Here is a list of common verbs which are not often used in progressive or continuous forms. They are called state or stative verbs or non progressive verbs.
Mental and emotional stative verbs
Believe| Believe what you wish.They believe you. ( not
They are believing you.)
Dislike| He dislikes swimming. (not
He is disliking swimming.)
See (= understand)| I see what you mean. ( not
I’m seeing what you mean.)
Doubt| Why do you doubt me. ( not
Why are you doubting me.)
Love| He loves her. ( not
He is loving her.)
Suppose| I suppose he comes there. ( not
I’m supposing he comes there.)
Feel (= have an opinion)| I feel we shouldn’t do it. ( not
I ’m feeling we shouldn’t do it.)
Think (= have an opinion)| I think he is Indian. ( not
I’m thinking he is Indian.)
Hate| He hates me. ( not
He is hating me.)
Realize| He realized something was wrong. (not
he was realizing something was wrong.)
Understand| I understand you. ( not
I’m understanding you.)
Imagine| I imagine you are well. (not
I’m imaging you are well.)
Recognize| Nobody recognizes him. (not
Nobody is recognizing him.)
Want| I’m hungry. I want something to eat. ( not
I’m wanting something to eat.)
Know| Everybody knows him. ( not
Everybody is knowing him.)
Remember| I remember his face. (not
I’m remembering his face.)
Wish| Believe what you wish. (not
Believe what you are wishing.)
Use of the senses stative verbs
Feel| I feel we shouldn’t do it. ( not
I’m feeling we shouldn’t do it.)
See| Do you see that man over there? ( not
Are you seeing that man over there?)
Sound| It sounds dangerous. (not
It is sounding dangerous.)
Hear| I don’t hear anything. (not
I’m not hearing anything.)
Smell| Does the meat smell bad? (not
Is the meat smelling bad? )
Taste| This soup tastes good. ( not
This soup is tasting good.)
Note: Can is often used with see, hear, feel, taste, smell, understand and remember to give a kind of progressive meaning, especially in British English).
- I can see Emma coming down the road.
- Can you smell something burning?
Other Non progressive verbs
Agree| I agree with you. ( not
I am agreeing with you.)
Impress| I think he impressed her. (not
I think he was impressing her.)
Promise| I promise you. ( not
I’m promising you.)
Appear| Adam appears to be nervous. (not
Adam is appearing nervous.)
Look (= seem)| She looks like she is rich. ( not
She is looking like she is rich.)
Seem| It seemed wrong. (not
It was seeming wrong.)
Deny| Tom denies those allegations. (not
Tom is denying those allegations.)
Be| You are a teacher. (not
You are being a teacher.)
Belong| This car belongs to me. (Not
This car is belonging to me.)
Fit|This skirt fits well. ( not
This skirt is fitting well.)
Need| I need your help. (not
I’m needing your help.)
Consist| Our family consists of five members. ( not
our family is consisting of five members.)
Own| The farmer owns the land . (not
The farmer is owning the land.)
Contain| The box contains old magazines. ( not
The box is containing old magazines.)
Possess|They possesses three children. ( not
They are possessing three children.)
Some of the above verbs can be used in progressive with a difference in meaning (see below).
When ‘feel‘ means ‘have an opinion‘, we do not use the progressive form.
- I feel we shouldn’t do it.
- I feel sure you’re right.
You can use the progressive form to say how somebody feels now.
- I’m feeling fine.
- How are you feeling now?
When ‘think‘ means ‘believe or have an opinion‘, we do not use the progressive form.
- What do you think of Kevin? (Opinion)
- Dan thinks Kate is lying. (Believe)
When ‘think‘ means ‘consider, the progressive is possible.
- I’m thinking about our possible reaction. (Consider)
- Adam is thinking of giving up his job. (Consider)
You can not use the progressive form when ‘see‘ means ‘understand‘.
- I see what you mean.
- I see how you study.
But when ‘see‘ means ‘ meet‘ you can use the progressive form.
- I’m seeing Adam tomorrow.
- I’m seeing her this evening.
We can use ‘be‘ in the progressive form to say how somebody is behaving at the moment.
- You’re being stupid.
- I can’t understand why he is being selfish.