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I know what does it mean by saying "It's raining"

but what about "It rains"?

what does it imply when I say "It rains" right after saying "It's raining"?

I saw it in a novel and get confused.

closed as unclear what you're asking by tchrist, TrevorD, MetaEd, Brian Hooper, Kris Aug 27 '13 at 6:08

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    Welcome to English Language and Usage! You may be interested in our companion site English Language Learners. – terdon Aug 23 '13 at 14:02
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    Could you post the sentence from the novel? Then we can assess the actual implication. Both are correct but we need context to advise further. – Ste Aug 23 '13 at 14:03
  • I agree with @Ste – absent any further context, I'd assume the situation was something like this: Ed: "It's raining." Ted: "Yep. It rains here a lot in the springtime." (but that's just a guess) – J.R. Aug 23 '13 at 14:35
  • Without context, there can be no answer. Sentences don't mean anything by themselves. – John Lawler Aug 23 '13 at 15:25
  • It reminds me of the interchange in Sherlock (though raining is more continuous than people being murdered): _"People are dying!" _"That's what people do!" – Edwin Ashworth Aug 23 '13 at 22:58
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"It's raining" is a statement of current facts, meaning the person is telling someone that it is raining.

"It rains" is a statement of fact, meaning someone is asserting that rain is something that happens.

If the latter is in response to the former, it could be an ironic statement. Someone saying "It's raining" having their statement dismissed by the person stating "It rains".

The difference, regardless of the context, is that the first statement is active (It is raining) while the second statement is passive (it rains) and denotes that it could rain, but not that it necessarily is right now.

  • How are you using the word 'passive' here? - I find your terminology very unhelpful. "It rains" is a statement employing the 'habitual aspect' (Brinton, 2009) - 'This kind of aspect views a situation as repeated on different occasions, as distributed over a period of time'. "It is raining" is 'progressive' (ie describing a situation which is ongoing). – Edwin Ashworth Aug 23 '13 at 22:56
  • Good point. I think what I meant was that "It is raining" is present-tense, whereas "It Rains" is...a different tense? I'm not sure what I would call it, but there's a definate difference between the two in when they occur. – Zibbobz Aug 26 '13 at 12:55
  • Yes - look up "habitual aspect" and "progressive aspect"; aspect is a semantics-related term used to address the time, duration and frequency of the event / state the verb specifies. The "active mood" and the "passive mood" address the question: 'Are you choosing to make the agent (doer) of the action the subject of your sentence (John ate the cake) or not (The cake was eaten {by John})? – Edwin Ashworth Aug 27 '13 at 23:38

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