In this lesson:
State verbs, Mental State verbs and Performatives
We can use the present continuous with some state verbs (e.g. attract, like, look, love, sound) to emphasize that a situation is temporary or for a period of time around the present. Compare:
- - Ella stays with us quite often. The childen _love_ having her here and
- - Ella′s with us at the moment. The children are loving having her here.
State verbs which we rarely use with the present continuous include: believe, consist of, doubt, own
Some verbs have different meanings when they are used to talk about states and when they describe actions. With their _state_ meanings, they usually take simple rather than continuous forms. With their _action_ meanings, they may take simple or continuous forms, depending on context. Compare:
- - The app doesn′t appear to work in my phone (appear: state = seem) and
- - Carley Robb is currently appearing in a musical on Broadway /She often appears in musicals. (appear: action = take part)
The next verbs are also included: cost, expect, feel, fit, have, imagine, measure, think, weigh
Mental state verbs:
With some verbs describing mental states (like find, realise, regret, think, understand) we can use the present continuous to emphasisethat we have recently strted to think about something or that we are not sure about something. Compare
- - I regret that the company will have to be sold (I′ve made the decision and I′m sorry about it) and
- - I′m regretting my decision to give her the job (I′m increseangly aware that it was a wrong decision)
When it means ′think carefully about′, consider is used with the present continuous.
- - He′s considering taking early retirement (not He considers taking early retirement)
Some other verbs describing preferences and mental states (like agree,believe, conclude, know, prefer) are rarely used with the present continuous.
- - I believe Brazil is a great country (not I′m believing Brazil is a great country)
We can use the present simple with the verbs which perform the action described by them (= performatives)
- - I suggest you park outside the city and get the bus to the centre.
- - We request that you read the terms before signing.
Also: acknowledge, admit, advise, apologise, beg, confess, congratulate, declare, deny, forbid, guarantee, name, order, permit, predict, promise, refuse, request, thank, warn.
Some verbs used as performatives with the present simple in affirmative sentences (apologise,deny, guarantee, promise, suggest) have a similar meaning with either the present simple or the present continuous in negative sentences.
- - I don′t deny / I don′t denying taking the books
Modals are often used with performatives to make what we say more tentative or polite.
- - We wouldl advise you to arrive two hours before the flight leaves.
- - I must beg you to keep this a secret.
For the next article we′ll have a section with some exercises. See you soon... and thank you for reading!!