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35

The Middle Construction "The ticket is printing" is something known as a middle construction. It is called "middle" because it is not exactly a passive sentence ("The ticket is being printed") and not exactly an active sentence (because the "ticket" is not really the agent of the action). Some examples of middles from "An Introduction to English Syntax": ...


12

It is indeed an "adjustment" of English grammar having to do with the complications of time travel. When causality in the future has its effects in the past, conditional statements become complicated. Perhaps the best comedic exploration of the effects of time travel on language was by Douglas Adams in The Restaurant at the End of the Universe: One of ...


10

To get technical about it, present is a tense, but continuous and progressive are grammatical aspects, not tenses. Whereas tenses mark when an action happens, aspects give other temporal information, such as duration, completion, or frequency. English makes no distinction between continuous and progressive, and they are both formed using the present ...


8

It sounds fine to me. (But I'm not actually a native speaker, and Indian English does have a reputation for using the progressive a lot.) This is how I interpret "I'm loving it". (I've put back the 'g' because writing lovin' is too folksy for me.) I also assume "it" refers to something particular, like McDonald's or the food there. Also, I think it helps to ...


8

Syntactically, yes, the sentence is correct. It's the Passive Future Progressive. The direct derivation is: Michael will be drinking water. >>> Water will be being drunk by Michael. But the real question is, what do you want to mean by it, and in what situation? You would have to be referring to a particular moment or point in time in the future. ...


8

Yes, it's fine, providing you want it to mean what it says. Going to... indicates a future action: I'm going to hit him I'm going to vomit So you can express the future action of going somewhere: I'm going to go somewhere You can add the reason for that future action. I'm going to hit him to show my disapproval. I'm going to go to show ...


7

Since there have been no other similar answers so far: I am a native English speaker and it sounds perfectly natural to me. Cheesy, but natural in terms of grammar. EDIT: @Martha expressed the same sentiment, but as a comment rather than an answer. If I had seen that, I would have left a comment as well. It amounts to more or less the same thing though.


7

Many words describing senses and emotions tend not to be used in the progressive/continuous form. Although many such verbs are either so abstract as to make temporal distinction unnecessary, or relate to a single instance (as Kris points out with "know") it isn't the case with all of them. Such verbs are called stative (or state) verbs and include: like, ...


7

The Past Progressive is needed here because the writer is detailing the sort of marriage and the consequences of such a marriage. Compare: He married her. He married up. They raised 10 kids. -- and -- He married her. He was marrying up. They raised 10 kids. You will notice that the first case (with the Past Simple, your alternative) seems to ...


7

The verb (to be) in your sentence is in Simple Future or Simple Indefinite tense. Some grammarians will argue that English does not have a future tense at all, but if we stick to the traditional EFL classification, will+infinitive means Simple Future. Future continuous is will+be+ing, as in I will be sitting on this couch the whole day tomorrow.


6

Your sentence makes perfect sense in this context: Parent: You need to wear something warm, and find someplace to change into your swimsuit. Child: If I wear other clothes over it, can't I just be wearing my swim suit already? That way I won't have to find a changing room.


6

"A-" before a verb was a prefix quite common in 16th C. English. It is still, today, quite common in Appalachian English, in the US, which is where Dylan no doubt took his influence. It can mean "engaged in", as in "He's a-runnin! And fast!", or "She's a-birth, and there's no point in hoping she'll not." It can also mean "motion to, into", as in "I'm ...


6

They're all just stylistic choices, with no difference in nuance of meaning. The only context where "regular, repeat event" comes into play is when you say something like "The London train leaves at 8 o'clock" - if you don't specify any particular day, the implication is it does so every day (or at least, every week-day - it may leave at a different time, ...


5

First, just a little preface: "I will have been loving" is an awkward example because we don't generally use any of the progressives on stative verbs (except under special circumstances). Thus, we don't normally use the progressive for things like "love", "be" (in the sense of being, rather than behaving in a certain way), "think" (in the sense of having ...


5

It is a very common expression. Nowadays it's not at the bleeding edge of hipness (really, it never was) and the McDonald's campaign slogan has made it rather impossible for a person of intelligence to use sans irony. It is a bland and inoffensive attempt at pastel folksiness, the sort of thing that a minor politician or Boy Scout leader or pastor would say ...


5

Your friend's sentence, as she wrote it, is fine structurally (although not perfect). Both of the sentences "I had a dinner with Chinese friends" and "I was happy at that moment" refer to a specific point in the past -- the time of the dinner. Although your intuition is that the verbs should match (i.e. you should use was twice), in this case the parallel ...


5

There is a subtle difference. To my ear "Are you still working there?" is the more aggressive and challenging form, as in "Jeez, why are you staying at that crappy job?" "Do you still work there?" sounds more neutral, as in "Hey, I haven't seen you since I left company x. Do you still hang out with those people?" That might be because ARE YOU can be an ...


5

I can certainly understand the Future Perfect Progressive being used like that. It's because our grammar textbooks traditionally just concern themselves with the point in the future (by, when etc.) for Future Perfect and Future Perfect Progressive. But in your example, the time in the future has already been mentioned: "(at some point) tonight". So it ...


5

The past tense typically describes an action at a particular time in the past. So you might expect to hear, for example, We joked about it at the time, but it was really very serious. The past continuous construction makes no such link with a particular time, even though we may know in general terms that the action did take place at a particular time. It ...


5

As other people have written before me, neither example is correct and the most likely change to the sentences you provide is: "I have not been able to make up my mind." The second sentence is incorrect because of the verb you have chosen (to be able) which cannot be used in the continuous form. However, the expression I am not being is a correct form if ...


5

Actually, I would say, "A friend of mine is living in Australia for a year." 'Lives in Australia' implies a permanent (or at least as far as plans can be known) arrangement while 'is living in' implies a more temporary situation. But as above, I would always qualify it with a time period. Or you could say, "A friend of mine is currently living in ...


5

In this particular case, there is a difference. But only because -- as usual -- the sentence has been modified by a transformation. Twice. The noun phrase in question: another funny noise, like a mouse being trodden on consists of an NP another funny noise, modified by a reduced nonrestrictive relative clause, which itself contains a reduced ...


4

Hmm, okay, a totally non-grammatical (probably, and thus very likely totally wrong) answer by an avowed non-grammarian (who nevertheless described and describes himself as a grammar-nazi at times): "I'm looking forward to" means I'm doing it right now, this very instance, like in Elendil's example of being on the phone with a friend; I disagree that it's ...


4

Look forward to is a phrasal verb that means to await eagerly. It can be used in any tense. Examples: I look forward to meeting you tonight. He looks forward to graduating this year. We dare not cancel the trip to Banff. The kids have been looking forward to this for ages! Both were looking forward to spending a wonderful evening together, but ...


4

"be wearing" is fine in certain uses: I will be wearing a swim suit. Will I just be wearing my swim suit? I don't really understand your example sentence, however, so it strikes me as incorrect. Perhaps one of these will work better: Why am I not wearing my swim suit already? Can't I just wear my swim suit? Am I not already wearing ...


4

My guess is that you read a table something like this: Present Simple (I eat) habitually; in general. as a command Present Continuous (I am eating at this point at this point, continuously at a point in the future. Past Simple (I ate) at a point in the past. Past Continuous (I was eating) at a point in the past continuously etc... and found it ...


4

The reason the phrase is never used is because "will have been going to go" invariably includes "am going to go". But in theory, if your travel insurance company asked when you took the decision about your holiday, you could reply "By the time this letter arrives, I will have been going to go (to Acapulco) for fourteen days."


4

These examples are a minefield, because lay and lie have the most confusing similar meanings and even overlapping past tense forms. Many people do not use them in the standard ("correct") way, and don't even know the right way. You don't always use the same verb between lay and lie in your examples, and you don't always use the right one in the right ...



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