Learn and practise the present continuous tense and the present simple tense in English.A We use continuous forms (I’m waiting, it’s raining etc.) for actions and happenings that have started but not finished.
Some verbs (for example, know and like) are not normally used in this way. We don’t say ‘I am knowing’, ‘they are liking’. We say ‘I know’, ‘they like’.
The following verbs are not normally used in the present continuous:
- I’m hungry. I want something to eat. (not I’m wanting)
- Do you understand what I mean?
- Anna doesn’t seem very happy right now.
When think means ‘believe’ or ‘have an opinion’, we do not use the continuous:
- I think Mary is Canadian, but I’m not sure. (not I’m thinking)
- What do you think of my idea? (= what is your opinion?)
When think means ‘consider’, the continuous is possible:
- I’m thinking about what happened. I often think about it.
- Nicky is thinking of giving up her job. (= she is considering it)
We normally use the present simple (not continuous) with see/hear/smell/taste:
- Do you see that man over there? (not are you seeing)
- The room smells. Let’s open a window.
- This soup doesn’t taste very good.
- You look well today. or You’re looking well today.
- How do you feel now? or How are you feeling now?
- I usually feel tired in the morning. (not I’m usually feeling)
You can say he’s being … , you’re being … etc. to say how somebody is behaving now:
- I can’t understand why he’s being so selfish. He isn’t usually like that.
- ‘The path is icy. Don’t slip.’ ‘Don’t worry. I’m being very careful.’
(being selfish = behaving selfishly now)
- He never thinks about other people. He’s very selfish.
- I don’t like to take risks. I’m a very careful person.
(= he is selfish generally, not only now)
We use am/is/are being to say how a person is behaving (= doing something they can control) now. It is not usually possible in other situations:
- Sam is ill. (not is being ill)
- Are you tired? (not are you being tired)