Is I always hate that grammatically correct? Is it a common phrase? For example,

You're always taking pictures of everything. I always hate that.

3 Answers 3


Yes, it means "that always annoys me". It's common enough.

Verbs like "like", "hate", "prefer" are usually what are termed stative verbs: they are usde to express a "general, ongoing truth" rather than something that is true at a particular, clearly-defined time. Some verbs can have stative and non-stative uses:

He speaks French. (Stative)

He speaks at the French Assembly tomorrow. (Non-stative)

Verbs like "hate" are more readily stative. So in the following case, the first sentence seems a bit more usual than the second (to understand the simple present tense forms, we're using them as a "historic present" to describe actions that actually happened in the past in this case):

At four o'clock, he decides to leave the office.

?At four o'clock, he hates what he is doing and decides to leave the office.

On the other hand, such uses aren't absolutely impossible. Many essentially stative verbs like "hate", as in the last example, can be "just about" forced into a non-stative interpretation in the right context. And this is what we witness in "I always hate it when...". Other examples:

How are you liking your new job this time?

Why are you so sarcastic with him every time he expreses his opinion?

He saw the bloody knife in the drawer. At that very moment he knew what had happened.

  • Would you say "that always annoys me" is somehow better than "I always hate that?" Commented Mar 19, 2011 at 4:40
  • 2
    Yes, because most people think of hate as something continuous, not something you can do repeatedly. Commented Mar 19, 2011 at 5:44
  • Yes, the most common use is for it to be "continuous" as you say (probably "stative" would be a more accurate term). On the other hand, it's not unusual for basically stative verbs to have occasional non-stative uses. Indeed, "be" is basically stative, but you can say things like "Are you being ironic?". Or from "like"> "How are you liking your new job"?, "I always like to think that..." etc. Commented Mar 19, 2011 at 14:57
  • @AlexanderRafferty Really? So you'd also find "I hate you right now" wrong?
    – slim
    Commented Jan 25, 2012 at 16:24

I can see how "always" and "hate" may be partially redundant. "Hate" in the present tense can have a perpetual or longer than fleeting connotation to it (a person's hates or loves generally do not change overnight), so to an extent adding "always" to the statement could be redundant.

In contrast, if it were worded "I have always hated that.", then the use of "always" with "have hated" has no redundancy to it, in my mind, because "have hated" would imply a terminus if without "always".

Is the original statement grammatically correct? Yes. Is it common? Yes, I believe so. Is it logical or consistent in construction? Not perfectly (unless you view it simply as an expression).

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    If you just say "I hate that" your hate is continuous for the time being, but doesn't necessarily mean you hated it at some earlier point in time. It is a bit redundant, but there's also reason to keep it that way instead of reducing the phrase.
    – migo
    Commented Mar 19, 2011 at 6:18
  • Interestingly I have never used that expression. I would use I have always hated that or I hate when you do that instinctively...
    – mplungjan
    Commented Mar 19, 2011 at 7:09
  • When you say "I have always hated that" does that imply that you don't hate it anymore? Is it any different from "I always hated that?" Commented Mar 19, 2011 at 8:36
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    @language hacker: Yes, they are different; "I always hated that" implies that you don't hate it any more (or that it doesn't happen any more), whereas "I have always hated that" implies that you still do (and it still does :).
    – psmears
    Commented Mar 19, 2011 at 12:57

Apparently an edit brought this back to the top of the stack from 10 months ago, but as long as it's here, a passing thought ...

The question brings up some fairly subtle nuances.

If you said, "You're taking pictures. I hate that", without either "always", there could be an ambiguity: Do you hate that this person takes pictures in general, or do you only hate it today, perhaps because of some special circumstances? But, "You're taking pictures. I always hate that," makes clear that you have a general objection to his picture taking.

It is, of course, possible for someone to hate something at one time and not at another. It would be quite reasonable for someone to say, "I use to hate jogging, but I've come to like it." Or, "I hate living in this town in the winter", implying that you are satisfied with it at other times of year.

Alternatively, "always" could be used with "hate" for emphasis rather than in a strictly literal sense. "You split an infinitive! I ALWAYS hate that!" In such a case it's not really a matter of sometimes you do hate it and sometimes you don't, but rather that you just want to add some weight to your words.

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