Stative (state) verbs in the continuous form

Some verbs used in the simple form can also be used in the continuous form. That's typically when they have an active meaning or emphasize change. Very often these sentences have a completely different meaning:

Verb Form Verb Example Meaning
Simple
to think I think you should see a doctor opinion
Continuous
to be thinking I'm thinking of changing my flat trying to reach a decision
Simple
to love I love going to the cinema feeling
Continuous
to be loving You look great in this hat. I'm loving it, man!
emphasis or gradual process
Simple
to smell I smell something burning sense
Continuous
to be smelling My baby was smelling a flower activity
Simple
to have He's really rich — he has 3 cars possession
Continuous
to be having When you called me, I was having a bath activity
Simple
to see I can see you have a big garden sense
Continuous to be seeing I'm seeing him later appointment
Simple to taste I could taste a lot of sugar in the wine sense
Continuous to be tasting He was tasting the cake and said it was OK activity

Keep in mind there is a group of verbs that can be used in both the continuous and simple forms with no difference. These are, for example, the verbs "to hurt" and "to feel":

  • How is Maryfeeling after the accident?
  • How does she feelafter the accident?