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explains vs explaining Options
Jigneshbharati
Posted: Thursday, November 14, 2019 1:31:59 AM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 11/3/2016
Posts: 3,582
Neurons: 18,922
This page explains the terms strong and weak as applied to acids. As a part of this it defines and explains what is meant by pH, Ka and pKa.

I know that present simple is used for habits, general truth, schedule or time table. "This page explains" doesn't fall into those uses so is this a special use of the present simple?
Why the present continuous "is explaining " sound unnatural and probably wrong?
thar
Posted: Thursday, November 14, 2019 1:46:44 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 7/8/2010
Posts: 22,813
Neurons: 92,675

Reasons it is the simple present:
1 because it is a factual description of what the page is for
the sun rises in the east
this page explains x

2 because it is timeless
this is not just happening now, it is always the case. Whether you read it yesterday or read it in a year, it explains x.
If it were a live broadcast that were only on now, at this single time, then you could say 'it is explaining x' as you are listening to it. But the page has no 'now'. It is a static condition, not a current action. While you are reading it, that is your current action, but the page has no timeframe.


Reasons the progressive sounds wrong:
A more useful name for the continuous may be the progressive. Is something happening, moving forward in time, progressing? No. There is no 'now'.
You are reading the page now. Yes, that is a current action.
But the function of the page is not changing. It has no timeframe. It has content, without a timeframe. It explains something.

The point about the simple present is that it has very little to do with the present. It is a terrible name for a tense which is usually about there being no timeframe involved. The only time it describes 'the present' is when it is used for commentating on events, but mostly it is used to show there is no 'time' involved.


Jigneshbharati
Posted: Thursday, November 14, 2019 2:03:04 AM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 11/3/2016
Posts: 3,582
Neurons: 18,922
Now I got it. Your explanations are always complete and lucid. Thanks a lot, thar!
Antonia40
Posted: Thursday, November 14, 2019 5:08:02 AM
Rank: Member

Joined: 3/12/2013
Posts: 46
Neurons: 576
Location: Košice, Kosicky, Slovakia
Hello,
the good example why to use present simple you can see at the song of Susan Vega- Tom´s Dinner:
https://genius.com/Suzanne-vega-toms-diner-lyrics
Jigneshbharati
Posted: Friday, November 15, 2019 1:15:14 AM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 11/3/2016
Posts: 3,582
Neurons: 18,922
Is "explain" an action verb in the given context?
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