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Hello,

- He _________ 'David copperfield'. (read)

If I fill the gap with present continous tense 'is reading', would it mean 'he is reading..." at this moment; right now? Can't we use the 'present continous tense' to express the idea that we do something habitually or repeatedly or routinely in the present? I know we use present simple tense for something that we do habitually or repeatedly, but I'd like to know if we could also use the present continuous in this sense, please.

Thank you.
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He is reading 'David Copperfield'. He has started the book sometime recently, and has not finished it. He might read a few pages a day, or a chapter a week. It does not necessarily mean that he has the book open in front of him right at this moment.
It's really a matter of how you define the present.

The context and common sense usually makes the matter clear.
ee Look, that man is falling off a ladder.
eg I am living in Toronto while I attend university, but my real home is in Montreal.

If you say 'I am reading David Copperfield', the context usually makes the time reference clear,
eg right this minute, eg this summer.
It would be extremely odd if someone spent eg 10 years reading it.

Clive
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OK. And thanks to both of you, Alphecca Stars and Clive, for your helpful replies! Emotion: smile After reading your posts, I understood that we could use the present continuous tense for things that are happening in the present,but not necessarily at the moment or time of speaking.

But would you kindly tell me how you would make a distinction between present continuous tense and present simple tense?
We can also use the present simple tense for things that are happening in the present, but not necessarily at the time we utter something in the present simple tense.

For eg, we could say both 'He's reading David Copperfield everyday or daily' and 'He reads David Copperfield everyday or daily', but I don't know how the two sentences 'he's reading...' and 'he reads...' distinguishes from each other in meaning. How could I explain the difference between these two sentences if I were to?

Thank you once more!
Dave's reading David Copperfield. - Dave started to read the book. We assume that he will finish at some time in the future.

Dave reads about 10 pages of David Copperfield every day. - This is more specific about how much he reads each day, until he finishes.

Dave reads classical English literature. - The simple present usually is habitual action. There are a lot of books that Dave can choose from, so his reading will not finish anytime soon.

Dave reads the newspaper on the train on his way to work. Very common.

Dave reads David Copperfield on the train on his way to work. - We assume that he reads the same book over and over again. Not very common.
One of the key features of progressive/continuous forms is that they almost always convey some idea of the limited duration of the situation they are used for. Simple forms do not, in themselves, convey this idea.
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TomJI understood that we could use the present continuous tense for things that are happening in the present,but not necessarily at the moment or time of speaking.
Correct. The present continuous can be used when the activity you're describing is intermittent. The activity may be in progress or not at the specific moment that you utter the sentence.

Jake is playing tennis a lot this week. (We do not take this to mean that he plays tennis continually during the whole week without stopping to eat or sleep! Obviously, Jake takes breaks to do other things during the week.)

Likewise:

The roses in Lucy's garden are blooming profusely this year. (There may be times during the season when no roses are blooming, but in general, during the year there are often many roses blooming — intermittently, i.e., from time to time.)
TomJ[ 1 ] He's reading David Copperfield ... daily' ... [ 2 ] 'He reads David Copperfield ... daily'
1. Intermittently, slowing making progress from day to day.
2. From beginning to end every day. (Not a likely thing for someone to do.)
__________________

Here's another one that works the same way.

1. Joe is painting the house every day. (more and more of the same house every day, intermittently)
2. Joe paints the house every day. (all of the same house every day) (Not likely.)

CJ
First of all, heartily thanks to both of you, CalifJim and fivejedjon, for helping me with this complicated (to me at least) issue.
CalifJimThe present continuous can be used when the activity you're describing is intermittent. The activity may be in progress or not at the specific moment that you utter the sentence.
You said the activity is 'intermittent' i.e., starting and stopping at regular intervals (I looked up 'intermittent' in a dictionary. I didn't know what it meant before). But sir, we can also use 'present simple' for that... I mean to describe something that is intermittent, can't we? For eg, If I say 'he's eating an apple every day', this would mean that the action of his eating an apple occurs every day, but it's not neccessary that he's eating an apple right now, at the moment or time the speaker utters the sentence. And if I say 'he eats an apple every day', this would also mean that the action (of his eating an apple) occurs/happens every day, but isn't necessarily happening at the moment/time the speaker speaks the sentence. I'd like to ask you then what the difference is between 'he's eating an apple every day' and 'he eats an apple every day', please... as both seem to me to be conveying the same idea.

@fivejedjon... I think that is why I usually hear 'I'm learning how to drive a car', not 'I learn how to drive a car'. And 'we're working on a new project', not 'we work on a new project'. If I say 'I'm working in an MNC', this would mean that I'm there for a limited duration or period of time, the situation of my working there is temporary. Likewise, If I say 'I'm living in XYZ town or let's say, with my grandparents', It means the situation of my living in XYZ town or living with my grandparents is temporary. Am I right, fivejedjon? Is this what you wanted me to understand?

Thank you all once again for giving me your precious time!
TomJLikewise, If I say 'I'm living in XYZ town or let's say, with my grandparents', It means the situation of my living in XYZ town or living with my grandparents is temporary. Am I right
You are right. However, I prefer 'limited duration' to 'temporary; because 'temporary' suggests to some people a shortness of time that is not, in my opinion, so strongly suggested by 'limited duration'.

When I used to say 'I am living in Prague', I had no intention of leaving in the near future. I was merely suggesting that I did not regard Prague as my permanent home for life. When I found myself saying 'I live in Prague', I realised that the possibility of my ever leaving was becoming more and more remote.

Note, however, that there are no hard and fasr rules about this. It's very much a personal thing, and the speaker may not even be consciously aware of the form s/he is using at the moment of speaking. Sometimes the question "Which is the correct form?" is not appropriate, because we don't know the wider context.

In your sentences, "He eats/is eating an apple a day", the difference is that the present simple merely states the fact. The present progressive/continuous adds the idea of limited duration. He has not always eaten an apple a day and/or may not always continue to do so.
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