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The sentences comes from a book 'The Sandler Inquiry'

"So," said Shassad aloud and ruminatively, "he's screwing around till three in the morning. Then he gets up, gets dressed, goes down to the street, and meets..."

Why is there 'screwing around' and not simply 'screw around' ? I mean, we tend to use the present simple when we narrate, don't we? Besides, the author himself uses the present simple as well (eg. 'gets up, gets dressed' etc.)

best wihes,
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Forum_mailThe sentences comes from a book 'The Sandler Inquiry'

"So," said Shassad aloud and ruminatively, "he's screwing around till three in the morning. Then he gets up, gets dressed, goes down to the street, and meets..."

Why is there 'screwing around' and not simply 'screw around' ? I mean, we tend to use the present simple when we narrate, don't we? Besides, the author himself uses the present simple as well (eg. 'gets up, gets dressed' etc.)

best wihes,

Some have a tendency to use various tenses rather freely. Sometimes it is intentional, sometimes it is just "how it comes out". The only thing I can suggest here about the use of the continuous is that the writer wants to convey the idea that it is a habitual action.
PhilipThe only thing I can suggest here about the use of the continuous is that the writer wants to convey the idea that it is a habitual action.
but... I've always thought that the present simple tense should be used in order to convey habitual actions... <confused>
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Forum_mail"So," said Shassad aloud and ruminatively, "he's screwing around till three in the morning. Then he gets up, gets dressed, goes down to the street, and meets..."

Why is there 'screwing around' and not simply 'screw around' ?
Hi FM

I do hope a won't acquire a reputation as a sexologist on these forums.Emotion: smile The termscrew around, which is slang - as you probably know - is used to indicate a continuous action. The man doing it goes from one woman to another, which is further empahasised by the use of the adverb around, whereas getting up, getting dressed and going down to the street and meeting someone down there take considerably less time. Furthermore, the man gets up, dresses etc. only once, but has a tough (?), time-consuming job going from lady to lady before he gets around to waking up in the morning. In a way it is 'habitual', but I would prefer to call this screwing continuous. Hence the continuous tense.

CB
thanks a lot, to both of you!

I assume that it wouldn't be an error to use 'screw around' in the pres. simple tense anyway... ?

best wishes,
Forum_mailI assume that it wouldn't be an error to use 'screw around' in the pres. simple tense anyway... ?
No, it would be okay.

CB
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In narratives, the present continuous gives the 'flavor' of being there, a sense of immediacy. Maybe whoever Shassad is talking to is being asked to imagine it happening as if he were seeing it with his own eyes. Or rather, perhaps Shassad is almost operating in the mode of one who wants to confirm that what he has heard is true (Note the initial So in this regard.) by reviewing images of what he understands to be happening. The particular use of the present continuous here ('s screwing) can imply habitual activity, but need not, as far as I understand it without further context.

-- To fix the pipe, first he removes the connector with the wrench.
-- OK. So he's removing it with the wrench. What does he do next?
-- He checks for rust damage.
-- OK. He's checking for rust. Now what?


Here the second speaker is translating what he was just told into more vivid language to show how he is following the process described. He is saying that he has an image of this removing process and this rust-checking process in mind. The present continuous is actually more of a running commentary on images that are appearing in his mind in real time as the story continues.

CJ