"is not reading" is what?

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eagleflych

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Hi everybody:

I've seen the negative sentence below in a book and I've not understood it's meaning. Please help me.

----"She is not reading the book right now."

I've thought three possible explanations:

1. The process of reading the book doesn't exist right now. (The speaker is hinting that she may have already read the book or may start reading the book in the future, etc)

2. The state of not reading the book exists right now. (The speaker simply is stating the fact of "not reading the book" and doesn't mean any hints)

3. The state of not reading the book exists right now. (The speaker is hinting that the state of not reading the book will end in the not very distant future and she will start reading the book in the not very distant future)

Which explanation above is right?

Thanks a lot in advance.:-D
 

jctgf

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hi,
i am just a student.
interesting question!
it seems to me that you can imply all the three interpretations from the sentence.
i am not sure the sentence's author intended to be so controversial, though.
without more context, i would simply stick to the first option.
thanks.
 

Anglika

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If you consider the sentence, "She is not reading the book right now.", it tells you (a) she is not at this moment reading the book, and (b) the implication in "right now" is that she may well start reading at any moment. Therefore #3 is the closest.
 

jctgf

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hi,
i know what you mean: #3 is the most comprehensive interpretation and beyond doudt the most accurate, right?
however, can't i simply say that #1 and #2 are equally acceptable? is it possible to say that they are not complete interpretations but correct ones?
thanks.
 

Anglika

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I think you can say that #2 is acceptable, but #1 is not as there is nothing in the sentence to say that the reader had already read the book.
 

stuartnz

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I'm not a teacher, but after thinking about this for several minutes, I think I'd go with Anglika. The reason is that phrase right now, which carries a sense of absolute immediacy and urgency, and so in a negative construction like this one, it implies that the situation is about to change soon.
 
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