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What's the difference in meaning between the following sentences?

1. Millions of people watch the program every night.

2. Millions of people are watching the program every night.
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Hi,

What's the difference in meaning between the following sentences? They suggest that the time frames referenced are of different lengths or durations.

1. Millions of people watch the program every night. Perhaps this is a program that has been watched by millions of people every night for 10 years.

2. Millions of people are watching the program every night. This sounds much more immediate, much more related to the recent past and recent future. It sounds quite possible that the program has only been watched for a few days, and will only be on for a few more days.

Best wishes, Clive
3. The man drives the car every day.

4. The man is driving the car every day.

5. The boy brings the milk every morning.

6. The boy is bringing the milk every morning.

What's the difference in meaning between the above pairs?
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I agree with Clive.
Hi Sitifan,
Please read my earlier reply, particularly the comment that
They suggest that the time frames referenced are of different lengths or durations.

Now consider how this can apply to your new examples.
If you still have queries, please post again.

Best wishes, Clive
3. The man drives the car every day.

4. The man is driving the car every day.

5. The boy brings the milk every morning.

6.? The boy is bringing the milk every morning.

#3 and #5 are correct. A native speaker of British English tells me that while it would be acceptable to say The man is driving the car every day., since the act of driving can be seen as extending over a long period, perhaps even most of the day, ?The boy is bringing the milk every morning. is strange, since the delivering of milk (at least from the speaker's viewpoint) would normally be conceived of as a simple act of relatively short duration, not therefore naturally expressed via the progressive.

What's your comment on the above judgement call, Clive?
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I will let Clive speak for himself on this, but I think he has already explained quite well how the meanings of the simple present and the progressive present differ when an adverb of habit occurs with them.

The simple form signals no time interval at all. Thus, an every-day occurrence expressed with the simple present (as is most usual) may be thought of as always having taken place, and as always destined to take place in the future as time passes. The simple form implies an almost indefinite amount of time, or even something timeless, eternal.

The progressive form, normally used for actions that are occurring at the time of speaking, when accompanied by an adverb of habit, creates a sort of cognitive dissonance that must be resolved in order to make sense of the combination. A smaller, more recent interval of time, often with an implicit contrast or change, is implied.

Here are some possible contextualizations of the present progressive with an adverb of habit.

People are watching that program every night (recently). It's the newest thing! That program was not available before, but now that it is available, people are faithfully watching every episode.

Paul used to take the bus to work, but the city has re-routed the bus lines. It's just not convenient for him to take the bus anymore. So now he is driving (the car) every day (recently).

Peter is driving the car every day (recently) because his wife needs the truck.

Mr. Johnson used to bring the milk every day, but since he has been ill, his boy is bringing the milk every day (recently).

The boy used to bring the eggs every day, and the girl brought the milk. Apparently, they have started a new system, because now the girl is bringing the eggs, and the boy is bringing the milk every day.

Last year, it seemed that the phone company always had someone to answer my complaint calls personally. This year I am waiting on hold every time I call.

The dentist told me that my teeth were all going to fall out if I didn't start flossing regularly. He painted a dire picture of what would happen. So now I'm flossing every time I turn around!

People have been saying how healthy I look. It's because I started a new program of exercises. Now I'm exercising regularly and I'm taking vitamins every day.

There's a lot of construction on the road I usually take to work, so now (more recently) I'm going to work by another route (every day).

Last week, Darlene's teacher announced an exam. That made her very nervous. She is studying her notes every chance she gets now (recently).
____

You might almost say that while the simple present is about nearly permanent habits, the progressive present (with an adverb of habit) is about recently acquired, somewhat temporary habits.

CJ
Hi Sitifan

Sentence 4 suggests to me that the daily driving has just recently begun and is viewed by the speaker as a temporary situation.

The same sort of thing applies to sentence 6. The daily bringing of milk sounds like something that has just begun and also that it is being viewed as a temporary or short-term situation.

This basically is the same thing that Clive said earlier.
CalifJimLast year, it seemed that the phone company always had someone to answer my complaint calls personally. This year I am waiting on hold every time I call.

Apparently, the book A hand-book of present-day English (by E. Kruisinga) was written in 1914, so today -- nearly a hundred years later!-- there are bound to be a few things in that book that are no longer widely used. I've never heard anyone use "to" in the phrase "I'll have you know" when the meaning is basically "I'd like to point this out in order to be sure you know it". However, if I were to hear "I'll have you to know" with the same meaning as "I'll have you know", I'd expect it to be either a poetic/archaic usage or part of a regional dialect (as Marius has suggested). You need to analyze what Google is giving you -- just looking at the number of Google hits alone is frequently not a reliable indicator of usage.

In addition, I'd also like to point out that "I'll have him visit" and "I'll have him to visit" (for example) have different meanings:

I'll have him visit = I will cause him to visit me or someone else (i.e. he will visit me)
I'll have him to visit = It is possible for me to visit him (i.e. I will visit him!)
http://www.EnglishForward.com/English/HaveSbToDo/zwpwz/post.htm
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