Since my English is not my mother language, some English rules are still strange to me, especially when I translate.

The situation is that a twitter user (Joe) clicks on the 'follow' button in twitter of another user (Mike).

Is this sentence written correctly?

Joe has started to follow Mike.

as opposed to either of

Joe is following Mike.
Joe has begun following Mike.

  • It's difficult to know what the problem is. The question does not include context (what confuses you about the three alternatives) and lacks results of research done before posting here. – MetaEd Mar 7 '13 at 12:17
  • the problem is very simple - is the sentence written in correct English. The context is also written. – Nick Ginanto Mar 7 '13 at 12:19
  • @Nick: I think this is General Reference for ELU, but you might consider using English Language Learners for any similar problems you have. – FumbleFingers Mar 8 '13 at 3:36
  • I would recommend asking this question in ELL. – ethanc Jun 7 '15 at 16:58

All of them are correct.

Note: "Joe has started to follow Mike" and "Joe has begun following Mike" are slightly different in meaning from "Joe is following Mike". The first two capture the recentness of the action, whereas the latter does not indicate when this happened (Joe could have been following Mike for quite some time).

I have a slight preference for "Joe has begun following Mike" but I think this is stylistic.

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Those are all correct and are examples of two different tenses (you have two examples of perfect present and one of progressive). There is also a third tense; simple. Your examples actually have three different verbs and you could rephrase your statement in any of those three tenses with each of those three verbs for several combinations, all of which are correct.

Consider the following:

Present perfect tense: Joe has started to follow Mike. Joe has followed Mike. Joe has begun following Mike. Sentences in present perfect tense actually look like they use a past tense verb (started, followed, begun), but it is preceded by the present tense of the verb to have to affect the entire sentence.

Progressive tense: Joe is following Mike. Joe is starting to follow Mike. Joe is beginning following Mike.

There is also simple tense; Joe followed Mike. Joe started to follow Mike. Joe began following Mike.

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