“As most everyone around the world is aware, Nelson Mandela is dying. This statement elicits deep feelings of melancholy, sadness and grief. Why? It’s in the language.
The immediacy of the present progressive’is dying’ connotes a very different emotional response than the remoteness of ‘is going to die’. Mandela is a great man who has earned global respect. As his family strives to maintain some degree of privacy, the final chapter of his complex life is displayed for the world to see.”