I watch the drama, "Criminal Mind : Beyond Borders".

In 3rd episode, investigator chasing the suspect who is going to suicide said "Think about your daughter!"

Then the suspect answers "I AM"

I am confused. Because I think that "I DO" is right.

"Think" is not Be-verb but Do-verb. (Be-verb and Do-verb is right expression?)

Why did the suspect answer "I AM"?

closed as off-topic by Drew, ab2 ReinstateMonicaNow, Rob_Ster, tchrist, NVZ Apr 11 '16 at 5:46

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  • I think "I do" is also possible, in the sense "I always do" or "I do, that's why I'm doing this". – Araucaria Apr 11 '16 at 1:01

First of all, in both responses the word "think" is left out and understood. In other words it would be "I am thinking" or "I do think." Do is often added to a verb for emphasis and also stands in for a verb that is omitted. In this case it is doing both.

These are two different forms of present tense. "I do (think)" is simple present tense, which describes a habitual or continuous action, but not necessarily happening right now. Examples would be "I eat cake" or "I do eat cake." Which indicates that when there is cake available I partake of it. But unfortunately I have no cake right now.

That is opposed to the present progressive tense, which is an ongoing action occurring right at this moment: "I am eating cake."

Thus his response to the command, "Think about your kids," is "I am," because his kids are on his mind right now.

  • A good answer that perhaps needs a little sharpening. The simple present is I think, but a sharp retort that leaves out the main verb is impossible because that would leave nothing. So the speaker inserts the auxiliary dummy do standing for I do think, which works well here because do can add the aspect of emphasis. The simple present represents a habitual or enduring action more than an ongoing one. The progressive form indicates a continuing acting more than one just confined to the present moment. Upvote, though. – deadrat Apr 10 '16 at 18:08
  • @deadrat Thanks. I made a couple of edits. And thank you for present progressive tense. I was racking my brain but couldn't come up with that word. A quick Google search yielded present continuous for the same case, but I knew there was a more common term for it – TomMcW Apr 11 '16 at 0:33
  • @deadrat Are words like "am" and "do" still referred to as "helping verbs?" I learned grammar about 35 years ago and when I look things up on the web I often find they've changed the terminology on me. – TomMcW Apr 11 '16 at 0:40
  • @deadrat, Tom, I think "I do" would also be possible, in the sense "I always do" or "I do, that's why I'm doing this", or as an unconstructive wordplay retort. – Araucaria Apr 11 '16 at 1:05
  • @TomMcW They are occasionally. But they're usually referred to as "auxiliary verbs" nowadays. You might find this post helpful. – Araucaria Apr 11 '16 at 1:07

Think about your daughter! (Imperative uses the base form of the verb.)

I AM! (I AM thinking about my daughter!) (Present Continuous/Progressive for an action happening now)

  • One might think about ones answers! I suppose you're going to say "One does!" ... ? Or are you going to say "One is!" ...? I reckon "I do!" would still be a good answer in the OP's example (but not in the example I just gave). – Araucaria Apr 11 '16 at 0:58
  • @Araucana If your comment is addressed to me, the correct response is : I DO! "One might think..." is general advice. Present Simple refers to general situations - I think about my answers. When the father is about to commit suicide, and the investigator tries to prevent this by imploring the father to think about his daughter, "I AM!" refers to the here and now. – Cathy Gartaganis Apr 11 '16 at 3:29

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