< be worried about > vs <be worrying about >

OED Loves Me Not

Senior Member
Japanese - Osaka
Hello, friends.

Can there be any difference in shades of meaning between the following two?

(1) My mother is worrying about me.
(2) My mother is worried about me.

I was googling this matter and found these two pages:
(i) worry, be worrying and be worried
(ii) worry, be worried about, worrying

I understand that form (1) above [present progressive] means that the mother is in the
process of worrying. So I gather that it can mean that her worry is rather temporary,
possibly lasting shorter than the state described in form (2) ["is worried"].

If I am correct there, then can there be any other difference between the two? More specifically,
can either of the two forms imply that the situation is more serious than the other? For example,
can either of the two is suited for use in serious circumstances where the person described by "me"
has just got involved in an accident and the mother is worried (or worrying) about "me"?

Thank you very much for your attention.
  • DonnyB

    Sixties Mod
    English UK Southern Standard English
    Version (1) with the present continuous tense sounds a little bit odd to me, and without any proper context I can't think of a situation in which I would actually say that.

    In your scenario of having being involved in an accident, I think the natural idiomatic choice is (2): My mother is worried about me.

    OED Loves Me Not

    Senior Member
    Japanese - Osaka
    Thank you very much, DonnyB, for your answer. If, then, we generalize the subject and object
    and set up a formula like
       (Somebody) is worrying about (somebody else or something).
    then could you think of circumstances where it holds? What about the following examples
    I've happened to find on the web?

    (1) Instead the 28-year-old is worrying about the future as he prepares to search
    for a new job after being paid off by Tata Steel.
    (Daily Record, UK)
    Five weeks to save the Scottish Steel Industry

    (2) But the 25-year-old says that while it would be great to be called up for the games
    against Malta and Slovenia next week, it is not something he is worrying about.
    (UK, 2016)
    Former Palace defender will name England squad tomorrow


    Sixties Mod
    English UK Southern Standard English
    Both those examples sound quite idiomatic to me. :)

    I think you could change them both to "...is worried about" without altering the meaning significantly: it's just that the continuous tense adds emphasis to the present or current situation. I don't think you can necessarily draw any inferences about whether the worrying might only be temporary.
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