This conversation is seeming very strange to me.

  • JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    It emphasizes the immediacy of the feeling of strangeness as the conversation is happening. He is in the middle of it and it is continuing. The "seems" version is probably more likely to be used by many people, but the author's choice of "is seeming" does not strike me as "unacceptable".
     

    owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    Hello, Suprun.

    This use of the progressive seems to be a fairly recent trend among speakers. These days, even commercial language has picked up on the use of the progressive with verbs that traditionally don't use the progressive: I'm loving it. I'm thinking maybe we should go to Jose's. This conversation is seeming very strange to me.

    I don't think the progressive really adds anything useful in sentences that use it with these verbs, but some other speakers - particularly younger ones - seem to find this tense meaningful for verbs like "think" and "seem". Walsch's sentence highlights the temporary nature of "seem" in his perception. Very soon, the conversation may once again seem normal.

    Cross-posted with Herr Stuart. :)
     
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    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    Thank you, Mr Owl, You made me feel ten years younger:D.

    I had in mind the nuance between "I feel strange" and "I'm feeling strange" as being quite subtle, with the only real difference being in the feeling of "immediacy". (I couldn't see the surrounding text in the link so that may influence others' interpretations).
     

    Enquiring Mind

    Senior Member
    English - the Queen's
    Hi SuprunP, good question, because grammar books (e.g here, source: edufind.com, see point 3) correctly state that a number of verbs that describe states rather than actions or processes are not used in the continuous form in standard English.

    However a trend seems to be developing - and I'm not liking it :D - for using them in that way when the speaker wants to stress that the state is occurring at the time at which he is speaking. A glaring example was the slogan of a well-known fast food chain: "I'm lovin' it". Here you could argue that the sense is that while you are actually in the process of eating the food, you are enjoying it. This could be contrasted with "I love it", which could mean (i) I love it, even if I am not eating it at this very moment, and (ii) I love it even when I am eating it. Perhaps it is meant to convey more immediacy.

    In your example, it could be justified by saying the speaker is stressing that he is finding the conversation strange at the time he is reading or listening to it, rather than reflecting on the conversation afterwards.

    As I say, it's a trend that seems to be catching on. English is changing, many speakers use it as a second language and don't necessarily speak the standard version. In fact, this non-standard "progressive form with verbs expressing states" is found among some Indian speakers of English, for whom English is not their first language.

    So yes, you are correct to question it, it's not acceptable in standard English.

    [Ed: cross-posted with owlman5 and JulianStuart - glad we all agree!]
     
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    DonnyB

    Sixties Mod
    English UK Southern Standard English
    This conversation is seeming very strange to me.

    Would you be so kind as to tell me whether it is acceptable to use the verb seem in the progressive?
    It definitely grates on me as a BE speaker, and I would not use a continuous tense like that: I don't see any real justification for it. :(
    The simple present "seems" sounds far more idiomatic and natural to me.
     
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