Hello Teachers

I was taught not to use "find" in the progressive tense generally. However, I often come across "I am finding" online.

Examples are;
[1] I am finding a publisher for a book I have written.
[2] I am finding it difficult to trust my husband.

Are they correct and natural?

I know "find" has a lot of meanings. Could you tell me we can say "I am finding" in what meaning and we can't in what meaning?

1 2
Hi Paco - both of the examples you give seem fine to me. I have never heard a rule against "I am finding," but my guess would be that maybe it just means you can't say, "I am finding my keys" when you really mean "I am looking for my keys." Certainly if there is an ongoing process of finding more and more of whatever you are looking for you could say "I am finding" -- "I am finding more and more evidence of his guilt." "I am always finding new peculiarities about English grammar." I don't see anything wrong with these. Let's see what the moderators say.
Hello Khoff

Thank you for the quick reply as usual.

I took "I am finding" in #1 as "I am looking for". Was I wrong? That 'rule' is written in my E-J dictionary, though the reason is not given. I think "find" is a verb used to express an event that the subject experiences rather unintentionally, and it sounds someway like "see" (against "look at"), "hear" (against "listen to") and "understand". Do you say "I am seeing something", "I am hearing something", or "I am understanding something"?

Site Hint: Check out our list of pronunciation videos.
Hello Khoff

Thank you for the quick reply as usual.

Maybe this time I replied too quickly! I'm afraid my reply was somewhat inconsistent. You're right, in #1, "I'm finding a publisher..." really does mean "I'm looking for a publisher," and it would probably be better to say "I'm looking for a publisher." What I can't figure out is why "I'm finding a publisher for my book" would be a fairly common, though somewhat inexact, thing to say, whereas it would be very unusual to hear someone say "I'm finding my keys" instead of "I'm looking for my keys." I'll think about this one for a while, and maybe some other people will offer useful opinions.

Next part of your question - is this a correct analogy?

Look for : Find = Look at : See
On the one hand you could say that the first of each pair describes a conscious, voluntary action and the second describes something for passive.
On the other hand, if you look at something, you will definitely see it (assuming you have good vision), but if you look for something it does not necessarily follow that you will find it. Certainly you don't do both simultaneously. So I would say they are not analogous.

Next part of the question - would we say, "I am seeing/hearing/understanding something"?
I would say people do occasionally say these, but it would almost always be better and more natural-sounding to say "I see/hear/understand."

I've now got both of my daughters trying to figure out when we would say "I'm seeing" instead of "I see." We have not come up with any coherent rule, but here are some examples of when we might use this form:

I'm seeing a psychiatrist for my depression. (Consulting with professionally)
Are you seeing anyone? (Idiomatic: seeing = dating, going out with regularly)
I'm seeing spots - I should go to an eye doctor.
I'm hearing a lot of rumors lately about John and Mary.
Since I started reading English Forums, I'm understanding more and more how complex English is.

AHA! It seems to me that in all of these examples, you could substitute "I've been seeing..."
for "I'm seeing." Maybe it's just sort of a shortened or corrupted form of "I've been seeing/hearing/understanding."

Okay, it's time for me to ask for HELP from a moderator!

khoff (and daughters)
Regarding "I'm seeing" and "I see"

To me, "I'm seeing" means "meet someone on a regular basis" either for romantic purposes or not.

Whereas "I see" only refers to the ability of using your eyes.

You would never say "I'm seeing a lizard", at least I guess...
By the way, Khoff and Paco, I've been taught the same: never use "find" in the present progressive form, same as "hope", "love" ...
But the more I read, the more often I find examples of those verbs in the pres. progr. form which sound quite right, I mean which ARE quite right.
"I'm finding it more and more difficult to believe him"
"Gee, I'm loving this!" an impromtu witty dialogue?)
"Now, all I'm hoping for is ... err... to see him again (?)"
I think they all refer to an emotional progress (ing), like "I used to believe him, but now I'm not so sure"
On the other hand, "to see someone" and "to be seeing someone" have quite different meanings, am I right?
Students: We have free audio pronunciation exercises.
On the other hand, "to see someone" and "to be seeing someone" have quite different meanings, am I right?

Yes, definitely. If I say, "I see John," is means, "Oh, look! There's John!" But if I say "I'm seeing John," it means I am dating John or having a romantic relationship with John.

Another peculiar use of "see" involves doctors: "You should see your doctor once a year." "Are you seeing a doctor about that rash?" "Have you seen anyone about that bad knee of yours?" "Yes, I'm seeing (or 'going to') a physical therapist twice a week."

I know - the next question will be, "what do you say if you're having a romantic relationship with your doctor?"

I guess the answer would be "I'm seeing my doctor -- socially."
or I'm ... no, I can't say that!
Hello Khoff and Pieanne

Thank you for your postings.

I've pondered about this question myself and I am finding "I am finding" may be a right collocation. In school days I learned the verb "find" has basically two senses. One is "come upon (unintentionally)" and the other is "feel/perceive due as a result of experience or thought".

However, now I have a feeling that the first usage has developed to get some active sense:"discover intentionally". It may be the reason why Khoff takes "I am finding a publisher for my book" as a natural collocation. To me, the active "find" sounds to stress more on the result of the activity than "look for", though it is possible this writer chose "find" simply to avoid a stilted construction "looking for a publisher for my book".

As for the sentence "I am feeling it difficult to trust my husband", I am becoming to agree with Pieanne. The verb "find" in the sense of "perceive" is an emotional stative verb. Grammar books say that usually English speakers do not use a stative verb in a progressive construct. If it is the case, the sentence in question should be "I find it difficult to trust my husband". However, I feel that they use actually a progressive construct for an emotional stative verb, when they want to give a notion of development to the intensity of the emotion. In fact I often come across even such a sentence as "I am liking my new job". So I think I should take "I am finding it difficult to trust my husband" as suggesting the writer's distrust to her husband is progressively increasing.

Khoff, please give my best wishes to your daughters.

Teachers: We supply a list of EFL job vacancies
Show more