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Why is 中 used in:

送信中...

to mean that something is happening in the present moment. I see examples like this a lot.

Why 中 and not "-te iru"?

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For kanji compounds like 送信【そうしん】 or 工事【こうじ】 or 販売【はんばい】, you can't just add ている onto the end, since the base term is a noun.

This is vaguely like in English: you can't say transmissioning, or constructioning, or saleing, but you can say in transmission, or under construction, or on sale. So instead of adding the -ing, you add the in or on or under (as appropriate for English usage).

In Japanese, you add the 中【ちゅう】, literally meaning "in the middle of [whatever word just came before]".

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    +1 But I wonder if the OP meant, why not 送信している? – user3856370 Apr 1 '18 at 7:01
  • In Japanese, you add the 中ちゅう, literally meaning "in the middle of [whatever word just came before]". ---> Is this true only for nouns? – Mareka Apr 1 '18 at 7:35
  • @user3856370, good point, that's possibly what they meant. If so, that's addressed by the link Leebo included in the comment on the initial question. – Eiríkr Útlendi Apr 1 '18 at 19:48
  • @Mareka, you cannot add 中【ちゅう】 to verbs, if that's what you're asking. You can add 中【なか】 after a verb to indicate something like the English "while [VERB]-ing" or "in the process of [VERB]-ing". For example, see Google hits for 仕事【しごと】する中【なか】で and 仕事【しごと】している中【なか】で. – Eiríkr Útlendi Apr 1 '18 at 19:54
  • @Mareka, there is also 中【じゅう】 that can attach to nouns with a meaning more like "throughout", as in 一日中【いちにちじゅう】 "throughout the day" or 体中【からだじゅう】 "throughout the body". – Eiríkr Útlendi Apr 1 '18 at 19:56

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