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In what case you would say "I am seeing" instead of "I see"?

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4 Answers 4

up vote 6 down vote accepted

To summarise other people's answers, there are three uses of "I am seeing":

  1. Habitual in the present. ("I'm seeing my analyst every week now") Nearly always in transferred senses of "see" = "have an appointment with" or "have as partner", but can be used literally in eg "I'm seeing that more and more nowadays", to emphasise the ongoing process (cf 3).

  2. Definite appointment in the future: "I'm seeing my doctor next week"; "I'm seeing Harry Potter 7 tomorrow". Again, usually in a non-core meaning of "see".

  3. Present sensation, strongly emphasising the current and continuing process: "Yes, I'm watching him on CCTV. I'm seeing him walk up the stairs, and go into the room". Generally verbs of sensation don't take the present continuous, except in this particular highly marked construction.

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It should usually be for a process in progress.

Should you send a quick message from a movie theater during the projection of a film, you would type:

"I am seeing this movie (as in "right now") and it's awesome!"

(and not "I see...")

The expression "to see someone" (meet regularly as a boyfriend or girlfriend) is more often used as:

"I'm seeing someone"
(as in "I am still engaged in this relationship right now")

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6  
Also, if you have a doctor appointment tomorrow, you can say "I'm seeing a doctor tomorrow". –  b.roth Nov 30 '10 at 9:21
    
@Bruno: Wouldnt that be "I will be seeing a doctor tomorrow"? –  JoseK Nov 30 '10 at 10:52
    
@JoseK: both can be used in that kind of context. –  Steve Melnikoff Nov 30 '10 at 11:05
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I would never say "I am seeing this movie", rather "I am watching this movie" –  invariant Nov 30 '10 at 13:31
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@JoseK: depends if you're going out with said doctory =P –  Claudiu Nov 30 '10 at 15:42
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“I see” describes the present.

To describe something that is ongoing you use the word “be” + a word with the ending “–ing”. As in:

I am seeing, feeling, dancing...

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But take a look here: "I kind of don't understand, if Jack bought coffee, why did you go outside?" - asked Jenny. "Jack didn't buy coffee, he only bought some water, so I still needed to go" - answered Paul. "Aaaah, I SEE!" - cried Jenny. - Jenny's process of gradually understanding things is quite ongoing here, yet she still says "I SEE" instead of "I AM SEEING". Another example: (two people taking to each other in the movie theater) "Do you think George will make it back home?" - "Well, I think he must be already arriving now as WE SEE this movie" - Seeing move here is also ongoing. –  brilliant Nov 30 '10 at 13:29
    
@Rhodri: Well, I think You are right here. But what about something like "Gradually I SEE more and more people coming out of this building" - I heard one BBC reporter say that while reporting live. For sure, it's an on-going process, not one moment. –  brilliant Nov 30 '10 at 15:51
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I guess 'to see' is something you could/should be doing with your eyes.

I see what you are doing there. I see the doctor every day

'Seeing' something/body should be for the action itself.

I'm seeing what you did there. I'm seeing the doctor everyday since my infection started.

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No; both the examples on the last line are incorrect. This question is really about the difference between the simple present and the present continuous. –  Steve Melnikoff Nov 30 '10 at 11:50
    
I am sorry, Barfieldmv, but even I can tell that Your last two examples are grammatically wrong. –  brilliant Nov 30 '10 at 13:31
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