Present Continuous: Action and Non-action Verbs
Are you confused with action and non-action verbs? Or do you need our English expert teachers to help you with your English grammar?
Today we will give you some information regards to how action and non-action verbs are used in present continuous tense. In many of our class practices, some of our students asked us why they can’t add ‘ing’ to words like ‘want’ or ‘like’ in present continuous tense. The answer is that ‘want’ and ‘like’ are non-action verbs. They are not usually used in the present continuous , even if we mean ‘now’.
Format for present continuous: be + verb + -ing
- We use the present continuous for actions in progress at the time of speaking, e.g. things that are happening now or around now. These are normally temporary, not habitual actions.
- Remember the spelling rules, e.g. living, studying, getting.
- We also use the present continuous for future and arrangements
Action and Non-action Verbs
A What are you cooking?
B I’m making chicken rice.
A Great! I love chicken rice.
A What are you searching?
B My wallet.
A I’ll help you in a moment.
B But I need it now!
- Verbs which describe actions, e.g. cook, make, can be used in the present continuous.
- Verbs which describe states or feelings, e.g. love, need, be, are non-action verbs.
- Common non-action verbs are agree, be, believe, belong, depend, forget, hate, know, love, matter, mean, need, prefer, realise, remember, seem, suppose, recognise. They are not usually used in the present continuous, even if we mean ‘now’.
Verbs can be both action and non-action
A few verbs have both an action and a non-action meaning, e.g. have and think.
I have a dog now. = possession (non-action)
I can’t talk now. I’m having English lesson. = an action
I think this English teacher is great. = opinion (non-action)
What are you thinking about? = an action
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