Your sentence would be appropriate if the bear were settled. However, the bear referred to in the Norwegian sentence is not settled but is in the process of becoming settled or positioned (i.e., it is moving toward being positioned on the ground). "Sits down", "is sitting down", and "does sit down" can each be used to convey the same present progressive information. Each of those terms can be used in informing a listener (or reader) that the bear is in the process of settling itself but is not yet in the position of being seated/ settled. Once the bear is seated on the ground the use of "down" is superfluous (not needed) because "is sitting" evidences the fact that the bear has completed the process of positioning itself on the ground. Once the bear is settled, the best sentence would read, "The bear is sitting on the ground."
Contradictory information? In saying '"Sits down", "is sitting down", and "does sit down" can each be used to convey the same present progressive information.' you tell us that the sentence in question should be marked as correct. On the other hand you seem to assume the opposite. What are you trying to convey?
The contradiction for me seems to be that you seem to assume that Emilie659116 hasn't understood the concept, but I think she did. Her question was only about why it shouldn't be possible to use the progressive form ("is sitting down") instead of the simple present ("sits down").
So then I have the same question as Emilie659116. Why should "the bear is sitting down on the ground" imply a completed action, when "the bear sits down on the ground" (the given main translation) does not??? Both are using "sit down" in order to denote the dynamic version, and the progressive form particularly emphasizes that the action is still ongoing, at least that is my understanding as a non-native speaker of English. What am I missing?
Well, it is starting to get circular by now. To recapitulate: I don't have a comprehension problem here. I know very well about the differences between action (movement, dynamic) and position (static), which is indicated in Norwegian by choosing a dfferent verb (sette seg vs. sitte, one of which is in addition reflexive) and English only tries to mimic this in a way (because the transitive form "sit himself" is grammatically not correct) by adding the adverb "down" (to sit down vs. to sit). So there is no necessity to explain this to me. The only question here was, why it should not be possible to use the continous present here ("is sitting down" instead of "sits down"), which in my opinion should be possible, because this form even more stresses that it is an action in progress (present continuous is called progressive present as well). So please don't try to expain things to me I already know and instead answer this question directly, because (just to quote you again) you youself seem to have given a positive answer already: '"Sits down", "is sitting down", and "does sit down" can each be used to convey the same present progressive information.'
We are not talking about the sentence "The bear is sitting on the ground". (I know of the difference between reflexive and not reflexive use. See above) The sentence we are talking about is "The bear is sitting down on the ground"! And here is where you seem to contradict youself. In one comment you write '"The bear is sitting down on the ground" implies a completed action' (which I don't really believe) and further above you (in my opinion correctly) state '"Sits down", "is sitting down", and "does sit down" can each be used to convey the same present progressive information.' Sorry if I insist on that, but my intention is not to argue but to clarify things.
Maybe I got an idea what's the difference between your thoughts and mine. Can it be the case that you don't perceive "is sitting down" as present continuous? So as to (mathematically speaking) using brackets more like "The bear is (sittting (down on the ground))" (your view) instead of "The bear (is sitting down) on(to) the ground" (my view)?
In the English sentence, "The bear is sitting on the ground", the verb is intransitive, i.e., it doesn't have an object. In the Norwegian sentence, "Bjørnen setter seg på bakken," the verb is transitive, i.e., it has an object. The sentence would be translated literally as, "The bear is setting himself on the ground". That translation makes clear the fact that the bear is in the process of positioning itself on the ground. The problem with the literal translation is that a native English language speaker would never use the literal translation and few would use "setting" for the reasons I stated earlier.
I think it is futile to deal with various English sentences. It is the essence of the Norwegian sentence that is important. The essence of that sentence is clearly provided through the use of the transitive verb. Because of its use we know absolutely that the action is not complete. We know the bear is in the process of positioning itself on the ground and therefore that it is not now sitting on the ground.
To understand that the bear is currently sitting on the ground is absolutely wrong.
Had the English translation been better I doubt there would be a misunderstanding. Unfortunately the English translation is not very good and perhaps more unfortunately native speakers of English no longer use the various forms of "to set" and "to sit" as they were used historically. "To sit" is now often substituted for "to set" and is consequently used as a transitive verb.
As you very well know, language constantly changes. In this instance, I believe, a change in the usage of English words is creating a problem. The meaning of the Norwegian sentence is clear. The same claim cannot be made in respect to the English sentence.
Her sentence, ""The bear is sitting down on the ground?" implies a completed action, not an action in progress. In the Norwegian sentence, the action has not been completed. Subtle differences.
In conversations between two individuals witnessing an event such differences would almost certainly be irrelevant. We seldom concern ourselves with such things but it might help others to know there is a difference in meaning.
I think the comprehension problem you are having relates to the English language translation provided. It does not evidence the fact that a transitive verb is used in the Norwegian sentence. Because the transitive verb is vital to the meaning the English language translation is not nearly as good as it could be.
The transitive verb has an object which necessitates a translation that makes clear the action is in progress. Unless the sentence is translated as, "The bear is sitting himself on the ground," a reader who is unaware of the Norwegian sentence would not know an action is in progress. But, because we are translating a sentence we must properly translate the essence of the message. The essence includes the fact that the action has not been completed.
many languages have two different verbs for being in a certain position (static) and moving to that position (e.g. Norwegian "å sette (seg)" vs. "å sitte" or German "(sich) setzen" vs. "sitzen"; the same exists for standing or lying). In English there are often not two different verbs for that (an exception is "to lie" vs. "to lay") but the nuances are only expressed by adding further words. This is the case with "to sit" (static) and "to sit down". And this is the reason why "the bear is sitting on the ground" is a wrong translation (it is static, but the given sentence is dynamic). You can't find the word "down" in the Norwegian sentence because it simply is unnecessary, because the dynamic aspect is already expressed by the choice of the verb.
Really, I don't understand why in this case the simple present seems to be the only correct option, when the present continuous is a verbal form used precisely to emphasize the accomplishment of an action in the present moment (and therefore the fact that it is not yet finished). I'm not an English native speaker, and maybe this is why I don't understand the comparison between the two languages. I read all the comments above, but still can't figure it out :(
I think you must ignore the English translation provided by DL. It doesn't convey the essence of the Norwegian sentence. The bear is not yet sitting on the ground. It is in the process of setting itself on the ground. The fact that English speakers very often use the verb "to sit" as a transitive verb complicates matters. The Norwegian verb is transitive. Does that help?
Yes, of course! But This was already clear to me, in the Norwegian form the verb is transitive, since the verb is used to express the action of sitting (down!) while this is happening. Otherwise, the verb å sitte express the finished action. My only question here is just: why not to change the correct/wrong reporting of the answer?Also because I found the present continuous of the same verb used in the same situation in previous exercises, marked as right! But it's ok... Let the bear do what he wants. Whe are watching him... ;)
"To sit" is normally, but not always, an intransitive verb -- i.e., one that does not take an object. However, "Sit yourself down," is a common Western Canadian expression, much more common than "Set yourself down" and is an expression in which "to sit" is a transitive verb -- i.e., one that takes an object.
Almost invariably, Western Canadians, use "sit" in reference to an action taken by a person (or an animal) himself/ herself/ itself whereas they use "set" in reference to an action that an individual (or an animal) does in respect to someone or something else.
In Western Canada, the most probable translation is, "The bear is sitting itself on the ground." (A transitive use of "to sit.)
In English (as in other languages) we can have multi-word verbs, such as "to sit down", "to stand up", etc. (you could also say that "to sit down" is just a verb with an adverb). The verb "to sit" means: to exist in a seated position, or to put something in a seated position, while "to sit down" means: to transition from a standing position to a seated position. Here "down" functions as an adverb, but it can also be a preposition, such as "down on the floor". This means that a sentence like "She sits down on the floor" is ambiguous. In this sentence, is "down" an adverb, or a preposition? A comma could be used to clear things up, as in "She sits down, on the floor" vs. "She sits, down on the floor".
So, my understanding here is that Norwegian avoids this ambiguity. "Hun sitter nede på gulvet" means "She sits, down on the floor", while "Hun setter seg ned på gulvet" means "She sits (sets herself) down, on the floor". So, "nede" is a preposition, indicating a location, while "ned" is an adverb, indicating that the verb is in a downward direction.
Because in English (unlike to many other languages) not in all situations different verbs are used for the dynamic and the static case. Usually you say "he is sitting down" when the meaning is something like "he sits/sets himself down". Nearly no English speaking person I know uses a reflexive (transitive) verb here. According to our recent discussion it seems that you are one of the exceptions here.
Thanks for your reply. I can see that language interests you. I can also see that we have significantly different perspectives. Perhaps those different perspectives have resulted in our findings being quite different.
I am Norwegian. I attended university in Oslo. I have spoken English for almost my entire life. I now live in Western Canada but have lived in the USA and the UK for extended periods. My exposure to English has been really extensive.
For some reason, I almost always pay a lot of attention to the things people say or write. I guess I can't escape my education and particularly my grammar analysis related experience even though I haven't used either on an official basis for a long time (30+ years).
I have a degree in Applied Linguistics. Applied Linguists are trained to work in the following fields, among others: bilingualism and multilingualism; second language acquisition, conversational analysis; language assessment; discourse analysis; forensic linguistics and translation.
I was formerly accepted by the Supreme Court as an expert witness in both criminal and domestic cases where some aspect of language was important. I realize that language is dynamic and that we are seeing changes but the information I provide in this blog is current.
You may benefit from giving consideration to the difference between transitive and intransitive verbs. Transitive verbs can take an object but intransitive verbs cannot. It is that fact that is fundamental to answering your question. "Å sitte" is an intransitive verb and therefore cannot take the object "seg". Norwegians use many reflexive verbs. They are all transitive and therefore may take objects such as "meg", "deg" and "seg".
You cannot translate word by word. In Norwegian (and many other languages) there are two different words for the static sitting (staying in a seated position) and the movement to that position. The first one is "å sitte" and the second one the reflexive "å sette seg". The latter can in English best be described as "to sit down", which of course is a totally different construction than in Norwegian (the Norwegian is more like "it seats itself", but nobody would say so in English).
I believe when I started the course, the tips here did include both "slope" and "ground" as possible meanings. But most of the tips changed when they redid everything. As for "developers", there are various types of developers at DL. Web developers, interface developers, infrastructure developers, course developers, etc. As a user forum, I'm sure that the course developers read this, or at the very least hear feedback from moderators who do. So I, for one, think it's appropriate to add comments to an exercise indicating how a change to the tips would help you with that specific exercise.