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I'm understanding/I understand biology a lot better now that we're got a new teacher.

which one?

thanks
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I understand biology. . . .

Most stative verbs, like see, hear, and so on, didn't always have a continuous form, but over the ages, things have changed and today we have:

I hear
I am hearing what you're saying.

I see
I am seeing her.

And the up and coming, *"I'm understanding it", which is still unacceptable, but is nonetheless out there, looking for entrance just the same.
I'm understanding/I understand biology a lot better now that we're got a new teacher.

<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

The way to illustrate this progressive 'understanding' is to use another verb in conjunction with the stative one.

I'm starting/beginning to understand biology better now that ...
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The way we ENLs often illustrate


Could you define your terms, please. Also, why not choose terms that express inclusivity rather than those expressing exclusivity?

Try,

The way to illustrate. . . .

All the best, JTT
Whichever one you mean, of course!

If you understand biology (the whole field of biology as a unit, the grand plan of biological theory, how it all fits together and makes sense), say "I understand ..."

If you are understanding individual lessons the teacher gives, one after another, having more successful experiences in comprehending what you read in each chapter in your biology text, generally having more "Aha!" moments, then say "I'm understanding ..."

"I understand it better" = I comprehend it in its totality more than before. I'm better able to explain it to myself and others. I know it better.
"I'm understanding it better" = I am having more "understanding experiences" than before with regard to it.

Similarly,

"I have a headache" vs. "I'm having one of my headaches again", the latter emphasizing the recurrence of headaches and that this one is the one currently being experienced.

The progressive in these cases often suggests something recurring.

Emotion: smile
I agree with both Jim and Casi on this and I think it's a matter of degree. But I don't think it's quite as easy to discern for ESL learners as Jim suggests, so I'll throw out this caution.

"I'm understanding" googled got 43,600 hits.

"I understand" googled got 7,200,000 hits.

Allowing that a Google search is not a perfect means of gauging language use, I think it's still instructive to note that the progressive represents a mere 6/10s of one percent of that of the stative 'understand'. [could I have done that math right????]

I'd suggest that it would be advisable for ESL learners, especially those at the lower ability levels to stick with the stative verb uses until they grasp the nuances involved.

Remember, "I smell ..."; "I understand ..."; "I see ... " all have progressive meanings even though, by most indications, ENLs still normally use the stative form.
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"I'm understanding" googled got 43,600 hits.


Could you clarify two things for me, JTT. Did you google "understanding" as a transitive verb or as an adjective, and how many of the 43,600 were native English speakers?

Verb: I am understanding biology.
Adjective: I am understanding, flexible, and ready to work.
I'd suggest that it would be advisable for ESL learners, especially those at the lower ability levels to stick with the stative verb uses until they grasp the nuances involved.


Excellent advice, JTT. Excellent.
Could you clarify two things for me, JTT. Did you google "understanding" as a transitive verb or as an adjective, and how many of the 43,600 were native English speakers?

Verb: I am understanding biology.
Adjective: I am understanding, flexible, and ready to work.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

As I said, Casi, t'warn't perfect.

I put "I'm understanding" and "I understand" into an "English language only" "with the exact phrase" search.

I wasn't about to start analysing 43,000 some odd hits, let alone, 27 million, to see if an ESLer got in there. Nor was I gonna go checking for adjectives or verbs either. I think you are "understanding" my meaning, desu ne? {Japanese - like "aren't you"?}

Emotion: wink
'I'm understanding it...' seems happiest with a comparative and an expression of time:

1. 'I'm understanding it more and more these days.'
2. 'I'm understanding it better than I used to.'

I agree that it has an incremental feeling.

'I'm beginning to understand...' has a different nuance, to my mind. It's more tentative: as if we don't want to sound too confident.

MrP
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