Ask Kat: to talk vs. to being talking

Ask Kat: to talk vs. to being talking

文章Kooper » 週五 3月 18, 2011 11:06 am

Hi Kat,

How is everything going? I know that you are preparing for a travel back to Taiwan sometime in April so you must be extremely busy now. I am also excited about your coming return. :D
Lately I have been revisiting my word list and two sentences caught my eye.

1. They've only just met - isn't it jumping the gun to being talking about marriage already?
2. The company's dominance of the market is gradually being chipped away.

My question is if I don't use present continuous tense in the two sentences, would they convey different messages?

1. They've only just met - isn't it jumping the gun to talk about marriage already?
2. The company's dominance of the market is gradually chipped away.

When can I use present continuous tense like the first two sentences?

I really appreciate all the help you have given so far and wish you well. :ccry:
Kooper
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Re: Ask Kat: to talk vs. to being talking

文章Kat C » 週六 3月 19, 2011 4:32 am

Hey Kooper,

How's it going? Things are moving along fairly well at this end. Great questions and something that can be confusing to most people.

1. The Present Continuous has many uses, the biggest one being for something still in progress. This example is commenting either on two people planning on getting married, or on one trying to get a "yes" from the other. But the point is that they're talking / thinking about marriage at the time of the comment (doesn't have to be in the same minute; it could be in the same week). So when you use this tense, something is not finished, is not a regular thing, or will not last forever.

If you use the Present Simple (or Simple Present) here, it turns into a "general" comment: Isn't it jumping the gun for anyone to talk about marriage after just one month of dating?

2. If you use the Present Simple, this sentence turns into something of certain regularity: The company's dominance of the market gets (/is) chipped away every time there is a leadership change.

More examples for The Present Continuous:
1) Tim is working the night shift this month.
2) “Time is running out for the Libyan people,” Kerry said. (The Washington Post)
3) China is building almost as many nuclear power plants as the rest of the world combined. (The Economist)

The Present Continuous tense has other uses, but I'm afraid I don't have time to go into them all now. :wink: Hope this helps, though!

Kat
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Kat C
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Re: Ask Kat: to talk vs. to being talking

文章Angel Lin » 週四 3月 24, 2011 9:25 pm

I often hear that some conversations use The Present Continuous tense in movies, and I guess they're emphasizing something or some circumstances, but don’t really know what the differences are between them.
Now I’ve learned more.
I truly thank you both for long-term devotion to YOYO!
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Re: Ask Kat: to talk vs. to being talking

文章Kooper » 週日 3月 27, 2011 9:35 am

Dear Kat,

Thank you so much for your explanation. Now I got it. The basic rules of present continuous tense still hold in the two sentences - something is ongoing and is not finished. I think I got confused because I was not familiar with a present continuous tense being used in a passive sentence (is being chipped away) or in an infinitive (to being talking about marriage). Now that I have learned them, I should practice using them whenever applicable. :ssmile: Have a good day!

Kooper
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Re: Ask Kat: to talk vs. to being talking

文章Kooper » 週日 3月 27, 2011 9:36 am

Angel Lin 寫:I often hear that some conversations use The Present Continuous tense in movies, and I guess they're emphasizing something or some circumstances, but don’t really know what the differences are between them.
Now I’ve learned more.
I truly thank you both for long-term devotion to YOYO!

Not at all. :ssmile:
Kooper
Vice President
 
文章: 2409
註冊時間: 週三 4月 11, 2007 11:40 pm

Re: Ask Kat: to talk vs. to being talking

文章Kat C » 週一 3月 28, 2011 8:42 am

You're welcome. Present continuous shows up a lot in conversations. Pay attention to dialogues in TV shows or fiction and see where it can be used.

More examples:

1) "They're not still shortchanging you your break time, are they?"

2) A:"You sound busy."
B: "Just getting some work done."

3) A: "Don't do me any favors."
B: "I'm being honest."

(The Best American Short Stories 2010)

Kat
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Kat C
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