• By clicking submit you agree to the Terms and Conditions.
  • By clicking submit you are agreeing to the Terms and Conditions.

Which is correct? Why?

  • 2
    You didn't read this, but make our lawyers happy and click here.
    – Zoot
    Commented Jul 18, 2012 at 18:43
  • This answer to a different question might give you a grammatical insight here. Also, the first form looks to be about 7x more common, based on searching "[X] to the Terms and Conditions" on google (with the quotes).
    – Cameron
    Commented Jul 18, 2012 at 19:07

4 Answers 4


In my opinion, both are equally correct.

But the second one is a more polite way of saying it.

  • 2
    I agree. The second gives the impression that the user is acting, where the first implies that the user is being acted upon.
    – Zoot
    Commented Jul 18, 2012 at 18:46
  • 4
    Bizarre. I think almost the exact opposite regarding "polite". Google Books has 10 times as many instances of the present continuous (OP's second version) in contexts where you're effectively being warned that you're doing something with legal/contractual implications. To me, it makes the text somewhat more formal/intimidating, rather than polite/deferential. Commented Jul 18, 2012 at 20:56
  • While I agree with @FumbleFingers that the second string sounds a bit more formal, I think that the second also sounds polite.
    – dylan
    Commented Jul 23, 2012 at 17:56

Of those two sentences only the first is grammatical. The correct form of the second would be

In clicking submit you are agreeing to the Terms and Conditions

The "are" + "-ing" form of verbs takes place within the action or in the moment. It requires two points A and B in time, between which the action is ongoing.

  • I think it's completely untenable to suggest "By doing sth, you are also doing sth else" is somehow "incorrect", or "ungrammatical". Commented Jul 24, 2012 at 14:26
  • Indeed, the claim is not that "By doing sth, you are also doing sth else" is incorrect, the claim goes that "By clicking sth, you are also do-ing sth else" is incorrect. "Clicking" is a single event that spans no time unless constructed to do so with a word such as "in". The general "doing" may span as much time as it likes, and thus your sentence about doing stuff is perfectly alright
    – Born2Smile
    Commented Aug 3, 2012 at 5:46

I agree with Born2Smile. Continuous tenses are designed to indicate an activity or process in progress at a certain time; that is not the case here so the present simple is better ...you agree....

There is a growing tendency to use the present continuous inappropriately, and I detest this tendency with a vengeance. I found the following a while ago:

When risk trades are in vogue, silver is rocketing higher alongside of the rest of the commodity complex. When traders are avoiding risk and jettisoning the risk trades in favour of bonds or cash, the entire commodity complex seems to be following the exact same path as silver, namely down.

Personally, I would not use the -ing ending even once in this paragraph.


I partly agree to Born2Smile but I am not agreeing to Ashu.

The second clause of the sentence above looks really awkward. So does "By clicking Submit you are agreeing to the Terms and Conditions."

In clicking submit sounds awkward too. I would rather go and agree some terms and conditions than agreeing with people here. Oh yes, it sounds nice there, but you are agreeing doesn't. A modified version (why do we need this, anyway?) could be, By clicking submit, you are in agreement of the Terms and Conditions, if we want to, for some reason, use you are at all costs.

  • I agree that In clicking submit sounds a bit awkward, but I'm not convinced that you are in agreement of the Terms and Conditions is any better. To answer your question, the strings in question are potentially part of the account creation process for an iOS application.
    – dylan
    Commented Jul 23, 2012 at 17:51

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