(60 questions) and its synonym "continuous" seems to be the same thing as (141 questions). If they're different, I welcome correction (and someone should post an answer to the following question explaining the difference: Is the tense called “Present Progressive” or “Present Continuous”?).

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    Arguable they should also be merged with the gerund tag. Nov 24, 2016 at 6:57
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    @curiousdannii: I wouldn't. I think "gerund" is a confusing term to many people, but if it refers to anything definite, it refers to something that is distinct from the progressive participle. If we did decide to merge all questions in this area I think something like "ing" would be the most neutral option.
    – herisson
    Nov 24, 2016 at 6:59
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    I think merging would be very appropriate. I would want to refrain however from throwing the gerund tag in the mix as well.
    – Helmar
    Nov 24, 2016 at 12:01

1 Answer 1


Quoth Wikipedia:

The continuous and progressive aspects (abbreviated ᴄᴏɴᴛ and ᴘʀᴏɢ) are grammatical aspects that express incomplete action ("to do") or state ("to be") in progress at a specific time: they are non-habitual, imperfective aspects. In the grammars of many languages the two terms are used interchangeably. This is the case with English: a construction such as "He is washing" may be described either as present continuous or as present progressive. However, there are certain languages for which two different aspects are distinguished.

So I think we can safely merge those for English. I wouldn't want to add gerunds to the mix, though. Remember how we have folks who think any -ing word is a gerund.

There are a lot of aspects. For example, there’s also this:

In linguistics, the aspect of a verb is a grammatical category that defines the temporal flow (or lack thereof) in a given action, event, or state.[1][2] As its name suggests, the habitual aspect (abbreviated ʜᴀʙ) specifies an action as occurring habitually: the subject performs the action usually, ordinarily, or customarily. The habitual aspect is a type of imperfective aspect, which does not depict an event as a single entity viewed only as a whole but instead specifies something about its internal temporal structure.


Aspect can mark the stage of an action. The prospective aspect is a combination of tense and aspect that indicates the action is in preparation to take place. The inceptive aspect identifies the beginning stage of an action (e.g. Esperanto uses ek-, e.g. Mi ekmanĝas, "I am beginning to eat.") and inchoative and ingressive aspects identify a change of state (The flowers started blooming) or the start of an action (He started running). Aspects of stage continue through progressive, pausative, resumptive, cessive, and terminative.

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    progressive, pausative, resumptive, cessive, and terminative I thought these were the five stages of grief in learning English as a second language.
    – deadrat
    Nov 24, 2016 at 20:05
  • @deadrat Make that an answer and I'll vote for it.
    – tchrist Mod
    Nov 24, 2016 at 20:07
  • It's not an answer to the original question. It's also possible that elevated as an answer it might prove to be a distraction for those caught in one of the five stages. Let's not risk it on an answer that I consider definitive and dispositive. (Emoticons might help me, but alas, I'm too old to learn how to use them.)
    – deadrat
    Nov 24, 2016 at 20:39
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    "gerund" is an interpretative term, it doesn't refer to any objective subset of -ing words AFAIK. So I'm not opposed to it also being a synonym. Nov 25, 2016 at 15:43

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