Mistake 23: Simple or continuous form? Action vs non-action verbs

Verbs which describe actions (run, walk, cook, make, read, look for…) can be used in the continuous or simple form.

Example: I always wait for him // I’ve been waiting for you for an hour.

Verbs which describe feelings or states, not actions (like, love, hate, prefer, agree, be, belive, belong, depend, forget, hear, smell, taste, know, matter, mean, need, realize, recognize, remember, seem, suppose…) are not usually used in the continuous form even if you mean ‘now’.

Example: I love pasta// She agrees with you.

Some verbs change their meaning when used in the simple or continuous form. They can be action or non-action verbs.

Example: I have a car (possession- non action verb)- I’m having a shower (it’s not possession, it’s action)

Example: The soup smells delicious (sense of smell- non action verb)- I’m smelling the flower (I’m sniffing- action)

Example: This jacket feels like silk (sense of feeling- non action verb)-  I’m feeling the radiator (I’m touching- action)

However, when you want to emphasize an action, the continuous form can be used. Although it is not academically correct, it is used in the oral form. The most typical example can be found in the so common slogan: ‘I’m lovin’ it’


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