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  #1 (permalink)  
Unread Aug 2nd, 2017, 11:16 am
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Default Present Simple and Continuous with some words

There is an explanation in my Teacher's book that says that 'at the moment' and 'currently' and 'these days' can be used with both Present Simple and Present Continuous. How is that possible if PC expresses only an action that is temporary and for the time being. Also, according to them, 'nowadays' should go with Present Continuous. How is that possible? Is there a mistake somewhere>

Thank you very much in advance.
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Unread Aug 3rd, 2017, 06:52 am
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Default Re: Present Simple and Continuous with some words

No - it's fine. It all depends on the speaker's perception of the event. There are lots of ocasions when simple and continuous aspect are both possible - consider :

My leg hurts.
My leg's hurting.


If I choose the first it means I'm expressing it as a fact for which the start and finish of the action are irrelevant - at the moment that's how it is. It's a fact and yesterday and tomorrow don't interest me. I'm focusing on the "factual present" only

If I choose the second it implies that, as you say, I'm taking a broader view and seeing it as an on-going temporary event - one which had a starting point but for which I also foresee a finishing point (it will be better tomorrow).

The same can happen with expressions like nowadays. Does the speaker see it as permanently true in this period and the past and future as being irrelevant -

Nobody writes things by hand nowadays. Everybody uses computers.

The speaker clearly perceives that this will be a permanent state of affairs - and this is by far the most common concept expressed by nowadays.

The same here :
In the past we saw that part of the work as boring and something we'd rather avoid. but nowadays, with work so scarce, we do all we can to get the contracts.

The speaker seems fatalistic about the situation - that's how it is, a present fact. Past and future are irrelevant


But if s/he was more optimistic saw it as limited to a definite period, then continuous aspect is fine :

In the past we saw that part of the work as boring and something we'd rather avoid. But nowadays, with work so scarce, we're doing all we can to get the contracts.

Here the speaker wants to emphasise that there was a starting point and (presumably) hopes that the situation will change in future - so expresses it accordingly.

The same is true for at the moment or currently

I don't want to go out for a walk today. My leg hurts / is hurting too much at the moment.

But currently , with work so scarce, we do / we're doing all we can to get the contracts.


Verb choice always reflects speaker perception of the event. Rules like X must be used with Y are illusory. There is always a context in which the speaker can perceive the event differently and therefore uses X not with Y but with Z.
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Unread Aug 5th, 2017, 09:03 am
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Default Re: Present Simple and Continuous with some words

So there really is a mistake, as Present Continuous is put as the only possible solution for 'nowadays'
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Unread Aug 6th, 2017, 12:15 am
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Default Re: Present Simple and Continuous with some words

Yes - try entering "nowadays" into a concordancer eg here. You'll see the use of simple aspect is far more common. In fact I had to search Google to find good examples of its use with continuous aspect.
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Last edited by susan53 : Aug 8th, 2017 at 12:17 am.
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Unread Aug 7th, 2017, 01:32 pm
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Default Re: Present Simple and Continuous with some words

Thank you Susan .
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