top of page

Anecdote about the present continuous

As I was going down in the elevator to walk my dog, a neighbor got in.

She asked me "ata shome`a musiqa?"

I had to ask in return "achshav o be-ofen klali?" (right now or in general)?

In English there would have been no ambiguity. If she had asked "do you listen to music" it would have meant "do you usually/habitually listen". Otherwise she would have asked "are you listening to music?" (i.e., was I listening right then).

The distinction between simple present ("I write") and present continuous/progressive ("I am writing") is very deeply rooted in English grammar.


bottom of page