Joey: Auction. Saturday.
Gaynor: Bet it’ll go.
Joey: Bet it doesn’t, too.
Gaynor: Mainlanders. Some mainlander will grab it. Just like that bank building in Hong Kong last month.
Joey: Hmm. They aren’t snapping up everything.
Gaynor: They’re everywhere. They’re buying properties in Hong Kong and I hear they’re buying properties here in Singapore.
Joey: You’re using the present continuous again. You’re always doing that. Makes it look like a trend.
Gaynor: What should I say?
Joey: You should say, “Some mainlander bought the bank building last month.” Leave it at that. Simple past. One case doesn’t prove a trend.
Gaynor: But it is a trend.
Joey: Got another example?
Gaynor: Well, there’s… umm.
Joey: No trend? Only one case? Rest is hearsay? Simple past is what you use.
Joey has a point. Unattributed source + Verb-ing = unsubstantiated rumor.
But Gaynor also has a point. The unfelt earthquake far away under the sea can arrive suddenly as a tsunami.