Simple present is used to show a fact

Cats like milk.

Birds do not like milk.

Do pigs like milk?

ABC city is in the country XNZ.

Speakers sometimes use the Simple Present to express the idea that an action is happening or is not happening now. This can only be done with Non-Continuous Verbs and certain Mixed Verbs.


I am here now.

She is not here now.

Now should we categorize "to be" in "she is fat" as a Non-Continuous Verb expressing a temporary process that is happening?

or should we categorize "she is fat" as a permanent process that happens forever?

I think the boundary between "Simple present" & "present continuous" is not too clear because nothing is forever. Eg: now "ABC city is in the country XNZ." is true but what if a few years later "ABC city" is conquered and belong to other country "ABC city is in the country TPK."

closed as unclear what you're asking by Hot Licks, Yosef Baskin, Davo, Chris H, marcellothearcane Jul 20 '17 at 13:33

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    How can you categorize a state of being as a temporary process? And what is a "permanent process" when it comes to discussing a person´s weight? – Cascabel Jul 7 '17 at 0:47
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    It's not a process, it's a state. – Hot Licks Jul 7 '17 at 1:23
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    Something like what you are talking about becomes obvious in other languages such as Spanish, in which there are 2 verbs to describe the states of being (permanent, or temporary) These verbs (in Spanish) are ser, and estar. In addition, there are 2 verbs for "have", depending on if it is an auxiliary verb or active verb. (haber and tener) Haber may also be used actively depending on the context. The point is, English is just a little impoverished on this account, and depends completely on context. But there is no "process"--defined as a progression of steps. – Cascabel Jul 7 '17 at 2:10
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    Whichever way you categorize this, do you have some examples where it makes a difference? – Mitch Jul 7 '17 at 3:44

You have gotten into a rather sticky part of English. The verb "to be" is used in all sorts of ways, and much of it depends on context.

In this particular case, "She is fat", all by itself, is referring to a single, specific individual, and would usually be seen as a limited observation, or a non-continuous verb as used in the linked article. It cannot be applied to an individual as a permanent condition, since people have been known to lose weight.

Except, of course, that it can be used as a continuous verb, if the context indicates that the speaker thinks that the woman involved has been fat from childhood and will be fat until she dies. In this case, "is" is used as an assertion rather than a description. Like I say, English uses "to be" in all sorts of ways.

And, just as a warning about modern (American) usage, talking about women and obesity will get you in trouble in some circles, given American standards of beauty which emphasize slender as desirable, while a majority of those who live within the culture are overweight. Reference to a woman's excess weight can easily provoke charges of "body-shaming", so you should be careful.

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