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Casian Florin Danila
Posted: Monday, May 19, 2014 4:31:54 PM

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Joined: 1/17/2014
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Location: London, England, United Kingdom
If you want to ask a person why they look so tired, what's the correct grammatical form? What's the difference between those listed below? Are there more options?
"Why do you look so tired?"
"Why are you looking so tired?"
"Why you look so tired?"

Look is a state verb here, isn't it? And state verbs aren't used with present continuous. Nevertheless, in some cases present continuous is still used for emphasis. So...

I need someone to set things right for me Pray
moniquester
Posted: Monday, May 19, 2014 4:47:21 PM

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Joined: 4/8/2014
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Location: Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada

1, "Why do you look so tired?"
2. "Why are you looking so tired?"
3. "Why you look so tired?"

Number 1 above is the proper form. It is grammatically correct, and flows nicely.

Number 2 above is used in spoken English, but is wordy and awkward. Number 1 is definitely better.

Number 3 above is wrong grammatically. You can't leave out the word "do." Unfortunately, I have heard this form used by slang speakers, but it is really wrong.

Hope that helps! Have a nice day!



Casian Florin Danila
Posted: Monday, May 19, 2014 4:51:22 PM

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Joined: 1/17/2014
Posts: 12
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Location: London, England, United Kingdom
Yes it helps! Thank you :)
thar
Posted: Monday, May 19, 2014 4:52:19 PM

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Joined: 7/8/2010
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Casian Florin Danila wrote:
If you want to ask a person why they look so tired, what's the correct grammatical form? What's the difference between those listed below? Are there more options?
"Why do you look so tired?"
This is fine. It suggests a long-term reason. it is the simple present - the general, repeated state.
I look tired because I work too hard

"Why are you looking so tired?"
This is also fine but is a more common way of saying it. Because it is asking why, now, at this moment, are you looking tired.
You would ask the question in the progressive but probably answer in the simple present.
I look tired because I have been up all night.

"Why you look so tired?"
This is wrong. For a question you need to invert the subject and verb, and to do that you need an auxiliary verb,
either 'are you...?' or 'do you....?'.


Look is a state verb here, isn't it? And state verbs aren't used with present continuous. Nevertheless, in some cases present continious is still used for emphasis. So...

I need someone to set things right for me Pray


There are times you use 'look' as a state verb in the continuous.
You are right it can indicate state in the present simple
You look great in that dress.
You look tired, are feeling ill?

But you can also use it in the progressive to show it is a temporary, not an ongoing, general state. It can imply that it is not true at other times (although not rudely, but the subtext is there!)
You are looking good today!
You are looking tired today. Am I working you too hard?
Casian Florin Danila
Posted: Monday, May 19, 2014 5:12:21 PM

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Joined: 1/17/2014
Posts: 12
Neurons: 79,521
Location: London, England, United Kingdom
Nice! Thank you for the comprehensive answer. I really love the last two examples you provided, as they take me into some of the language's subtleties.
thar
Posted: Monday, May 19, 2014 6:03:49 PM

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Joined: 7/8/2010
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You're welcome.
I notice that moniquester and I have different views on which of 1 and 2 sounds right.
edited
I don't disagree. I think mainly it depends on what scenario is in your head when you think about it.
I would agree 2 is the more informal spoken form, but would disagree about it being awkward. It sounds more natural to my British-English style.
The statement -'you look tired' is simpler than 'you are looking tired' (although which one you say does depend on the subtlety of context). But for some reason, when it is in a question, "Why do you look so tired" just feels a little bit less natural to me. But certainly not wrong.

edit
oops, I just noticed a mistake in my answer.
It should, of course, be:
Are you feeling ill?
Right now, I am feeling a little bit embarrassed!Whistle

Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Monday, May 19, 2014 7:12:37 PM

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Joined: 9/12/2011
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Location: Livingston, Scotland, United Kingdom

I agree - it is not really common to use the simple present in English - unless you are talking about a repeated, habitual or continuous action or situation.

"Why are you looking so tired?" (today, you are looking tired, it is not normal)
"Why do you look so tired?" (Every time I see you, you look tired)

"What work are you doing?" (at this exact moment, which job are you actually doing)
"What work do you do?" (generally in life, when you go to work, what do you do?)

It is one of the most noticeable things in the speech of someone who is not used to conversational English - the two present tenses are often reversed in meaning.
HasmukhDoshi
Posted: Tuesday, May 20, 2014 3:06:38 AM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 4/24/2011
Posts: 357
Neurons: 200,117
Location: Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
moniquester wrote:

1, "Why do you look so tired?"
2. "Why are you looking so tired?"
3. "Why you look so tired?"

Number 1 above is the proper form. It is grammatically correct, and flows nicely.

Number 2 above is used in spoken English, but is wordy and awkward. Number 1 is definitely better.

Number 3 above is wrong grammatically. You can't leave out the word "do." Unfortunately, I have heard this form used by slang speakers, but it is really wrong.

Hope that helps! Have a nice day!





I agree.
Prince Sapovadiya
Posted: Tuesday, May 20, 2014 4:07:37 AM

Rank: Newbie

Joined: 3/26/2014
Posts: 3
Neurons: 4,054
Location: Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
I agree wit Drag0nspeaker
Drag0nspeaker wrote:

I agree - it is not really common to use the simple present in English - unless you are talking about a repeated, habitual or continuous action or situation.

"Why are you looking so tired?" (today, you are looking tired, it is not normal)
"Why do you look so tired?" (Every time I see you, you look tired)

"What work are you doing?" (at this exact moment, which job are you actually doing)
"What work do you do?" (generally in life, when you go to work, what do you do?)

It is one of the most noticeable things in the speech of someone who is not used to conversational English - the two present tenses are often reversed in meaning.
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