Hi, all

Why do we use present continuous for sentences like "I'm always losing my keys." If the present simple is for habits and truths, why don't we say "I always lose my keys."


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Comments  (Page 2) 
This point - how "always" + the present continuous can express a complaint - is quite useful when illustrating something of the English culture to Dutch students. Folks here in Holland tend to be pretty direct, compared to us English that is, when it comes to giving their opinion if they don't like something or don't agree with something. (= "Too honest to be polite") The English, on the other hand (= "Too polite to be honest") are more 'subtle' (!) and we let the grammar structure express our complaint for us...
There is another thread on the use of the present continuous with the word 'always'.
Coincidentally, both threads were started on the very same day:
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This was very, very handy.

In 4 days time I will be teaching a class and this "always" rule (pres simp vs cont) has always alluded me.

The example I was going to bring up was -

"She's always giving me chocolates" vs "she always gives me chocolates".

But I was lost.

The comparison therefore is-

the continuous form = criticism

the simple form = habit.


"Even a stopped clock tells the right time twice a day"

Bruce Robinson.
I don't know.........

I'm always winning awards. He is always playing tennis.

I think maybe we do this because we don't want to give a literal reading of always if no particular situation is specified or understood.

He loves tennis. He always plays tennis.

That would sound too literal. Where it doesn't matter maybe the two are fairly interchangeable.
Basically, since it doesn't make any sense really, it is used to exaggerate. That usually means complaint, but does not need to.

We may however somehow subconsciously associate the structure with complaint in some way perhaps?
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