In language learning, I’ve found an interesting challenge: stating facts with a second person subject is entirely unnatural. In language texts books, it is common to find paradigms like this:

  • I am digging
  • You are digging
  • He/she/it is digging
  • We are digging
  • Y’all are digging
  • They are digging

But in real life, it’s not normal to say “you are digging.” Try to think of the last time you told someone what she was doing. “You are sitting.” “You are eating.” “You are walking.” It’s a weird way to converse. And so, whenever I ask someone how to say “you are _____-ing,” people try to give me a question. “Are you digging?” They don’t understand why I would want to tell someone she is digging, understandably. But, as in English, changing from a statement to a question changes the form of the words. After much investigation I’ve concluded that I don’t need to learn things that people never say.

  1. I do feel like I tell my children all the time what they are doing.

    • Joseph

      Are you telling them what to do or just informing them?

  2. MomO

    You are thinking practically.

What do you think?