...I tell/am telling you this

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Senior Member

Let's say that I've been telling something in front of the whole class and then I say:

"I tell you this because..."
"I'm telling you this because..."

Which one should I use - tell or am telling? I gather the progressive is OK but I cannot make sure of the other.

  • Aardvark01

    Senior Member
    British English (Midlands)
    Both are OK.
    The simple tense implies something we always do; since a teacher may use the same lesson for many classes you could state it explicitly - "I always tell my students this because..." - but the implicit is fine.


    Senior Member
    English - England
    "I'm telling" is the normal form: it tells what is happening at the moment, rather than what normally happens.

    However, there are some special uses of the simple present that might be relevant here.
    - The performative simple present: by the present act of speaking I am telling. However, this is a rather formal or literary usage.
    - The use of the simple present to commentate on an exciting action (like a commentary on a football match). However, the action does not really sound exciting enough, and it is unusual to commentate on one's own actions. Using the present simple for storytelling and commentary - English Lessons in Brighton
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