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My grammar book pointed out that when you use some verbs in the continuous tenses, it need to be something active, such as running, or eating. Verbs that do not imply an action, but instead refer to a state of affairs - for example, know, own, love, or feel -can not be used in the continuous tenses. If so, is there any verb list which I can not use in the continuous tenses? It makes me confuse and easily make mistake if I am not careful. So as native English speaking people.

marked as duplicate by Mari-Lou A, Drew, TimLymington, Mitch, tchrist Jul 18 '15 at 23:51

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I agree with F F. Your grammar book over-simplifies. I am thinking. I am thinking doughnuts. I am feeling hot. I am hearing dissent. I am considering love. I am loving the memory. I am remembering it. I am loving it (so long as the pronoun "it" has been defined by the previous text). I am having no difficulty with any of these!

  • What about something much more similar than yours: "I am hating it". Sounds a bit off, somewhat like the over progressive-izing by Indians like "I am wanting to go home now". – Mitch Jul 18 '15 at 20:32

What matters for whether you can use the progressive is whether a verb refers to a process. States are not processes, but actions are ordinarily processes. Processes needn't be actions. Processes take some time to happen. Radioactive decay of uranium is an example of a process that is not a condition and is not an action -- you can perfectly well use the progressive aspect to describe it: "The uranium is decaying rapidly."



Used in ordinary or familiar conversation; not formal or literary.
synonyms: informal, conversational, everyday, nonliterary; unofficial, idiomatic, slangy, vernacular, popular, demotic

"He was puzzled by the colloquial language of the advertisement."

If so, is there any verb list which I can not use in the continuous tenses? 

Not so much a list so much as a special usage: colloquial.

I hope that helps.


Your grammar book is correct. You would say, "I love grammar," but you wouldn't say, "I am loving grammar." Below are other examples of non-continuous or stative verbs, which don't have a progressive aspect. Many advertisements use incorrect grammar to be cute (and sell hamburgers).

feeling: hate, like, love, prefer, want, wish senses: appear, feel, hear, see, seem, smell, sound, taste communication: agree, deny, disagree, mean, promise, satisfy, surprise thinking: believe, imagine, know, mean, realize, recognize, remember, understand other states: be, belong, concern, depend, involve, matter, need, owe, own, possess

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