DON’T USE THESE VERBS IN PROGRESSIVE FORM

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ENGLISH VERBS THAT CANNOT BE USED IN THE CONTINUOUS OR PROGRESSIVE FORM

Verbs of Emotion:  love, hate, prefer, mind, like, dislike, please, surprise, astonish, impress

Verbs of Possession: have, own, want, belong, need, possess, own, owe, include, involve

Verbs used for the Senses:  see, hear, smell, seem, sound, taste, look (=seem), appear, be

Verbs of Thought: know, believe, remember, agree, disagree, recognise, think (as in to have an opinion), realise, suppose, mean, understand, concern, feel (as in to have an opinion), wish, promise, imagine, doubt, deny, satisfy, depend, matter, deserve

Verbs of Measurement:  contain, consist, fit, lack, measure (as in to have length), weigh (as in to have weight)

The list of verbs above are referred to as Stative or State Verbs.  These verbs cannot be used in any of the Progressive or Continuous Tenses in English.  These verbs typically refer to a permanent state.  So, you can say, “I like you” but not “I am liking you”.

Unfortunately for students learning English, there are always exceptions to the rule.  Some of the verbs above can be Dynamic as well as Stative.  These verbs have more than one meaning and can therefore sometimes be used in the Continuous or Progressive Forms.

Exceptions to the Rule (Verbs that can be both Dynamic and Stative)

to think and to feel

When the verbs to think and to feel are used to refer to a person’s opinion they cannot be used in the Progressive or Continuous Forms.

What do you think of Malta?

but

I’m thinking of going to Malta.

How do you feel about Tom dating your ex-girlfriend?

but

How are you feeling today?

 

to see

When the verb to see is used to mean to have a meeting or to date someone it can be used in the Progressive or Continuous Forms.

Did you hear that John is seeing Mary?  Apparently they have been dating for 2 weeks.

but

I see well.  I don’t need glasses.

 

to be

The verb to be can only be used in the Progressive or Continuous Forms when it refers to a person’s behaviour.

Kirsten is being very secretive lately.  I wonder what she is hiding.

but

Kirsten is very hot.

 to have

The verb to have cannot be used in the  Progressive or Continuous Forms when it means to possess.

I have a car.

but

We will be having a party on Friday.

 to taste

This verb can only be used in the Progressive or Continuous Forms when it is used to describe an unfinished action rather than the state of a thing.

The soup tastes delicious.

but

The chef is tasting the soup.

to look

This verb can only be used in the Progressive or Continuous Forms when it is used to describe an unfinished action rather than the state of a thing.

You look good.

but

I was looking right at it but I couldn’t see it.

 

 

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  1. […] Remember that when we use the verb SEE like this, it cannot be used in the Progressive or Continuous Tenses because it is a STATIVE VERB. […]