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Hello Teachers

I have a question. The question is: why "I am now studying English in school" is more natural than "I study now English in school" ?

This question came originally from a Japanese guy (probably an English teacher) whom I had an online talk with on the usage of the verb "study". I told him that sentences like "I study English everyday" or "Most of the Japanese kids study English in school" are natural, but "I study now English in school" is not. And I added we have to say rather "I am now studying English in school". Then he asked me the question above.

I believe this question is of beginner's levels, but I myself could not find a persuasive answer to it. What I told him as the reason was only that English speakers take a personal activity of studying a language as a short-term event that will eventually ends, and it is a rule of English that they use a present progressive construct rather than a simple present construct for such short-term events. But he seems not to have got satisfied with this answer. So could you give me any better answer?

paco
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Comments  
The question is: why "I am now studying English in school" is more natural than "I study now English in school" ?


It's a matter of word order, paco. We don't put an adverb between the verb and the object.

there are 3 possible posistions for adverbs:

initial position:

" Now I study English"

mid-position:

"I now study English"

end position:

"I study English now"

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Abbie

Thank you for such a quick reply!

So if we say "Now I study English in school", it sounds to you as natural as "I am now studying English in school" or "Now I am studying English in school"?

I think what he argued was a question about the choice btw simple present/present progressive tenses rather than about the adverb's position.

paco
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To paco,

Compare:-

a) I studied only Japanese in school before, but now I study English (in school) as well.

b) I didn't know any English before, so I am now studying English in school.

Are "now I study English....." and "I am now studying English....." interchangeable in the above two sentences, may I ask?
Hello Temico

Thank you for the message. But sorry I have to say I could not get quite sure about what you meant. Do you mean "Now I study English in school" is equal to "I am now studying English in school"? If you mean so, could you kindly explain how come these two expressions get the same?

paco
Paco,

Re: I could not get quite sure about what you meant.

a) I could not BE sure OF what you meant.
b) I am not quite sure about what you meant.

Both my above sentences and yours "mean" the same, but are they really the same??
The same logic applies to my previous examples.
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Both my above sentences and yours "mean" the same, but are they really the same??


Hmm. Maybe I'm not reading this properly, temico, but it sounds a bit esoteric to me!
So if we say "Now I study English in school", it sounds to you as natural as "I am now studying English in school" or "Now I am studying English in school"?


I think colloquially we would probably say "Now I'm studying English in/at ***"

As is so often the case in English, precise usage depends largely upon the particular context.

"I used to study medicine but now I'm studying English" (matter of fact)

"Oh - I gave up medicine. I study English now!" (didn't you know?)

I think that either the present simple or the pres. progressive may be used without affecting the meaning. Emotion: smile

To Abbie,

Which of the following two sentences is more correct/appropriate/ (whatever):-

a) I used to eat bread only, now I eat rice too.
b) I used to eat bread only, now I am eating rice too.

Thanks.
Hello Temico

Do you want me to pay you respects for your being excellent at writing English? OK, you can be sure about it. I know you are very very good at English and I respect you for that. Frankly speaking, I respect everyone who comes here as my teacher, since I am a mere English learner at a beginner's level.

paco
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