Why the Present Simple instead of the Present Continuous? How should I read this book? Hello, everyone! I have a book about 5 senses and I want to read it to my daughter. The text is simple and contains many pictures: I hear the bee. I hear the rain. And etc. We don't put "hear" in the present continuous in these situations. But! Then I can read: I smell the rain. I smell the grass. It's so fresh! I smell toast. It's burnt! And etc. Should I read this text in the Present Simple to her? Can I read it in the Present Continuous like: I'm smelling the rain, I'm smelling toast, and etc.? For example, we are looking at the picture with a boy smelling a flower. I could ask her: what is the boy smelling? But in this case I can't read "I smell the flowers". T think I should answer: he is smelling the flowers. Then, my daughter likes to talk about pictures: the dog hears the vacuum cleaner, he is running away from it; the boy isn't smelling because he has a runny nose. I'm confused... Thank you very much for you help!
Nov 27, 2017 2:49 AM
Answers · 8
Hi Viktoriya, You can use either! As an American, I'd probably read such an image as "I smell the rain" or "he smells the rain" simply because it is shorter. It is a more active way of stating your or is action, while the present continuous feels a bit more passive, almost. It's a subtle difference though (more stylistic than anything). Example where both are right, but the first option is a bit more effective The dog hears the vacuum, so he runs away from it! OR The dog is hearing the vacuum, so he is running away from it! Both are correct :)
November 27, 2017
There are some verbs that are almost never used in the continuous form. Some call them non-continuous verbs. "Smell" and "hear" are two examples of non-continuous verbs. Here you'll find a fairly comprehensive list:
November 27, 2017
It's a child's book. It uses present simple simply because it is simple. That's what is appropriate for children. Asif was also quite correct that in those cases continuous is a bit odd. Some Europeans tend to over-use continuous tenses in English, I wonder if that's what you are doing? Your example of 'what is he doing' only works because of the 'specific time' nature of a picture - what was he doing when the picture was taken?
November 27, 2017
Still haven’t found your answers?
Write down your questions and let the native speakers help you!