Heng Zhang
Is there any difference between "Someone+ be+ doing something" and "Someone+ doing something"? I've seen a lot of native speakers say" someone+ doing something" instead of "someone+ be + doing something", like this sentence" You refusing to serve the court?" instead of" You're refusing to serve the court?" This kind of abbreviatory phenomenon has shown in lots of movies' lines. Can anyone explain the difference between them? Is that a common mistake or something?
May 9, 2018 3:57 PM
Comments · 2
Heng, like Melanie says, the auxiliary verb is there, but it’s simply not pronounced. We need to write the complete form, except when transcribing dialog. This is typical with questions in the 2nd person (you). Note that the main verb is still governed by the unpronounced auxiliary. It’s also possible to drop the pronoun “you” (It’s not really omitted, it’s just not pronounced):

“((Have)) (You) eaten yet?”
“((Are)) (you) Working hard or hardly working?”
“((Do)) (You) come here often?”
“((Did)) (You) eat yet?”
May 9, 2018

Remember that characters in movies don't always speak in a correct, grammatical way...! ;-)

I assume here they just omitted the verb 'are' from the start of the question, so in full it would be "Are you refusing to serve the court?" - this kind of omission occurs sometimes in informal speech, or sometimes the 'are' is just barely pronounced.

Hope that helps!


May 9, 2018