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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Yes yes, you are right but in this sentence there is a complaint rather than a habit.
Doll is right. This is a special usage of the present continuous.
The present continuous can also be used to complain about a habit (a habit that is unpleasant or annoying to the speaker). Typically, the word 'always' (or sometimes a similar word) is also used in the sentence:

- I am always losing my keys. (This habit causes problems for me. I wish I didn't have this habit!)
- My teacher is always accusing me of doing things I didn't do.
- John is forever running out gas and I'm always the one who has to drop everything to go pick him up.

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That's very interesting, Doll and Yankee. I hadn't noticed that before.

Does the present simple convey a more benign attitude to the habit, do you think? e.g.

1. I always lose my keys. [Slightly complacent about the habit?]
2. My teacher always accuses me of doing things I didn't do. [Slightly amused?]
3. John always runs out gas and I'm always the one who has to drop everything to go pick him up. [Slightly amused resignation?]

As for me, I can't say that they are so different. I mean, I can't say use present simple when there is a more bening attitude but use present continuous for the situations that are not bening etc. Even I am sure students will not understand what I mean. Emotion: big smile

I just can say that this is a special usage of present continuous as stated before and not to be surprised if they see such a structure.
Using the present continuous also minimizes the "always" factor more than using the present simple. If you say, "I always lose my keys," it implies exactly that: you ALWAYS lose them (in which case, you should probably never leave the house!). Changing it to "I'm always losing my keys" implies that it happens often, but not really "always." The same distinction applies to the other examples.
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I'm not so sure, Etc.

For me, "I always lose my keys" has a slight air of exaggeration.

- You lost your keys!
- Hmm, so?
- You lost them again!
- What's the problem?
- Whaat? You are always losing your keys, you jackass!
- So what? I always lose my keys. I'm used to losing them, and I'm starting to like it.

LOL Emotion: wink
This is a very intersting discussion, as I have never been called upon to think about the difference in "attitude", using one tense or the other. I'll keep it in mind and see how I use them, myself.

That's one thing I love about this site: I'm always learning something new, even though I'm a native speaker, and I'm often learning them from non-native speakers [note the use of the continuous!]. Emotion: wink
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