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As I write, Continued to vs Continuing is "On Hold", but it seems very likely it'll be re-opened following an edit/clarification from the OP.

As originally framed, the question only really made sense if OP's second example was interpreted as a newspaper headline. Valid answers were posted addressing that possibility, but following the edit, that interpretation is no longer relevant. In my opinion, this raises two points...

1: The original question should remain closed (I consider the "grammar" of newspaper headlines to be Off Topic for ELL, but I think it does no harm to leave it answered but closed).

2: I think the revised question should be posted as a new question.

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    As a side note, this highlights one of the reasons a moderator will put a vague question immediately on hold. Sometimes people see that action, and think, "Aw, c'mon! Aren't we getting a little trigger happy here?" But "on hold" means just that – on hold. Nobody is censuring the O.P., but instead we are saying, "Let's figure out what you're asking, before the community takes this into ten different directions, with none of them addressing your actual question."
    – J.R. Mod
    Sep 14, 2013 at 15:50

3 Answers 3

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What you're saying makes perfect sense. You're correct that the OP's edit essentially changes the nature of the question. If there weren't already answers that would be okay, but there are. In this case, I would do the following:

  1. Roll back the edit. This is important. In this case the question is on hold and thus unlikely to get further answers that conflict, but that's not always the case. A question should never be edited into a form that changes the question completely enough that old answers no longer apply. Reversing this is the most important step.
  2. Leave a comment to the OP informing them of the quandary with their question (you can even link to this meta post!). Let them know that while their new question is valid, it's very different from the original, and should be asked again separately. Explicitly ask them to do so, and inform them that you've rolled back the post but that their new content can still be found in the revision history.
  3. Give them a reasonable period of time (let's say 24 hours) to respond to this notice. If they don't do so, and you think the new question is very good and would improve the quality of ELL overall, proceed to step 4. If they don't do so and you aren't in love with the question, you're all done here. There's nothing more to worry about.

  4. Do it yourself: copy the relevant information into the body of a new question. Then leave a link on the original question explaining to the OP what you've done. The new question has been asked in a logically separate place, and can receive its own answers. Everybody's happy, and if the OP returns later they can easily find the link that answers their question.

This is an ELL-tailored version of advice I've been given on SO when having similar problems, so I think it should be an acceptable course of action. I imagine that SO users don't often repost the new questions, but hey; if you think it's going to be good for ELL, why not? :)

For this specific question, I've just performed the rollback and I'm about to leave a note for the OP explaining the proper course of action. If you'd like to keep an eye on it and repost the new question later on if you feel strongly about it, I think that would work well!

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    This really is an excellent answer! I'll "favourite" it just so I can easily post a link if/when the situation arises again. Incidentally, I'm somewhat surprised to discover that I can't find any existing ELL question properly addressing the issue raised by OP's revised text (there's one on I try/am trying, but I think the specific verb "to try" may make a difference in this matter). So I definitely think the question should be re-posed - ideally by the OP, but I'll keep an eye open too. Sep 11, 2013 at 20:11
  • @FumbleFingers Thanks! I've left them a comment, so I hope they'll repost it themselves. We'll have to wait and see! :)
    – WendiKidd
    Sep 11, 2013 at 21:35
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Well, I posted a long answer to his OP (and just now noticed the closure). I disagree with bringing this particular post and edit up to a meta level incident, but only in the context of the OP and his subsequent edit. As a general use case of dealing with edits that change a questions meaning, every suggestion under that rubric has merit of course.

the question only really made sense if OP's second example was interpreted as a newspaper headline. - FumbleFingers

Well, you said in the first comment that it is an incomplete sentence. Only later, some reasonable time after my answer, was mention made of it being possibly a news headline. Taking the OP's question for what it was, one sentence and one sentence fragment, I went to some length showing the OP possible variations in hopes of clarification. ( I don't personally care about this specific matter, but it seems that you all didn't read my answer before jumping into this meta. )

And, strangely to me, the OP's edit (as shown in Wendi's rollback link) seems to improve the OP's real question ! (At least what I thought he was asking about.)

Here is how I see it: If the rollback had not been made, the OP's edit were allowed to stand, and then I answered his question, my answer would be exactly the same as it stands now (sans mentioning OP needs to clarify).

Secondly - and this is meta - I am baffled that we should "consider the "grammar" of newspaper headlines to be Off Topic for ELL." If so, I feel sorry for all the non-native speakers who might be here looking for assistance. { @FumbleFingers - a personal question: have you ever learned another language, or lived in another country for more than a few months ? ( No, I'm not flaming, just wondering :)) }

Newspapers are a learning source. And most reasonable people suspect that newspapers, TV, and radio frequently apply the language in question in questionable ways.

If I read something newspaper-ish and I am unsure, I'd rather come here and get an answer PLUS a stock caveat of "Caution: That is News-Speak." (Use a flaming dragon icon ? ) If my question was just closed with a "sorry pal, you can't ask news grammar here," I'd likely roll up my New York times and catch another bus.

How the heck is a non-native supposed to know what news worthy English and what's not?

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    First: I in no way ever want to discourage anyone from taking something that they're concerned with to "meta level." In all honesty I wish we had more activity on meta; having users who care enough about the community to stop when they see something that isn't quite right and bring it up to have a discussion to better the community is very important. It's what helps make us great :) So if anyone ever has anything they want other opinions/community consensus on, I urge them to post on meta. That's what meta is here for! So I'm glad FF raised this issue. Second: I think it was pretty clear that
    – WendiKidd
    Sep 11, 2013 at 21:32
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    the second sentence was a news headline. That was my first instinct when I saw it; news headlines read a certain way and omit certain words fairly consistently. Further, yours wasn't the only answer; the other answer was posted only shortly after yours and did point out the headline issue. Whether or not the OP meant to ask about the headline nature of the sentence is beside the point; that was what the question text presented. The edit did indeed clarify that he meant something else, but the damage was done; the question in its original form had already been answered. The SE policy in
    – WendiKidd
    Sep 11, 2013 at 21:32
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    general is that when an edit is made that changes the question enough to invalidate current answer(s), it is to be rolled back and the OP is to ask a new question. I've brought this up on MSO before and gotten similar advice; you can see that here. At any rate: if you truly feel that your answer can apply to the new question, you're more than welcome to delete it from the current question and re-post it on the new one. If neither the OP nor FumbleFingers decide to repost
    – WendiKidd
    Sep 11, 2013 at 21:32
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    the question after a little while, you can feel free to do so yourself; if the OP doesn't want to do it, it doesn't really matter who does. So you've always got that option. Re: headlines and how non-native speakers can know what's OT before asking. Simple answer: they can't sometimes. And in those cases we inform them via comment so their curiosity is taken care of, and then close. It's like when the OP asks a question based on a typo. The answer is "No, that's a typo. It should say X." And the question is closed. If the OP is still confused even once the typo is clarified, they can ask a
    – WendiKidd
    Sep 11, 2013 at 21:32
  • new question. But it would be a different question than the old one. Regarding newspaper headlines, the answer is simply that they don't consider technical grammar rules. They omit words that we're supposed to be able to infer. So we can't tell them how headlines are grammatical; they're not! But we explain this when we close. Now if the OP's question is "I have this newspaper headline. I know words are missing, but I can't figure out what they are. Can someone help?" that's completely different! Of course we can answer that. But oftentimes what the OP needs to know is simply that headlines
    – WendiKidd
    Sep 11, 2013 at 21:33
  • are not intended to be perfectly grammatical, and that they should stop trying to apply grammatical rules to them. That's a valuable piece of information, and should (I think) answer most of the concerns they have. It's worked in the past when we've had similar questions, anyway! This has been quite a long response, but I felt like you had many concerns and I wanted to respond. If any of this is a serious concern you have with the site, I urge you to make your own separate meta post; any of our policies are always up for further community discussion. Change is never ruled out :) Just ask!
    – WendiKidd
    Sep 11, 2013 at 21:33
  • @WendiKidd - I know 'thanks' comments are frowned on, but thanks for your long and considered reply. It's still odd to me how differently you all saw that second item (the fragment) as a news headline. The OP said "from the news" but didn't say "news headlines" ... I just perhaps mistakenly assumed it was excerpted content and that the OP had just left a dangling sentence ... well, this aspect is really secondary to the bigger discussion here. I agree about bringing more up to meta (and was certainly not knocking FumbleFingers. His posts are great - I've read a lot of them.) ... Sep 11, 2013 at 21:40
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    @WendiKidd ... you've pointed out good options for dealing with this. I basically don't see any contradictions here - just more work ahead :)) Sep 11, 2013 at 21:44
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    @Howard: Wow! You certainly got your money's worth out of WendiKidd! FWIW, I lived in France for about a year - but I could already read French reasonably well before that; my problem was learning how to listen/speak. I assume many users here don't have the luxury of spending all their waking hours in the company of people speaking the language they're learning, so my experience isn't really comparable. But I think Wendikidd's point re typos and headlinese is well made. Respond briefly by comment, and closevote - gets my vote! Sep 12, 2013 at 0:34
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I am the OP of that question.I was writing a sentense and then got confused between the two forms.So I searched for sentenses that used those 2 forms and posted them here. However I was told that it was not a proper question.Hence I never got the answer I was looking for.So I was compelled to change the question so that it can be answered better.But then came a new twist when I was told that I was changing the nature of the question and all the edits were reverted. Well the solution is that while editing if someone does NOT remove the previous question BUT give additional details BELOW it, using the title "edit:",not only will the previous answers be applicable but future answerers will answers the edited part directly. So both answers will be correct for their respective questions.

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  • But in this particular case the original question was completely different to the revised version (the first was interpreted as being about a missing "are" in a newspaper headline, the second as being about using simple present vs present continuous). It seems to me that second question (which is definitely On Topic for ELL) still hasn't been fully answered. I see Wendikidd left you a link to the "edit screen" containing your revision - if you don't want to copy your text into a new question, I'll do it tomorrow as Community Wiki. Sep 15, 2013 at 13:47
  • I am sorry I am not very well versed with the technical use of this site.I wanted to comment in edit revisions screen but did not know how to.I cant find the link you mentioned too.I will post a new question as you mentioned.
    – Arun
    Sep 15, 2013 at 14:18
  • Oh. Perhaps you can't follow our links to your "edit history" because in some situations the site may work differently according to each users "reputation" points. If it helps, the relevant extra text was Please tell me is there any fundamental difference between the two sentences: 1.Even today, people continue to use cheques 2.Even today, people are continuing to use cheques. Ask away! :) Sep 15, 2013 at 14:35

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