tenses after AS - time conjunction

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ritter66

Senior Member
Czech
Hello all :)

Could you, please, help me with this issue? I have been trying to figure out how it works for ages, but it seems to be one of the toughest challenges ever.



1)

As the show increases in popularity, more and more tickets are sold daily.

- Is this sentence OK? Would it be possible to use present continuous here (in both parts of the sentence)? If I used present continuous instead of present simple here, would it change the degree of formality?

2)

As we´re discussing grammar issues, young children in China are working in sweatshops.

Your coffee´s getting cold as you are messing with the TV.

- Are these two sentences OK too? In both of these sentences, would it be possible to use present simple (in both parts of the sentences)? Would the degree of formality change then?


Additional question differs from those above. I am not sure but I think I have noticed that with "as" you use a combination of present continuous and present simple tense even though the event/thing put into present simple afer "as" is happening now/these days as well as the first part of the sentence, which is, for a change, in present continuous. Am I right? Here are some examples:

- I am working hard to come back as he goes for his second title.
- I am preparing for the tournament as my friend works on something less important.

In both parts (before/after "as"), there are two actions that are happening right now/these days. Is it really true that with "as sentences" you sometimes use present simple in the second part of the sentence even though it is happening at the moment/these days as well as the action in the first part of the sentence?


Thank you very much!
 
  • Franco-filly

    Senior Member
    English - Southern England
    Additional question differs from those above.
    I believe the forum rules state "One question per thread" So I'll answer 1)
    To me there is a suble difference:

    As
    the show increases in popularity more .... Here "as" suggests that the tickets sales increase in direct proportion to the increase in popularity.

    As the show is increasing in popularity... means "because the show is becoming more popular" more tickets are being sold.
     
    Last edited:

    Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    As the show increases in popularity, more and more tickets are sold daily.

    - Is this sentence OK? Would it be possible to use present continuous here (in both parts of the sentence)? If I used present continuous instead of present simple here, would it change the degree of formality?
    The sentence is fine, and describes what is happening right now. This sentence shows two things happening at the same time, without implying any causal relationship between them ("As the sun goes down, England are awarded a penalty").

    With "as the show increases", you can change the second verb to the continuous "are being sold" with no change in meaning that I can detect in this particular instance, although this would not work if the second verb described a single event ("...England are being awarded a penalty":cross:).

    You can also use this construction to look towards the future ("As the show increases in popularity, more and more tickets will be sold daily").

    Using the present continuous tense in the "as" clause - "As the show is increasing in popularity" - changes the natural meaning of "as" to "because", describing a causal relationship. This in turn changes the how the second verb is used. Now the simple present tense seems a little awkward in this situation (it is not wrong, though) and the present continuous or future tense work better.

    In theory, "as" followed by the present continuous could refer to a non-causal relationship, but this would be very rare usage, and only a writer with a very good grasp of the English language could get away with it, perhaps for humorous purposes. In ordinary English, neither of your (2) sentences work. Changing the verb after as" to the simple present would be fine.

    Note that the verb form after "as" does not change the degree of formality.
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    The tense and form of the verb in an "as clause" does not have any rules or restrictions. This is true for any subordinate clause: the tense and form of the verb in a subordinate clause depends entirely on the meaning that the speaker wishes that clause to convey.

    The continuous tense form of the verb indicates that, at the time referred to, the action is not yet complete. Here, the action may be a single action or a series of actions.

    The continuous form has the approximate effect of adding "still"(adv.) to the sentence: I was reading as he arrived = I was still reading as he arrived.
     

    ritter66

    Senior Member
    Czech
    ritter66 said:
    As the show increases in popularity, more and more tickets are sold daily.

    - Is this sentence OK? Would it be possible to use present continuous here (in both parts of the sentence)? If I used present continuous instead of present simple here, would it change the degree of formality?

    Uncle Jack: The sentence is fine, and describes what is happening right now.
    Does it really describe what is happening right now? I thought there is the present continuous for this purpose! What would "As the show is increasing in popularity, more and more tickets are sold daily" mean then?
     

    Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    Does it really describe what is happening right now? I thought there is the present continuous for this purpose! What would "As the show is increasing in popularity, more and more tickets are sold daily" mean then?
    Both the simple present and the present continuous refer to now. In both cases they can be used to look towards the future by changing "are sold" to "will be sold". The difference between them is that the meaning of "as" changes. With the simple present, "as" means "while" or "at the same time as". With the present continuous, "as" means "because". The present continuous also means that the simple present passive "are sold" does not work so well, and the continuous present passive "are being sold" would be better.
     

    ritter66

    Senior Member
    Czech
    They both refer to the present, but in a different way!


    I am working on it right now. (present continuous) Here I wouldn´t say I work on it right now! (present simple)- not if I was working on that particular thing right now (at this very moment) and couldn´t go out for that reason.

    Therefore I WOULDN´T say "As the show increases in popularity, more and more tickets are sold daily" either, and I WOULD expect "As the show is increasing in popularity, more and more tickets are being sold daily" to be correct, if that was happening right now or these days (by saying these days I mean e.g. last five days, not a longer period of time).


    Similarly with this sentence. "Your coffee is getting cold as (=while) you are messing with the TV." This is happening right now so present continuous is the tense I would expect here. Not present simple= "Your coffee gets cold as (=while) you mess with the TV."

    Additionally, this sentence shows that
    "With the simple present, "as" means "while"
    doesn´t work here.

    Am I right?
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    I am working on it right now. (present continuous) Here I wouldn´t say I work on it right now! (present simple)
    :thumbsup: The continuous form describes an action that is, at the time referred to, incomplete.

    "As (= at the same time that/ in the same way that/because) the show increases in popularity, more and more tickets are sold daily"
    "As (= because) the show is increasing in popularity, more and more tickets are being sold daily"

    The problem here is that
    1 it is sometimes difficult to see what "as" actually means
    2. For the continuous form, there are two types of verb in English - the durative, and the punctual verb.
    Durative verbs imply a continuing action or state: to wait; read; work, walk, etc.

    I have been waiting for you to arrive!
    I have waited for you to arrive!

    He read a book while she cooked.
    He was reading a book while she was cooking.

    The differences are not very distinct or obvious (although they exist.)

    Punctual verbs imply an action that takes no time: hit, smash, explode, start.
    He has been hitting me! -> implies several blows over an extended period
    He has hit me! -> implies one blow, once.

    You will see the difference in the semantics.

     
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