Evolution of the English present progressive tense
October 4, 2011 9:28 AM Subscribe
Have the rules for using the present progressive (continuous) tense in English recently evolved/changed?
posted by feelinggood to Writing & Language (20 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Most grammars for English learners seem to say that the progressive tense is never or seldom used with "stative" verbs - verbs expressing emotions or mental states, etc. I have always agreed with that and taught the tense that way.
But recently a student has pointed out to me that she has heard some stative verbs that are used in the progressive tense. Examples: (To a kindergarten child): "Are you missing your mom?" "I'm really liking the recent changes in the student newspaper." "I'm assuming that the administration is acting on good faith in this issue." Etc., etc. I must say that I have heard similar usages.
Is this just a case of informal vs. formal, or spoken vs. written, or in fact, have we started using some of these verbs in the progressive tense, perhaps to express a slightly different nuance than would be possible with the simple present?