Always in present continuous

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darthnick

Member
Russia(Moscow) - Russian
Hi

I've heard that people use 'always' in present continuous only to express annoyance. But in the book - Advanced Grammar in Use, the author says that it's possible to use it "to emphasise that something is done so often that it is characteristic of a person, group or thing". Example:
- Tony is a really kind person. He's always offering to help me with my work.
What are you thinking about that?
And one more thing I want to ask about. Is it correct to say sentences like:
- We're always looking for new men\teachers\etc.
That sentence I saw pretty often on the Internet.

Thanks
 
  • darthnick

    Member
    Russia(Moscow) - Russian
    Yeah, but what does it express then? Emphasis on action or something?
    And what's the rule I can rely on if my teacher asks me - "Can you explain why you're using present continuous instead of present simple?"

    Thanks
     

    Au101

    Senior Member
    England, English (UK)
    Yes, that's fine, and obviously not taken literally. i.e. it means that you read somethig a lot, or it feels like you literally never stop reading, even though you obviously do. It does not, obviously, mean that you spend every second reading.:D
     

    darthnick

    Member
    Russia(Moscow) - Russian
    :) So I just highlight the fact, that I read something a lot? :) For example - As I want to be abreast of what's going on in the world I'm always watching news. Right? :)
     

    kitenok

    Senior Member
    It sounds like you've got it, darthnick.

    It is also worth pointing out that there are times when you will still want simple present with always - usually when you are specifying a time for your repeated action or indicating that it happens at the same time as something else:
    I want to know what's goind on in the world, so I'm always watching the news.
    but
    I always watch the news while I cook dinner.
    I always watch the news at six o'clock.
     

    garcia1683

    Senior Member
    Spanish & Catalan
    Sorry to revive a post from '08, but... Would there be any difference in meaning between:

    a. Tony is a really kind person. He's always offering to help me with my work.
    b. Tony is a really kind person. He always offers to help me with my work.

    What does the use of present continuous add that is not already inherent to the use of present simple? Only emphasis?

    Also, that situation above is clearly positive, but what would happen with something more ambiguous, such as "Tony is always listening to music." How would I know if that's an annoying habit, or just a matter of emphasis? Context?

    Thanks!
    :)
     

    garcia1683

    Senior Member
    Spanish & Catalan
    So, would it be something like:

    a. Tony is constantly offering to help me, in all sorts of situations (wouldn't "constantly" have an inherent negative meaning, like something which is overdone?).
    b. Tony offers to help me only whenever I need help.
     

    garcia1683

    Senior Member
    Spanish & Catalan
    Hi again,

    I'm still not sure I get it. I think the examples might be obscuring your point. How would aspect affect this pair of sentences?

    a. She always smiles. <- What would it mean, here, to smile "each time?"
    b. She's always smiling.

    Thanks for your time. I appreciate your trying to help me!
     
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