Some "non-continuous" verbs such as to be, to have, to own, to see, to hear, to need, to want... can not be used with continuous tenses (source)

He is needing help now. Not Correct

He needs help now. Correct

He is wanting a drink now. Not Correct

He wants a drink now. Correct

We use the Simple Present to express the idea that an action (that is expressed by non-continuous verbs) is happening or is not happening now. (source)

I am here now.

She is not here now.

He needs help right now.

to hurt(v) [intransitive] to feel painful My feet hurt.

I seldom hear people say "My feet is hurting."

And if "hurt" is a normal verb (can be used with continuous tense) people should say "My feet is hurting." to express a temporary action. But if "hurt" is a normal verb & if they say "My feet hurt.", then it sounds like "My feet hurt regularly.".

is the verb "hurt (v): [intransitive] to feel painful" a non-continuous verb?

I would say "to hurt(v) [intransitive] to feel painful" is a non-continuous verb but I am not sure

  • 1
    hurt as an intransitive verb is definitely mixed, and the majority of people consider that the non-continuous meaning relates to physical pain. As this NGram shows, a small number of people don't see the distinction. books.google.com/ngrams/…
    – JavaLatte
    Mar 30, 2017 at 11:25
  • 1
    @Tom, hurt is a mixed verb, as described in this answer to your earlier question: ell.stackexchange.com/questions/124078/…. Teacher KSHuang's duplicate explains clearly the difference between the normal and the non-continuous meanings of this mixed verb. What more of an answer do you need?
    – JavaLatte
    Mar 30, 2017 at 11:45
  • @JavaLatte, you misunderstood my question. The verb "hurt" has many meanings. 1 of its meaning is "to hurt(v): [intransitive] to feel painful" Ex: My feet hurt. My question is, does this particular meaning of "hurt" ("to hurt(v): [intransitive] to feel painful") have a continuous form. That is, can we say "My feet is hurting". If this particular meaning of "hurt" had non-continuous form, then "My feet is hurting" would be wrong.
    – Tom
    Mar 30, 2017 at 12:49
  • @JavaLatte, like you said in other answer, there is a possibility that "to hurt(v): [intransitive] to feel painful", like "to feel(v): to experience an emotion", has both continuous & non-continuous form. That is sometimes people use "to hurt(v): [intransitive] to feel painful" as a continuous verb & sometimes as a non-continuous verb.
    – Tom
    Mar 30, 2017 at 12:51
  • @Tom: I'm afraid it's not so simple as you might have been hoping - the continuous/non-continuous aspect doesn't resolve everything. For example, both My back aches and My back is aching are perfectly idiomatic and interchangeable in almost all contexts. But although My head is spinning is also a perfectly natural usage, there are very few contexts where anyone would say My head spins. Mar 30, 2017 at 12:57

1 Answer 1


If you go to the doctor and he wants to know why you're there, you might say:

My feet hurt.

My feet are hurting.

My feet are hurting me.

My feet have been hurting.

My feet have been hurting me.

If two kids are rough-housing, one might say:

Stop it, that hurts.

Stop it, that's hurting.

Stop it, that's hurting me.

In both examples above, the continuous suggests either that the pain is being felt even as the speaker is speaking or that the pain is recurrent. The meaning is not perfectly clear. The doctor might follow up with a question, "Are you in pain now?"

With the kids wrestling, the present continuous could refer to a headlock, say, which the speaker is in at the moment, or to some wrestling move the other kid has used more than once during their horseplay.

  • and if it says" my feet hurt "what does it mean? Does it mean the same as the continuous?or does it mean that generally my feet hurt
    – Yves Lefol
    Jun 11, 2017 at 20:59
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    It means you are "in pain", an ongoing state. We don't use hurt ordinarily to mean "a sudden pain which is over in an instant". Such fleeting pains are called a "stitch" or a "pang". With hurt we mean "suffering that lasts for some prolonged period".
    – TimR
    Jun 11, 2017 at 21:10
  • 1
    As I said, the meaning of the continuous is not perfectly clear. It can mean a couple of things. So can the simple present. So when you ask "does the continuous mean the same as the present" is suggests you are not paying attention to the answers you're getting.
    – TimR
    Jun 11, 2017 at 21:13
  • if hurt means" suffering that lasts for some prolonged period "using present continuous seems to be a bit redundant because we know there will be an end to the pain.
    – Yves Lefol
    Jun 12, 2017 at 5:56
  • 1
    @user5577: In natural language communication, it isn't a bad sort of "redundancy" for a tense to corroborate and reinforce the intended meaning.
    – TimR
    Jun 12, 2017 at 9:17

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