Non-continuous Verbs

Non-continuous verbs are verbs that we do not normally use with continuous tenses. These “stative” verbs are about state, not action, and they cannot express the continuous or progressive aspect. Here are some of the most common non-continuous verbs:

  • 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

Look at these example sentences, right and wrong:

I want a coffee. not I am wanting a coffee.
I don’t believe you are right. not I am not believing you are right.
Does this pen belong to you? not Is this pen belonging to you?
It seemed wrong. not It was seeming wrong.
I don’t hear anything. not I am not hearing anything.

Notice that we often use can + see/hear:

  • I can see someone in the distance. not I am seeing someone in the distance.
  • I can’t hear you very well. not I am not hearing you very well.

This and more wonderful grammar tips can be found on English Club


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