Reply to "I intend to or I am intending to?"

Gustavo, Contributor posted:
I think in your example it would be more logical to use the simple form to mean that the person has already made the decision to wash the dishes and it's just a question of time before he/she gets down to doing it.

I agree that the simple form is more logical here. "Intend" is one of the few verbs that I don't think I would ever use in the present progressive. I can't think of a single example in which it would make sense or sound natural to me to do so. But, Gustavo, I'm very glad you found that lovely post authored by Betty Azar, and will make a point of looking for the coverage of the present progressive with "intend" in the Azar books. I have the utmost respect for her grammatical judgments. If Betty says it can be done, then, as far as I'm concerned, it can.

For me personally, however, if I were to use the progressive in the example under discussion, I would use the present-perfect progressive: "I haven't washed the dishes yet, but I have been intending to." Of course, in that case, it would be more natural to use the verb "mean" rather than "intend": "I haven't washed the dishes yet, but I have been meaning to." But "mean" and "intend" have the same meaning there, and the one can be substituted for the other.

Interestingly, John Searle, a famous American philosopher and Berkeley professor, once wrote that ".  . . 'intend' in English does not take the present continuous tense" (source). But that is a philosophy book, and Searle is not the youngest philosopher around. I believe he recently celebrated his fifty-year anniversary at UC Berkeley. So although my intuitive grammaticality judgment coincides with his in this case, I remain open to the idea that the present continuous is possible with "intend." However, it definitely doesn't work in the example of this thread.

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