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NinjaTurtle

Is "Do you study Chinese now?" okay in British English?

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Zeppa

I don't think it's a British/US difference (I speak BrE). I agree with Roddy that it's a contextual thing and you can overthink it. 

 

Are you studying X now? - the continuous present is the usual choice when something may be temporary. In most cases, that would be the logical tense to use. The inclusion of "now" makes this most likely. 

 

But Do you study X now? is also possible, but it's a rather subtle distinction and confusing to explain. Do you study X? without the "now" is easier to explain - it's not felt to be a temporary thing. Do you study X now? would mean: currently, is this your long-term habit?

 

Another example: Are you living in London (now)? suggests temporary or recent change. Do you live in London? suggests either a permanent state or the questioner isn't emphasizing the time element. 

 

I have a feeling this will not help!

 

Incidentally, try thinking about the positive version, non-question: I study Chinese (now) / I am studying Chinese (now). That can be easier to understand. It avoids Shelley's problem with "Do" being more British (which I suspect it isn't).

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roddy

Yeah. I mean, say you're a parent who hasn't been kept up to date with your child's change of major, but he's talking about a trip to Beijing and not France. You might ask the question that way. Your focus is on the bare fact, not its extension in time. I don't think there's a UK/US difference. 

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rumapa

So "Do you study X now?" cannot mean something like "Have you started studying X now that you've failed studying Y"? Should you use "Are you studying X?" in this case too?

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Zeppa
Quote

 

 

On 10/11/2019 at 9:48 AM, rumapa said:

So "Do you study X now?" cannot mean something like "Have you started studying X now that you've failed studying Y"? Should you use "Are you studying X?" in this case too?

I think it can mean that, but I would probably say 'studying'. I don't think it's that categorical. 

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NinjaTurtle
On 10/11/2019 at 3:19 AM, Zeppa said:

I study Chinese (now) / I am studying Chinese (now).

 

This is a good case where both examples are correct and have different meanings. I can now see how this is not an American/British difference at all.

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歐博思
On 10/9/2019 at 5:14 AM, Shelley said:

3)  Do you study Chinese?  Again a general question.

 

4)  Do you study Chinese now?  Implying something has changed, similar to no. 2

 

I think the the sentences beginning with Do sound somewhat formal to the American ear, but are used more in the UK.

 

This was my take on it as well as an American English speaker (i.e. a change of state), but in terms of formality it sounds neutral to me.

 

 

Other examples:

1 "Do you eat tacos now?"

1 "Yes, Taco Tuesday is just too hard to resist any longer"

 

2 "Are you eating tacos now?"

2 "Can't you see I'm eating pizza?"

 

3 “Are you eating tacos now?”

3 "Yes, Taco Tuesday is just too hard to resist any longer"

 

IMO #3 sounds a bit "wrong"

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suMMit

Jeez, i have zero interest in engrish, zero,  so i dont know why im reading or replying. but...

 

I think the problem is "now"

 

'Do you study chinese?' is FINE

 

“now” is chinglish. 现在.

 

this sentence "do you study chinese now" was most likely said by a chinese person.

 

'Do you study chinese?' implies something happening over many years.

 

Are you studying chinese? implies "currently/RIGHT NOW/or a shorter period"

 

"Do you study chinese now?" is either non native speaker question OR a flippant comment to someone who  constantly moves from one language to another
 

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NinjaTurtle
8 hours ago, 歐博思 said:

something has changed,

 

I think this is a key point, the idea that something has just begun.

 

8 hours ago, 歐博思 said:

"Do you eat tacos now?"

 

Here, we have the idea that the person has recently begun eating tacos, especially because of Taco Tuesday 'temptation'.

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