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Verbs not Used with Continuous Tenses

There are some verbs that we do not normally use with continuous tenses. We usually use the following verbs with simple tenses only (not continuous tenses):

  • hate, like, love, need, prefer, want, wish
  • believe, imagine, know, mean, realize, recognize, remember, suppose, understand
  • belong, concern, consist, contain, depend, involve, matter, need, owe, own, possess
  • appear, resemble, seem,
  • hear, see

Here are some examples:

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.)

Verbs with Two Meanings »

With verbs that we don't use in the continuous tense, there is no real action or activity. Compare "to hear" and "to listen". "To hear" means "to receive sound in your ears". There is no real action or activity by you. We use "to hear" with simple tenses only. But "to listen" means "to try to hear". You make an effort to hear. There is a kind of action or activity. We can use "to listen" with simple or continuous tenses.

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