I've read about difference between

I always do something / I'm always doing something

and I got it

I'm always doing something

means more often than usual, but what about the bottom example? Is it the same?

  • I usually do something.
  • I am usually doing something.
  • If you say "I am usually doing something" then I will be assuming that you are not speaking English as a native language. But I will be understanding you.
    – GEdgar
    Jan 3, 2016 at 14:02
  • but when i say " Im always doing something." what do you think @GEdgar Jan 3, 2016 at 14:06
  • @Pedram strictly speaking, I always do something indicate that you have a habit to do something (maybe in your daily schedule, maybe in your free time,etc). I'm always doing something indicate that you always do something in that specific timeframe (only you know unless you explain it), usually in response to something which happened/will happen at that specific timeframe.
    – Flonne
    Jan 3, 2016 at 19:07
  • I disagree with @GEdgar. I can say as well as understand sentences like "on Wednesdays, I'm usually doing something with friends". I can also say "on Wednesdays, I usually do something with friends". The latter seems to indicate that an event (or several) takes place, whereas the former focuses on the fact that the event has a duration and that this keeps me busy.
    – siride
    Jan 4, 2016 at 1:44

4 Answers 4

  • ING form tends to denote something lasting for a short time, meaning it's not a habitual action (I'm going to gym this week [but I usually read].).
  • Further, always + ing can express annoyance (You're always talking during a movie!). So, I'm always doing something else when I have to study. can mean you feel frustrated because you are not studying enough (see how I used studying, that's because I believe it's just temporary).

I would assert (keeping in mind the rules for absolute adverbials that modify a sentence as a whole) that placing the adverb at the beginning of the sentence clears things up, i.e., "Usually, I am ..." By placing the adverb next to the verb, you tend to force readers to apply it specifically to the verb (in this case "doing" or "do"). But it's not intended to describe how something is done, but rather how frequently it's done. Insert another adverb such as "quickly" (which would modify the verb "doing") and the difference is clear.


These tenses (I am doing vs. I do) are different in English. The first (present continuous) suggests a qualifying clause (eg. I am doing something ....while or because xyz), while the second (present simple) requires no qualification or further explanation.


At that hour I'm usually sleeping in my bed = I am usually asleep in my bed. At that time I'm usually driving = I'm usually in my car. Every morning when the alarm goes off I'm usually in the middle of a really nice dream = I'm usually dreaming. When he gets home I'm usually nodding off on the sofa.

We often use present/past/future continuous when describing actions in progress at a particular time, be it past, present (now/routine) or future.

It's an entirely different meaning if you say "When he gets home I usually sit on the sofa and nod off" it would suggest that he's so boring he makes me fall asleep.

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