There are verbs that generally don't take the progressive suffix "-ing", like hate and not hating: "I hate that," not "I am hating that."

This also applies to other verbs like want, need, like, etc. Standard English does not have "I am wanting a sandwich" when describing a simple indication of need.

Could you please tell me if there are other verbs that don't take "ing"? Perhaps there's a special term. If there are exceptions, mention those for me.

  • 3
    What's wrong with the words hating, wanting, needing, liking, etc?
    – Lawrence
    Apr 29, 2018 at 11:46
  • 2
    @Lawrence They are not generally used in sentences such as "I am really hating that; I am wanting a sandwich; I am needing a hug..." which is what I believe the question is about.
    – Andrew Leach
    Apr 29, 2018 at 11:58
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    I can't offhand think of a verb that cannot accept "-ing". Certainly there are some where the use is less idiomatic such that it sounds "illiterate", but these are still legitimate from a grammar standpoint.
    – Hot Licks
    Apr 29, 2018 at 12:10
  • 4
    @AndrewLeach Thanks. But that doesn't make the -ing words themselves invalid, given a slightly different sentence. For example, "He'll be wanting to make some changes" is a common construction in AuE. Here's a BrE example: He'll be wanting to talk to her. It's not the -ing verbs themselves that are problematic, it seems.
    – Lawrence
    Apr 29, 2018 at 12:16
  • @AndrewLeach Interestingly, if we change am to find myself in your examples above, the phrases might pass without comment.
    – Lawrence
    Apr 29, 2018 at 12:26

1 Answer 1


The term is stative verb: these are verbs talking about states or situations, and are connected with thinking and opinions, feeling and emotions, things are not actually actions.

The British Council has a good explanation on their Learn English website:

Some verbs are not usually used in the continuous form, even when we are talking about temporary situations or states. These are called stative verbs.

  1. Stative verbs are often verbs connected with thinking and opinions.

    She doesn’t know what to do
    *She isn’t knowing what to do

  2. Other stative verbs are connected with feelings and emotions

    I like this song. Who sings it?
    *I’m liking this song

[Aside: note that Who sings it? is probably wrong here, and Who is singing it? would be more usual, because sing is an action.]

  1. ‘see’, ‘hear’, ‘taste’, ‘smell’, ‘feel’ are verbs that describe senses.

    These verbs aren’t usually used in continuous forms. They are often used with ‘can’.

    It smells of smoke in here.
    *It’s smelling of smoke in here.

  2. Stative verbs describe things that are not actions.

    He smells of fish.
    He’s smelling the fish.

The second sentence is an action – not a state. The man wants to know if the fish is OK to eat.

  • @Mari-LouA Yes, that's why I used "probably". I think the progressive aspect is far more likely, and the simple present tense is restricted to the usage you mention.
    – Andrew Leach
    Apr 29, 2018 at 11:19
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    I am not in disagreement with anything you say, but I'm not sure it answers the question - since I don't understand the question.
    – WS2
    Apr 29, 2018 at 11:32
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    "Stative verb" is the term for what? What does it have to do with "-ing"?
    – Hot Licks
    Apr 29, 2018 at 12:16
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    @AndrewLeach - But how are your starred examples wrong? They're simply less idiomatic usages.
    – Hot Licks
    Apr 29, 2018 at 12:30
  • 1
    If you don't like an answer, write your own! Also: bear in mind that this is a quote. The quoted passage indicated that the construction is wrong.
    – Andrew Leach
    Apr 29, 2018 at 12:38

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