Both the simple and the continuous are out there, but if you had to pick one:

I miss you.

I am missing you.


She misses her family.

She is missing her family.

I want to say that the *stative form of this verb in the simple tense is INHERENTLY CONTINUOUS and that the continuous tense can be done without. (Should be done without for a cleaner language usage?)

Edit #2 (I meant to say stative every time I wrote *intransitive)

and I found this:



I thank you for the debate.

  • I'm not sure I understand your edit. Both usages are acceptable in English. You cannot just do away with one. But, you can feel free to use them fairly interchangeably. – David M Feb 20 '14 at 15:41
  • @DavidM Thank you for your comment. Would you give me one instance where I could not get away with the simple present alone. – SurvMach Feb 20 '14 at 15:50
  • I believe I understand your question now. And I've answered below. In short, feel free to never use the continuous again. But, it does set a tone better in some cases as I've shown below. But, both modalities would be 100% appropriate with minimal sacrifice of meaning. – David M Feb 20 '14 at 15:57
  • @FumbleFingers Oh no you don't! This guy doesn't want to know what they mean. He wants the gerund usage stricken from the language!!!!!! – David M Feb 20 '14 at 19:22

It depends on whether you want to convey a mental state or an activity.

This kind of question comes up frequently for me. I am a native English speaker, but my wife is from Germany, and I sometimes get questions like this from our German friends. (For those who do not know, German has no present progressive tense, so context and additional language must be used to convey the concept).

I don't know of a hard-and-fast rule, but I have noticed the pattern that in English, verbs denoting mental states or emotion (wants, desires, hopes, wishes...) are more often placed in the simple present, even when one might think a present progressive form would be appropriate e.g., "I love this soup." **

So although the present progressive form is perfectly acceptable, my vote would be for "I miss my family;" the implication that it is current and ongoing is already implicit in the fact that it is a mental state. (Unless of course it were part of sentence such as "I am missing my family - I just can't get a clear shot from this window." :)


** Thus I think the previous McDonalds catch phrase, "I'm loving it," is actually quite brilliant, as it turns the simple mental ascent of good taste into an enjoyable activity by the sheer act of bucking the convention.

| improve this answer | |
  • please see question edit. – SurvMach Feb 21 '14 at 1:29

I think this boils down to personal preference (and possibly regional dialect).

I would typically say:

I miss you.

She misses her family.

But, the others are 100% acceptable.

Of note, there is a sense of immediacy from using the gerund form. It makes it sound as if it's having an acute effect right now.

So, saying:

I am missing my family; that's why I'm crying.


I miss my family. Say, have you got any more of that delicious jam?

Edit: Per your request in comments. There really is not a reason you could not go the remainder of your life without using the continuous form. As I've stated, it's largely a matter of style and intent. I would point to the examples above as a usage where the continuous is more convenient, but not critical.

| improve this answer | |
  • the question has been edited – SurvMach Feb 20 '14 at 15:37
  • @SurvMach See my comment above. The edit doesn't significantly change my answer. – David M Feb 20 '14 at 15:42
  • What do you think of this analogy? If the English language were Python code the continuous would be wasteful code. This is how I see it and that's why I dislike the usage of the continuous. I wonder if you would empathize with my perspective. – SurvMach Feb 20 '14 at 15:59
  • Ahhhhhh. As the child of a computer programmer, I sympathize with you. But, dislike it or not, language is something that happens around us as well as something that we make happen for our own. Your personal preference can ONLY dictate the way that you speak and write. The works of others are, unfortunately, beyond your control. So, nod and move on. Choose the usage you prefer when you speak and live and let live. – David M Feb 20 '14 at 16:01
  • .............;) – SurvMach Feb 20 '14 at 16:04

Removing the 'sticky' 2 letter words makes a sentence more powerful and writing more persuasive/engaging. Unless you are emphasizing that her missing you is something which is occurring unexpectedly (e.g "I thought she wouldn't miss you but she is missing you a lot."), I'd encourage parsimony.

| improve this answer | |
  • the question has been edited – SurvMach Feb 20 '14 at 15:36
  • please see question edit. – SurvMach Feb 21 '14 at 1:30

While it's true that "I miss you" is just fine, saying "I'm missing you" communicates an extra detail: that it's a temporary state--NOW--that's bound to change. So we generally say "We're missing you" when we feel really down and homesick, and we're thinking about that special person who isn't with us. So I'd say, "I'm missing you" is a touch more emphatic than "I miss you".

| improve this answer | |

please paste



| improve this answer | |

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.