1

I am looking at the following two sentences:

  1. "I suppose it is made up of some sort of tissue that is getting harder as the animal is getting older."
  2. "I suppose it is made up of some sort of tissue that gets harder as the animal gets older."

As a native speaker, the first one sounds strange to me, but I can't wrap my head around why. I would even feel somewhat better (but not entirely okay) with:

"I suppose it is made up of some sort of tissue that is getting harder as the animal gets older."

Is the first sentence wrong or unnatural, or am I just imagining things? If it is, why? I feel like there is some grammatical rule I am overlooking.

3

I imagine these two sentences in two different situations.

I and my coworker are conducting an experiment. We are in the middle of our experiment and we can observe what is going on. I tell my coworker the first sentence. We are in the middle of the process and I am telling him/her my observation. So it is only natural for me to say the first sentence and avoid the second sentence as it would mean a general result drawn from an ongoing experiment.

For the second sentence, I finished my experiment. I am writing my results. I use the second sentence. Because this is the result we get from our experiment. "A" gets harder as "A" gets older.

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0

In the first and third forms, "some sort of tissue" refers to a specific instance, the instance of the substance under consideration. That instance tissue is hardening progressively as the animal ages. There is arguably even a suggestion in the phrasing that the hardening of that instance was observed or at least deduced.

In the second form, "some sort of tissue" is used in a generic fashion, and (other instances of) that tissue have been known to normally or typically or always harden with the age of its associated animal.

Although not fully conversant with Indian English, I have the impression that it uses -ing more freely, possibly giving all three forms the latter sense. The different senses are more natural in American English, British English and some non-Indian Asian Englishes.

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0

I would say that each of your three sentences conveys a slightly different meaning:

"I suppose it is made up of some sort of tissue that is getting harder as the animal gets older."

Here, "as the animal gets older" is a natural occurrence and time frame, but is contrasted to something that the speaker supposes to be occurring gradually and perhaps unnaturally (e.g., an illness). The continuous conjugation "is getting harder" allows for multiply interpretations and awaits clarification in a later statement.

"I suppose it is made up of some sort of tissue that gets harder as the animal gets older."

The simple conjugation of each verb expresses what the speaker supposes to be a fact and, for this animal, a fact of life: as it gets older, the tissue gets harder.

"I suppose it is made up of some sort of tissue that is getting harder as the animal is getting older."

...

Is the first sentence wrong or unnatural, or am I just imagining things?

Unnatural, yes...wrong, not necessarily. Once again, the continuous conjugations beg questions and await clarification in later statements. Why say "as the animal is getting older"?

Were the clause preceded by a comma, "as" would be synonymous to "because" and aging would be the supposed cause of the hardening. This would be a justified and grammatically sound reason to say "is getting". Perhaps this is just a typo or lazy punctuation.

Another possibility (no comma) is that the hardening has not only been occurring gradually but has also been occurring for quite some time, or that its consequences are worsening or becoming more problematic as the animal ages. It could also be that the speaker (vet?) wishes to suggest that the hardening will only get worse as the animal continues to age, and so on.

The conjugation is a bit odd but "is getting older" may indeed serve a purpose, depending on the intention of the speaker and surrounding context.

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