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What's the difference of this two sentences?

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Weibing
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What's the difference of this two sentences?

Unread post by Weibing » Sat May 19, 2007 8:08 am

1.Are you spending too much time online?
2.Do you spend too much time online?

Any difference in meaning between the two sentences?

Many thanks.

Weibing
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Unread post by Weibing » Tue May 22, 2007 10:42 am

Why is there no reply to my question so far?! Is it too difficult or too easy to answer?! I'm waiting...

Kevin Vosper
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Unread post by Kevin Vosper » Wed May 23, 2007 7:26 am

Dear Weibing

The second sentence is the present simple and is used to talk about things in general. E.g. "I like coffee, I play football, The earth goes round the sun etc. The first sentence is the present continious and is used to talk about now and in this case things happening around the point "now" (and are unfinished) e.g. I am reading a novel by Tolstoy, I am learning Japanese etc.

Best wishes

Kevin Vosper

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Unread post by Weibing » Wed May 23, 2007 11:26 pm

Dear Kevin,

Many thanks for your reply - I really appreciate it! You mentioned the essential difference between the two sentences. Might there be a more subtle difference between the two? Maybe more explanation could make it more clear for me!

Love,

Weibing

TS
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Re: What's the difference of this two sentences?

Unread post by TS » Thu Jun 07, 2007 4:31 pm

Weibing wrote:1.Are you spending too much time online?
2.Do you spend too much time online?
Any difference in meaning between the two sentences?
To understand better, you should have asked the three tenses at once:
1.Are you spending too much time online?
2.Do you spend too much time online?
3.Have you been spending too much time online?
I have been asking the similar question for years, and few people could tell the difference between the three tenses.

Nevertheless, my favorite reminding examples posted in some other forums are these:
Ex: I run 3 miles every day.
Ex: I am running 3 miles every day.
Ex: I have been running 3 miles every day.

This contrast is to point out the misconception in some learners who claim Simple Present expresses habitual action, while Present Progressive is used to express something happening around the point "now".

In the following page, I have a theory in explaining the three tenses at once:
http://www.englishtense.com/newapproach/7_1.htm

Your opinion is welcome.

TS
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Unread post by TS » Thu Jun 07, 2007 11:16 pm

Simply put, my point is:
-- Present Progressive action indicates a new action.
-- Present Perfect Progressive action indicates an old action.

In my youth, I analyzed a copy of Time magazine and noted that 70 percent of Present Progressive sentences were with the adjective new in the proximity, just like the following one from the news a few minutes ago:
Ex: The bill would tighten borders, institute a new system to prevent employers from hiring undocumented workers, and give many of the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants a pathway to legal status. Conceived by an improbable coalition, it is exposing deep rifts within both parties and is loathed by most GOP conservatives.
== http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070607/ap_ ... n_congress
It may have proven my point or may have not. But I believe in my own study.
(The news link may be invalid very soon, but the example will be located by searching engines — for a couple of days.)

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Unread post by Weibing » Fri Jun 08, 2007 12:06 am

Hi, TS

Many thanks! I thought this thread might have been over, but really to my surprise, I found the new replies from you this morning. Your answers have truly made my quesion clearer, though I still think there might be more subtle differences between the two mentioned sentences or no difference at all, unless the 2nd sentence (Do you spend too much time online?) doesn't make any sense or is impossible (or rather, a native English speaker may never make a sentence like this).

To my best knowledge, after thinking over my quesiton twice again, I wonder if there really is any difference between the two. Some think the 2nd sentence may possibly mean 'you' don't spend time online any more (finished). But how come 'present simple' could mean finished? It seems to me that 'you' (in the 2nd) are still spending much time online just as what the 1st sentence means!

All the Best

Weibing

TS
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Unread post by TS » Fri Jun 08, 2007 1:51 am

Weibing wrote:To my best knowledge, after thinking over my quesiton twice again, I wonder if there really is any difference between the two.
Me too. But my reason is: I am afraid the tense leading a question doesn't mean anything. What I mean is, you can use any tense to ask — because you don't know. If you know, why do you ask?

However, because every sentence demands a tense, people just loosely throw in a tense in a question. For instance, one may ask these questions with Since:
Q1. Since when did they stay there?
Q2. Since when do you have a dog?

As we all know, however, if you answer the questions, you have to use Present Perfect:
A1. They have stayed there since last week.
A2. I have had a dog since 2000.

If so, what is the point in studying the tenses in Q1 and Q2?
This is why "I wonder if there really is any difference between the two."

What I have talked about the progressive forms here is for 'ordinary' sentences, rather than questions or negative sentences.

Weibing
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Unread post by Weibing » Fri Jun 08, 2007 11:26 am

I can share a little more about this topic:

1.Simple past/present perfect

AmE: I took a shower. (tend to use simple past)
BrE: I've taken a shower. (tend to use present perfect)

2.In the News

Attack kills 14. (Exactly: Attack killed 14.) (In such case, simple present just means 'finished'.) (There are plenty of such cases in the news.)


It's really not all fun and games for a non-native speaker to learn English 'tense'(especially for Asians) - we have no such thing as 'tense' in Chinese.

I wonder if even a native English speaker could possibly make a 'tense' mistake?! Chances are that they seldom make such a mistake (they have no problem using it correctly and readily)?!

kate1
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differences

Unread post by kate1 » Fri Jun 08, 2007 1:06 pm

1. you ask about plans for the near future

2. you ask about daily routine

Weibing
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Unread post by Weibing » Fri Jun 08, 2007 2:14 pm

Man: I'm so tired and exhausted!

Woman: Are you spending too much time online? (or, do you spend too much time online?)

It seems to me that both questions are possible and just the same.

#1 probably means a future plan, but definitely means 'around now' !

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Unread post by TS » Fri Jun 08, 2007 3:50 pm

Weibing wrote:2.In the News
Attack kills 14. (Exactly: Attack killed 14.) (In such case, simple present just means 'finished'.) (There are plenty of such cases in the news.)
I have quoted examples with the links. Where are your links? Did you quote only the title? As the title reveals a fact (Attack kills 14), Simple Present says the fact is not yet finished. However, it is a different story if we put sentences together — this is the whole point of my new approach. Your example is just like "I eat dinner", which is a permanent fact and cannot be finished. But in a paragraph of sentences, you may use Present Perfect:
Ex: "I have eaten dinner. I am full."
== It is because of the time relations between sentences.
-------------------
Weibing wrote:1.Simple past/present perfect
AmE: I took a shower. (tend to use simple past)
BrE: I've taken a shower. (tend to use present perfect)
Ultimately, how will you define the use of Present Perfect? May you tell?

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Unread post by TS » Fri Jun 08, 2007 3:51 pm

Weibing wrote:Man: I'm so tired and exhausted!
Woman: Are you spending too much time online? (or, do you spend too much time online?)
It seems to me that both questions are possible and just the same.
We have talked about this. You may use any tense to ask question:
Ex: Did you spend too much time online?
Ex: Have you spent too much time online?
Ex: You must have spent too much time online, I guess?
Ex: Will you spend too much time online again?

Weibing
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Unread post by Weibing » Fri Jun 08, 2007 11:28 pm

To TS

Thanks for keeping this thread going. I'm sure not just I have learned much from all the replies - so many others are also keeping reading this thread just as I'm doing.

Your way to ask the question sounds better. Now, I realize that how to properly ask a question does matter so much. I wonder if my improperly-asked qestions sparked all the argument?

As to 'present perfect', I have a question for you, what's the difference between the two sentences below?

1. I have finished my homework.
2. I finished my homework.

Both sentences might imply the same meaning as : now that I finished my homework I can play games or do something else?!

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Unread post by John76 » Fri Jun 08, 2007 11:55 pm

time is the difference, i believe.

1) a short time ago (eg: i just finished)
2) a longer period of time passed

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Unread post by John76 » Fri Jun 08, 2007 11:58 pm

"Are you spending too much time online?"

refers to now

"Do you spend too much time online?"

refers to the past

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Unread post by TS » Sat Jun 09, 2007 4:38 am

John76 wrote:time is the difference, i believe.
1) a short time ago (eg: i just finished)
2) a longer period of time passed
As for "longer period of time passed", LATELY is much longer than YESTERDAY. But the former may use Present Perfect, and the latter needs to use Simple Past:
Ex: I have seen him lately.
Ex: I saw him yesterday.

Do you have an explanation?

Actually, when we mention 'Yesterday', we have to use Simple Past, rather than Present Perfect. Do you have any explanation?

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Unread post by Weibing » Sat Jun 09, 2007 10:26 am

If 'Do you spend too much time online?' refers to the past, then what about 'Did you spend too much time online?'?!

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Unread post by TS » Sat Jun 09, 2007 4:28 pm

Actually, when we mention 'Yesterday', we have to use Simple Past, rather than Present Perfect. Do you have any explanation?

TS
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Unread post by TS » Sat Jun 09, 2007 4:48 pm

Weibing wrote:If 'Do you spend too much time online?' refers to the past, then what about 'Did you spend too much time online?'?!
I don't believe I have to repeat for so many times.

The tense leading a question doesn't mean anything. You can use any tense to ask — because you don't know. If you know, why do you ask?

However, because every sentence demands a tense, people just loosely throw in a tense in a question. For instance, one may ask these questions with Since:
Q1. Since when did they stay there?
Q2. Since when do you have a dog?

As we all know, however, if you answer the questions, you have to use Present Perfect:
A1. They have stayed there since last week.
A2. I have had a dog since 2000.

If so, what is the point in studying the tenses in the question?

TS
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Unread post by TS » Sat Jun 09, 2007 4:56 pm

Before you learn the progressive tenses in questions, you have to learn them in ordinary sentences:
Ex: I run 3 miles every day.
Ex: I am running 3 miles every day.
Ex: I have been running 3 miles every day.

What are the differences between the three of them?

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Unread post by John76 » Sat Jun 09, 2007 6:57 pm

i'm sorry.

"DID you spend too much time online?"

refers to the past

"DO you spend too much time online?"

refers to the present tense

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Unread post by John76 » Sat Jun 09, 2007 7:13 pm

Yesterday is a "specific time period" of one day

Lately is "not specific" in terms of time. it could refer to any amount of time in the past that just recently happened

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Unread post by John76 » Sat Jun 09, 2007 7:21 pm

TS,

correct tenses is only for grammar or writing for school or formal writing. in everyday conversation, english speakers use any tense they want and do not follow the rules.

TS
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Unread post by TS » Sat Jun 09, 2007 9:29 pm

John76 wrote: correct tenses is only for grammar or writing for school or formal writing. in everyday conversation, english speakers use any tense they want and do not follow the rules.
Then you are arguing with the one below:
John76 wrote:"DID you spend too much time online?"
refers to the past
"DO you spend too much time online?"
refers to the present tense
What is the point we are discussing here in forums if we "do not follow the rules."

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