Present Continuous Usage 2: Action happening “Near now” or “around now”

What is “near now” or “around now” concept?

Time axis 1. Pay attention to the green circle that says “near now.”

We can understand near now or around now as a period of time starting in the past and finishing in the future. Start and end points are undefined and, basically, have no meaningful value. The main attention is on the actions that are lasting during this period.

The writer is writing a new book.

It’s not important when he started a new book and when he will finish it. But what’s important is that he is writing a new book, not necessarily right now, but around the “now” point (currently, these days, this fall, this season, etc.).

A good thing to know is that a near-now period activity can be an opposition to constantly happening activity. It can be just temporary activity versus constant activity.

Compare:

He writes stories (constant activity).

He writes stories (constant activity), but now he is writing poems (near-now activity, temporary activity as compared to constant activity, or at least activity that has not yet become permanent).

We can go deeper and add one more example. Pay attention to 3 different concepts:

(1) constant activity

(2) near-now activity

(3) moment of speaking activity (now)

(1) He writes stories, but now (2) he is writing poems, and at this very moment (3) he is eating at the restaurant.

Interestingly, we have the 2 different uses in the same tense: Present Continuous.

Other ways to explain near-now activity is:

New patterns or habits

Actions that are different or new compared to similar actions in the past.

Nowadays, people are using phones to read newspapers.

Temporary actions

Now he is working on a new project that will help him save the world!

With: this week, this year, today, this month, this semester etc

The restaurant is serving only vegetarian food this week.

Also on Present Continuous:

Back to: Present Continuous Tense, also Present Progressive

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