Chuyển sang câu bị động: we find it difficult to understand this question

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I am finding it dificult to understand English

I find it difficul to understand English

When the power broke down, I found it difficult to feel the switch.So my daughter helped me

When the power broke down, I was finding it difficult to feel the switch.So my daughter helped me

What is the difference between these two sets of sentences if they are grammatically correct?


This question has been edited to focus more narrowly on a point of usage, and I am making massive edits to my response as a result.

The progressive tenses are standard forms of a verb in English. There is no need for a dictionary to confirm that "find" can be used in a progressive tense because that is the general rule for verbs.

Nevertheless, there are certain verbs that represent states rather than actions. "Know" is an example. You either know something or you do not although we do recognize degrees of knowledge, as in

I once knew German, but now I remember only a bit.

The progressive tenses, however, relate to processes. The static and the progressive are inconsistent ideas. So "I am knowing German" may technically be grammatical, but it is bad English because it implies a process within a state and makes no sense. (Someone will now come up with an example where the progressive of "know" does make sense, but it will not be an example of anything common.) We can say as a rule: only in very rare cases, if ever, is it good American English to use "know" in a tense with progressive aspect.

Consider the verb "understand." Again, it describes a state that admits of degree, but it does not imply a process.

I am understanding German

to mean

I understand German

is not idiomatic American English. It is easier, however, to find examples where the progressive may fit with "understand" than with "know"

It"s amazing how I am understanding German after only three days in Berlin

is idiomatic although perhaps a bit crude compared to

It"s amazing how much German I understand after only three days in Berlin.

So I am going to make up a rule

Except for some modals, it is grammatically possible to put any verb into a tense with a progressive aspect, but, at least in American English, it is seldom idiomatic to put verbs of state into the progressive because it usually implies a subtle contradiction between a state and a process.

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Now consider "find." It is an action rather than a state so the previous rule cannot apply. Nevertheless, the verb usually has a binary nature: something is either found or lost. "Find," however, can sometimes mean "seek," "search for," or "look for," which do describe processes and are not binary. When "find" is used in that sense, the progressive can certainly be used idiomatically.

I was finding my way in the dark when I stumbled over the cat and stubbed my toe.

It would not be idiomatic to convey that thought as

I found my way in the dark when I stumbled over the cat and stubbed my toe.

The "when" signals an instant within a duration of time, and action across a duration calls for the progressive.

With respect to the two pairs of examples given in the edited question, I believe all four are idiomatic.

With respect to the first pair, I find the second sentence to be better because it reports on a state. I would change my mind if "learn" were substituted for "understand" because learning is a process. Given that substitution, the two sentences become equally acceptable although the second does not imply that an attempt at learning is ongoing whereas the first seems to imply that such an attempt is ongoing. That is, both sentences are acceptable but may convey slightly different meanings.

With respect to the second pair, I definitely prefer the second sentence because the sense relates to a continuing period, rather than an instant.

In conclusion, grammar should defer to meaning. This makes language difficult because simple rules cannot capture the complexities of all possible meanings, particularly not in English with its huge vocabulary and subtle verb structure.

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