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Good morning

I have some papers to correct, and as I am alone at home I can't talk to other teachers.
Here is my question :
In an exercise about tenses, I have come upon this sentence :

"These days, a lot of immigrants (to come) from Asia.

Obviously, the tense to use is the PRESENT SIMPLE. That's what a colleague told me on the phone. However, I have some doubts. Can't we write "ARE COMING", since there is "these days", when we want to insist on the fact that there are really so many Asian immigrants "presently", "now"..... ?

Thank you for your kind answers
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In an exercise about tenses, I have come upon this sentence :

"These days, a lot of immigrants (to come) from Asia.

Obviously, the tense to use is the PRESENT SIMPLE. That's what a colleague told me on the phone. However, I have some doubts. Can't we write "ARE COMING", since there is "these days", when we want to insist on the fact that there are really so many Asian immigrants "presently", "now"..... ?

JTT: It's not completely out of the question, Vance but it's not the most natural for ENLs and since we rule the language, well, ya just gotta fall in step if ya wanna be with the natural crowd.Emotion: smile

The fundamental difference between '__ing' and present simple is that 'ing' relates to a near future [not the case here] or a contained present. "contained' means that it doesn't venture too far from the feeling of 'now'.

When something gets to be a commonality, a scheduled thing, a routine thing, then we tend to switch to the present simple. "these days" tends to make it sound like it is a common thing, so the present simple would be the best. If we used a near synonym, 'recently', then

... a lot of immigrants have been coming from Asia.

would be in order.

For 'ing' to be used in a natural manner, the time frame would have to be squeezed a bit and limited in nature.

For example;

A lot of immigrants from Asia are coming in the next week because of the civil unrest in ...
Couldn't the -ing present be used as it is in:
"I'm presently writing a book about tulips"
It would look fine to me...
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Yes, you sure could, Pieanne. 'presently' is a near equivalent of 'now'. Granted, the writing of a book often takes a considerable period of time but this particular form would be very very unlikely to shift into the present simple;

*I write a book about tulips.??
My point was:
"These days, a lot of immigrants from Asia are coming in because of the ..." sounds fine to me.
You seem to be right Pieanne, the problem with this exercise is that all the sentences of this exercise are without a context.
one more serious example : "Mario (to live) in Houston for two months."
The present perfect is expected from the students.
But, when I find a past simple I considere it correct, because the one who built up the sentences was not precise enough.
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That's right, you always need context in English...

Mario (to live) in Houston for two months

Mario has lived in Houston for 2 months.
Mario has been living in Houston for 2 months (more common with stative verbs).
Mario lived in Houston for 2 months before moving to New York
Mario had lived in Houston for 2 months before he moved to New York.
Hello Vance

1. These days, a lot of immigrants (to come) from Asia.

I find a slight ambiguity here between a) 'come from = originate in' and b) 'come from = arrive from'.

If a), I would say 'present simple':

2. Nowadays, most NHS dentists come from South Africa.

If b), I would say 'present progressive':

3. These days, many more immigrants are coming into the country from Mozambique and Madagascar.

MrP
Pieanne wrote:

My point was:
"These days, a lot of immigrants from Asia are coming in because of the ..." sounds fine to me.

JTT: I initially wrote more in my reply to you, PA but I erased it. The reason; I was really knackered and that is not the best time to try and think about complex language issues. I'm glad you didn't just let it drop.

Grammar isn't the only thing that determines word choice. In fact, choosing certain words can tend to make us choose certain forms. Register also plays a part. Let me suggest that the simple addition of "in" in your semtence changes the register enough to make your example natural.

When we use synonyms, in order to give some effect to language, we often change the verb structure to match that 'effect'. For an example, let's use the verb 'flood'.

*These days, a lot of immigrants flood in from Asia. ??

This is at best, highly unusual, if not ungrammatical. But a shift to the present progressive,

These days, a lot of immigrants are flooding in from Asia.

makes the sentence much more natural. The shift to the progressive matches the verb choice. The speaker wants more immediacy, more "nowness".

As I mentioned in my first response on this, sometimes the choice isn't absolute but there is a tendency for ENLs to go one way more so than the other, again depending on what variables are included.

I hope this has now helped you see what you must have thought was a huge discrepancy.
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