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Below, I have 3 examples which may or may not make sense depending on the context. I was curious what other people thought of these sentences. Which of the following are interchangeable and which are obviously different?

1) Do you drive to work?

A) No, I am taking the train now.
B) No, I take the train now.

2) Do you go out to restaurants for dinner after work?

A) No, I am cooking now.
B) No, I cook now.

3) I am sorry for calling so late, but I have something important to discuss. Are you busy now?

A) No, I am just reading a book.
B) No, I read (a book, books).
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Comments  


Dear wwwdotcom,

It is a most interesting question.

It is my opinion that it is possible to conclude from the question in number 1 and in number 2 that it is a question about a habit. It is possible therefore to comprehend each answer as an answer about habit.

It is further my opinion that it is not possible to conclude from the question in number 3 that it is a question about a habit. It is not possible therefore to give the answer 3B. The answer 3B pertains to a habit only.

It is only my opinion however. Emotion: smile

Kind regards, Emotion: smile

Goldmund
Alright, but which would you use 1a, 2a? or 1b,2b? or both? Please explain why you made your choice. I think all of them could be relative to some habitual act, but I was really trying to get feedback on the verb as it stands as an infinitive versus turned into present continuous (verb + -ing). If you notice, "a" has verb + ing, but "b" is just the verb.
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WwwdotcomBelow, I have 3 examples which may or may not make sense depending on the context. I was curious what other people thought of these sentences. Which of the following are interchangeable and which are obviously different?

1) Do you drive to work?

A) No, I am taking the train now.
B) No, I take the train now.

2) Do you go out to restaurants for dinner after work?

A) No, I am cooking now.
B) No, I cook now.

3) I am sorry for calling so late, but I have something important to discuss. Are you busy now?

A) No, I am just reading a book.
B) No, I read (a book, books).
One question, if I may, before I offer my opinion on this.. Why did you add "now" in all the examples above? What's meaning for you of "now" in each sentence?
milky,

Well, I originally had "still" which I removed (as in "Do you still drive to work?"). In that case, now was to denote a change from the past. However, that doesn't really address the crux of my question. So, I took "still" out. I don't really see a change with or without "now" in 1, and in 2 it doesn't sound right to not have "now" in sentence "a". For three, it's more of a polite way to request someone's attention than a time reference. Again, this veers off into a different direction than my original focus.

I am asking about the tense PRESENT CONTINUOUS and the PLAIN VERB FORM, NOTHING ELSE.

Change it to whatever way suits you, so as long as you keep intact these 2 parts. That's where my focus of the question lies.
Just my thoughts... Clearly in 1) & 2) you are asking about habits. This is not the case in 3), so I would exclude B) in 3).

Now, 1) & 2). "Do you drive to work?" is a yes or no question > "yes, I do"/"no, I don't". Or maybe if your habits have changed "Well, I used to, but now I take the train" (a new habit)/ "I used to, but I'm taking the train now" (an activity that you're still engaged in). Or "I've been taking the train of late" (not a habit, but something you've been doing frequently lately and are still doing).

This may be quite irrelevant Emotion: sad
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Ok,

but.....

So far, three people have responded. 2 have mentioned habits, the other asked a question about the use of "now" before commenting.

Can someone reply to the question directly? How does it relate to PRESENT CONTINUOUS versus PLAIN FORM?

Please avoid tangents. I am specifically asking about the tenses of the verbs.

1 has a AND b. WHICH IN 1 would you use? A or B? and why?
2 has a AND b. WHICH IN 2 would you use? A or B? and why?
3 has a AND b. WHICH IN 3 would you use? A or B? and why?

PLEASE DO NOT compare 1 with 2 or 3, and 2 with 3.

In case 1, how would you answer? In case 2, how would you answer? and in 3, how would you answer? A or B?
I would answer:

1. No, I take the train.

(Possible: No, I'm taking the train these days.)

2. No, I eat at home.

(Possible: No, I'm eating at home these days.)

3. No, that's ok, I was just reading a book.

Or: No, that's ok, I'm just making a sandwich.

(But not the simple present.)

MrP
Wwwdotcommilky,

Well, I originally had "still" which I removed (as in "Do you still drive to work?"). In that case, now was to denote a change from the past. However, that doesn't really address the crux of my question. So, I took "still" out. I don't really see a change with or without "now" in 1, and in 2 it doesn't sound right to not have "now" in sentence "a". For three, it's more of a polite way to request someone's attention than a time reference. Again, this veers off into a different direction than my original focus.

I am asking about the tense PRESENT CONTINUOUS and the PLAIN VERB FORM, NOTHING ELSE.

Change it to whatever way suits you, so as long as you keep intact these 2 parts. That's where my focus of the question lies.
I assure you that my question was wholly related to your search for the reasoning behind different applications of those two tenses.

Anyway:

1) Do you drive to work?

A) No, I am taking the train now.
B) No, I take the train now.

  • The progressive form is used when the speaker perceives/understands the action as limited in some way, i.e. as having a beginning and an end. In your sentence, the "now" could imply that there has been a change of circumstances regarding the method of getting to work.

  • The simple form is not seen as bounded/limited.That sentence can also indicate a change in circumstances.

  • Either form can express the fact that the respondent goes by train in the present, but it is the choice of the progressive or simple which can tell us about the real, or perceived, duration of the activity.
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