examples when the present continious tense is used in the way you have described it Competence, i.e when we complain about something or so. But can it be used to denote a repetitive action other than when we grumble about something ?
    Most headache gives me the usage of the present continious in the situations which grammarians most often call "around now", as in the example Tdol has given in his post . I often don't know what is that time stretch or limit which gives the action or situation the sense of "temporariness" . I guess that time clauses or phrases in the context or in the same sentence indicate the appropriate use of present continious in such situations .

    Would you please check if the following two sentences mean the same:

    "The price of wheat dropped a few years ago so I changed my mind .I am growing corn and barley; I find them more profitable. "

    " Since the price of wheat dropped a few years ago I've been growing corn and barley; I find them more profitable."


    I would also like you to check if the correct answers to the sentence from my first post :

    " You've been vacationing here for such a long time. Aren't you worried about the garden back home?"

    would be:

    " I'm going to come over there more often this week so it is not a problem."


    " I will be home more often this week so it is not a problem"


    Thank you for your help

    Best wishes

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    #7

    Re: present continious for "habitual" situations

    Would you please check if the following two sentences mean the same:

    "The price of wheat dropped a few years ago so I changed my mind .I am growing corn and barley; I find them more profitable. "

    " Since the price of wheat dropped a few years ago I've been growing corn and barley; I find them more profitable."

    Yes, they mean the same (you are growing crops now)



    " You've been vacationing here for such a long time. Aren't you worried about the garden back home?"

    I'll be dropping by my house this week so it won't be a problem

    I'll be checking on my garden this week when I drop by the house.

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    #8

    Re: present continious for "habitual" situations

    Hello Susiedq,

    Thank you for your answer.

    Would you please briefly comment on the two sentences :

    " I'm going to come over there more often this week so it is not a problem."

    " I will be home more often this week so it is not a problem"

    which I gave as possible answers on the question :

    " You've been vacationing here for such a long time. Aren't you worried about the garden back home?"

    Best regards

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    #9

    Re: present continious for "habitual" situations

    " I'm going to go over there more often this week so it is not a problem."

    " I will be home more often this week so it is not a problem" OK

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    #10

    Re: present continious for "habitual" situations

    Thank you for the answer Susiedq

    Best regards

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