Hello there, I read a lot on your forums for the last few weeks since I began a job of proofreading in a software company.

My mission is to transform system messages from low level English to significative/business English. Sometimes I encounter very odd sentences with obscure meanings but this time I am more wondering about a style/grammar issue.

It concerns these two sentences:

1 - Is this payment applying to the customer?


2- Does this payment apply to the customer?

I am puzzled for two things. One is that the first one sounds better to my ears. Second I think the first one gives a sense of "on the moment" feeling to the message which would appear as a question while a cashier processes a transaction. It just sounds more accurate to me.

On the other hand: "This payment is applying to the customer." sounds bad.
"Applies" would be correct in that context. And think I was taught not to use "to be" with "ing" in most cases.

Where am I losing it???


Either 1- or 2- works, Adam. The problem I see is with the wording "payment apply(ing)" to the customer". I am not sure what it means in that context.
I want to ask in the first example.....the customer's 'what'? In using the 'ing' form I feel like there is missing information. The second example is certainly grammatically correct.
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It is the customer as the customer. As far as i can tell. The message appears when the cashier tries to use a payment method for a certain transaction.
 Casi's reply was promoted to an answer.