I am looking for an explanation why,

She stands in the shade of a tree.❌(wrong)

She is standing in the shade of the tree.✅(correct)


The temple is standing in the heart of the city.❌(wrong)

The temple stands in the heart of the city.✅(correct)

why "she stands" is wrong but "temple stands" is correct?

  • Welcome to EL&U. If I am reading your question correctly, then #1 is not correct because unless she is a permanent fixture (perhaps a garden gnome) under the tree, the sentence does not describe her state of being at the moment, while temple stands means "is/was/and always will be there." Perhaps one of our grammarians will come along to give you all the high-falutin' words. – Cascabel Feb 7 '19 at 19:16
  • 3
    How does she avoid sunburn? She stands in the shade of a tree. Nothing wrong with that. – Greg Lee Feb 7 '19 at 19:34
  • Context is everything. If she had looked upon the Gorgon and had been turned to stone, then "she stands in the shade" is perfectly fine. If the earthquake had flattened the wooden buildings but not the temple, then it's true (and correctly expressed) that "the temple is standing". Long may it stand! – Chappo Hasn't Forgotten Monica Feb 8 '19 at 7:30

It's not that one usage is right or wrong - it's that they have different meanings.

"X is standing" (present progressive) is often used to indicate the state is temporary, happening particularly in the present moment.

"X stands" (simple present) is often used to indicate that state is permanent, repeated or habitual -- it expresses a simple timeless fact or situation. It can also be in a narrative sense.

One could say "She stands in the shade of a tree," if the context is a novel or screenplay.

One could say "The temple is standing in the heart of the city," if the context is that tomorrow it is scheduled to be torn down.

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