Are always doing something

Hi,
Since it’s impossible as far as understand to continue a dicussion in a topic, I have to open a new one. Please look at the following example.

1. Why we can say are saying?
[size=75]http://www.english-test.net/forum/ftopic7358.html#18332[/size]

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English Language Tests, Intermediate level

ESL/EFL Test #119 [color=blue]“English Tenses”, question 3

Mike: That’s what you always .

(a) said
(b) are saying
© had said
(d) say

English Language Tests, Intermediate level

ESL/EFL Test #119 [color=blue]“English Tenses”, answer 3

Mike: That’s what you always say.

Correct answer: (d) say

Your answer was: [color=red]incorrect
Mike: That’s what you always are saying.

[color=olive]Why we can say are saying?
Gella
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I think this question was asked because in one of the previous set of tests Alan wrote:

2. Why should I choose “d”?
[size=75]http://www.english-test.net/forum/ftopic1627.html#4822[/size]

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Test No. [color=blue]incompl/inter-92 “Tenses (3)”, question 7

He silly things like this. Take no notice now.

(a) always did
(b) will always do
© had always done
(d) is always doing

Test No. [color=blue]incompl/inter-92 “Tenses (3)”, answer 7

He is always doing silly things like this. Take no notice now.

Correct answer: (d) is always doing

Your answer was: [color=red]incorrect
He always did silly things like this. Take no notice now.

[color=olive]Why should I choose “d”?
Caoya
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If we have a different cases, could you explain how they differ because, to my mind, both sentences about smth that irritates or annoys. Thanks.

Greta

Hi Greta

You’ve made a very good point, and I understand what you mean, however, I would differentiate the two test questions in a couple of ways. (I’ve given them the numbers 1 + 2 for easier reference)

  1. In this sentence, it’s not so much what Sarah always says that annoys Mike, but the fact that she doesn’t do what she says she’ll do afterwards. There might possibly enough annoyance on Mike’s part to use the continuous form (indicating annoyance) in such a situation, but there are a couple of additional reasons not to choose the present continuous in the test question:
  • The “standard” or most typical word order would be: are always saying and that’s not one of the options in the test.
  • The most typical sentence would be “You’re always saying that.” (i.e., focus on the person who does the annoying thing right at the beginning of the sentence: You)
  • Using the simple present tense is never incorrect when speaking about repeated, regular actions — even when you’re annoyed. And the simple present tense was given as an option.
  • “That’s what you always say.” is a fairly fixed expression.
  1. In this question, the use of the simple present tense is also possible, but it is not given as an option. Also, unlike 1, you’ll notice that this sentence focuses very directly on the person who is annoying (the sentence begins with He). Additionally, the correct “standard” word order is also given in the possible answers (“is always doing”).

I hope that helps.

Amy