Hello :slight_smile:

Please somebody tell me which of the following sentences is correct:

  1. Tom and Jenny are fighting every day.
  2. Tom and Jenny fight every day.

I personally think that only sentence 2 is correct but my teacher told me that both sentences are right. She said that the first sentence doesn’t mean that Tom and Jenny are really fighting. Her explanation doesn’t really make sense to me. I think the simple present tense should be used becuase of the time expression “every day”.

I’m confused :-(:-(:-(… Please helpe.

Your teacher is correct, though the first is not used very often and does not usually sound as natural as the second.

EDIT - with regard to Alan’s comment below, he seems to have ignored the fact that I said ‘usually’.

Hi Nie,

I can understand your confusion. The simple present often refers to an action that is repeated ‘every day’ as in (2) and the continuous present often refers to something that is happening now as in (1). But both sentences are grammatically fine. Both refer to the repetition of the fighting. In (2) the reference is only to the fact that the two people fight every day. In (1) the reference is to the fact that these two people fight every day AND also the writer/speaker suggests that he wishes this repeated fighting would stop because this annoys him and he doesn’t like it. Here is another example: That dog is barking every single day and it gets on my nerves and I would really like it to sop,


I have just read the comment from Bev, which coincided with my message. I have to say that the point about sounding ‘natural’ is not really relevant as both constructions are valid and have different implications.

Not a tutor.

To the me the first sentence doesnt sound well, even though some people consider it right.
But should be:
Tom and jenny use to fight everyday.
The question 2 is correct to me.


Your sentence would read better as: T and J used to fight every day. That way you have changed it from present to past.

But I think, “use” is the present, and therefore grammatical, please confirm.

‘used to’ is not the present. It indicates what they did in the past. To indicate the present you would use ‘John and Jenny fight every day’.

Does it mean that these two sentences are also correct?

  1. I go to school every day.

  2. I’m going to school every day. (Can I also say it this way if I want to refer to something that I do regularly?)

Thanks again :slight_smile:

“use to” is simply an incorrect usage (with the affirmative form).
It should always read “used to” and as Alan has explained, it refers to the past.

‘Use to’ is used with the negative form and the question form
We didn’t use to fight every day.
Didn’t you use to fight every day?
We used to fight every day.

More here:
bbc.co.uk/worldservice/learn … allenge15/
speakspeak.com/resources/english … to-used-to

Thanks, Bev!
I completely forgot about that usage of “use to”. :slight_smile:

I always have problems with these these negative and interrogative forms. I think many people are unsure of their ground, and there is quite a bit of discussion on the web, and no complete consensus as far as I can see.

Both “didn’t use to” and “didn’t used to” look clumsy to me written down. As far as I can tell, more people prefer “use”, but Collins, for one, seems to allow both: collinsdictionary.com/dictio … sh/used-to

Similarly, both “didn’t you use to?” and “didn’t you used to?” look clumsy to me written down.

In writing, for the negative form I would use “used not to”. For the interrogative form I would like to use “used you to?”, but I fear that risks looking pedantic.

Can we say : “We never used to fight every day.” instead of “We used not to fight every day.”?

For me, “we never used to” does not suffer from the same awkwardness of form as “we didn’t use/used to”. However, whether one would want to routinely use “never” as an alternative to “didn’t” is debatable.

Also, for me, in this particular example, there is a slight awkwardness about the combination “never” and “every day” that results in the sentence sounding like an inferior way of saying “We didn’t fight every day”.

If I may ask, “used to” and “use to” , don’t they have general rule for it but solely subject to individual subjective analysis?.

The “problems” that I mention relate solely to the negative and interrogative forms, as described earlier. There is no problem with affirmative sentences such as “We used to fight every day”, “You used to love me”, or whatever. Some people may have no difficulty or uncertainty with “didn’t use to” or “did you use to?”. For me, personally, they look awkward in writing. In speech, “use” and “used” are virtually indistinguishable in that pattern, so some people may not really be clear which one they are saying.