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Does he swim VS Is he swimming


8 Apr 2004
Hello, native English speakers,
I still don't get it. Would you please tell me how different (a) and (b) is?
(a) Does he swim here every summer?
(b) Is he swimming here every summer?

A British person says,
"Does he swim here every summer?" sounds more grammatically correct to me. "Is he swimming here?" is okay, but when you add "every summer" it sounds a bit unnatural haha."

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I agree with everything the British person said, except for the "haha" at the end of the message.

This question is asking about a 習慣, and in such cases, it is most natural to use 現在形, not 現在進行形.
Thanks for the help, joadbres.

Then how about this pair?
(c) Do you study Japanese every day?
(d) Are you studying Japanese every day?

Are both used? If so, what's the difference?
Thanks for the help, joadbres.

Then how about this pair?
(c) Do you study Japanese every day?
(d) Are you studying Japanese every day?

Are both used? If so, what's the difference?

The answer is the same as with the earlier question. You should teach your students that (c) is preferred.

There are circumstances, though, where a sentence like (d) may sound equally natural or even more natural than a sentence like (c), but it may be difficult for you to understand, and it is certainly beyond what you should teach your students.

I will illustrate with an example.

Person A tells Person B that they want to quickly get better at Japanese, and plan to study every day for the next few months. Two weeks later, Person B meets Person A, and wants to know if Person A has achieved that goal.

In that case,

(d) Are you studying Japanese every day?
can be used.

If this is too difficult for you to understand, then don't worry about it, and just treat (c) as preferred, and avoid (d). Use the 習慣 → 現在形 rule.

Look at these two examples:

(1) I study Japanese now.

(2) I am studying Japanese now.

Both examples are correct and have different meanings. Example (2) is the usual, preferred usage. Example (1) has a special meaning and is only used in special situations.

Example (2) is the normal translation for the Japanese sentence 私は今日本語を勉強しています (and this is the only example you should be teaching to your students).

Example (1) has a special meaning. Look at the following example.

"What are all those Ninja posters doing in your room? Do you study Japanese now?? You tried Spanish and gave it up. Then French. And let's not forget all the time you spent with those Arabic textbooks. Face it, maybe you're just not cut out for language study."

In the above example, the speaker is asking about a change in the situation. In other words, the person has only started studying Japanese recently. It would be appropriate to ask, "Do you study Japanese now?" to someone who (as far as you know) didn't study Japanese in the past.

Example (1) also contains the idea that the speaker is a little surprised at what is going on.

If you need more examples, please do not hesitate to ask.

I strongly advise you not to teach example (1) as it would be confusing to your 専門学校 students. In addition, students at that level do not need to learn example (1),

(By the way, I previously spoke about this in another thread, and I am changing my answer from what I previously said to what I am now saying.)

Footnote: I got this information from the Chinese forum Chinese-forums.com homepage - Chinese-forums.com where I am a member.
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(c) and (d) the main difference is how they are answered

(c)Do you study Japanese every day?

'Study' is the verb and 'every day' the frequency adverb. (c) is the same as a masu form with a frequency adverb so it has to be a habit.

(d) Are you studying Japanese every day?
(1)Are you a student?

(d) and (1) would both be answered in the same way. Yes I am/No I am not. For (d) 'studying Japanese every day' can be thought of as 'like a noun'
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