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-   -   Present Continuous after if/when/what/as sentences (http://www.eslhq.com/forums/esl-forums/english-questions/present-continuous-after-if-when-what-sentences-70188/)

Mr Penguin Jul 3rd, 2016 11:06 am

Present Continuous after if/when/what/as sentences
 
Why is Present Continuous used after when/if/what clauses, if the Present Simple tense is preferable in the sentences with general meaning after if, when they refer to future/present?

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The app has lots of prompts to alert you when you're doing something that could hurt your credit score, such as getting too close to a payment date while having drawn down 30 percent or more of your credit line.
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susan53 Jul 3rd, 2016 11:19 am

Re: Present Continuous after if/when/what/as sentences
 
Different verb forms express different concepts, and so the choice of verb form always depends on what concept the speaker/writewants to express. Your examples have nothing to do with the subordinatimg conjunction (what/when /if etc) which is completely irrelevant here.

present simple verbs express a permanent, unchanging action, true at any moment
present continuous verbs express a temporary but on-going action.

In the examples that you give the action could be interpreted as either - that this is something that happens any time you do XXXX, or that it's something that will happen if on any specific occasion you're doing XXX. So the speaker /writer has a free choice of which way to express it. using the present simple would mean that the concept s/he is expressing is eg:

The app has lots of prompts to alert you when you do something that could hurt your credit score,
=
The app has lots of prompts to alert you every time that you do something that could hurt your credit score.


while the choice of present continuous indicates

The app has lots of prompts to alert you when you're doing something that could hurt your credit score,
=
The app has lots of prompts to alert you if at a particular moment you're doing something that could hurt your credit score.


And the same for all the others. The choice depends on whether the speaker writer wants to say that it will happen every time you do XXX or on any specific occasion that you happen to do XXX


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