According to Oxford Dictionary

feel (linking verb): to experience a particular feeling or emotion

feel + adj: feel well/sick/happy/sad, etc.

I am feeling lonely today. (so, we can use continuous tense with feel with this meaning)

But if we say "I feel lonely.", we say that happens regularly.

See this conversation

A: You are always happy but why are you sad today?

B: Because I feel lonely.

Does B response properly?

I would say B is using tenses incorrectly.

I would say the best response should be "Because I'm feeling lonely" because I don't feel lonely other days except today.

Am I right?

  • I would say, it depends on what B wants to express. While A may only be asking about today, perhaps B just usually hides it and has not hidden it as well as B usually does today. As JavaLatte says, both are correct. Commented Mar 30, 2017 at 11:29

1 Answer 1


We can use present simple to talk about

  • something that is true right now
  • something that happens regularly
  • something that is always true (a permanent state)
  • something that will happen in the future.

We use present continuous to talk about a situation that occurs continuously for some time before and after now.

The first meaning of present simple is usually only used with non-continuous verbs: ones where you don't use present continuous to describe the current situation. These tend to be verbs where can't see the person doing anything, for example want, like and fear. A small number of verbs are mixed: one meaning may be normal and the other non-continuous. An example is think, which is used in present continuous to describe the process or thinking and in present simple to express an opinion.

I am thinking about quitting my job - process: present continuous
I think that we are nearly finished - opinion: simple present

Feel is very unusual in that

...there is no real difference in meaning between "I don't feel well today" and "I am not feeling well today. www.englishpage.com

You have made it clear that the loneliness is not a permanent state but a temporary thing, nonetheless feeling lonely isn't instantaneous, so it is quite OK to use present continuous to describe your present emotion. It is also reasonable to use present simple to describe your emotion at this exact moment, even though it is neither an instantaneous emotion nor a permanent state.

The response is therefore perfectly OK, and your alternative is also OK.

  • They said "something that is true in the present" not "something that is true right now". I would say they mean "for a situation that we think is more or less permanent." but not "for a temporary situation" see this page perfect-english-grammar.com/present-simple-use.html
    – Tom
    Commented Mar 30, 2017 at 7:54
  • perfect-english-grammar.com/present-continuous-use.html, the page said "I work in a school." (I think this is a permanent situation.) but "I'm working in a school." (I think this is a temporary situation.)
    – Tom
    Commented Mar 30, 2017 at 7:57
  • @Tom: Item 3 in the list covers the permanent situations: item 1 is about the situation right now. "I am tired" and "I am 18 years old" are true now: neither are permanent situations. And you would never say "I am being tired" or "I am being 18 years old".
    – JavaLatte
    Commented Mar 30, 2017 at 8:14
  • Ok, Java Latte, simple present tense can be used to show something that is happening right now but for "non-continuous verbs" (to be, to own, to have) only (englishpage.com/verbpage/simplepresent.html). So, "I am tired" = I am feeling tired
    – Tom
    Commented Mar 30, 2017 at 8:23
  • @Tom: I have updated my answer
    – JavaLatte
    Commented Mar 30, 2017 at 11:13

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