Verbs that are not normally used in the continuous form

The verbs in the list below are normally used in the simple form, because they refer to states, rather than actions or processes:

List of common verbs normally used in simple form:

Senses / Perception
feel*, hear, see*, smell, taste

assume, believe, consider, doubt, feel (= think), find (= consider), suppose, think*

Mental states
forget, imagine, know, mean, notice, recognise, remember, understand

Emotions / desires
envy, fear, dislike, hate, hope, like, love, mind, prefer, regret, want, wish

contain, cost, hold, measure, weigh

look (=resemble), seem, be (in most cases), have (when it means to possess)*

1. 'Perception' verbs (see, hear, feel, taste, smell) are often used with 'can': e.g. I can see...
2. * These verbs may be used in the continuous form but with a different meaning, compare:
a. This coat feels nice and warm. (= your perception of the coat's qualities)
b. John's feeling much better now (= his health is improving)
a. She has three dogs and a cat. (=possession)
b. She's having supper. (= She's eating)
a. I can see Anthony in the garden (= perception)
b. I'm seeing Anthony later (= We are planning to meet)

  • I wish I was in Greece now.
  • She wants to see him now.
  • I don't understand why he is shouting.
  • I feel we are making a mistake.
  • This glass holds half a litre.

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