What is the difference between:

I am loving her.


I have been loving her.

Are there some errors out there in those sentences?

  • 1
    Love is a stative verb and does not usually take the continuous tense, despite the best efforts of McDonald's advertising campaigns. – Bruce Murray Jun 22 '20 at 15:48
  • out there? Are they floating in the air? :) – Lambie Jun 22 '20 at 16:00
  • @Lambie I just found that in the text friend sent me – Ratnesh Aroskar Jun 22 '20 at 16:19
  • Love can sometimes be used to mean enjoy and works with continuous expressions. Also many "stative" verbs can be used non-statively, typically something like I am thinking X or I am doubting X (examples) means I am starting to think/doubt X or I'm being influenced to think/doubt X. – LawrenceC Jun 22 '20 at 16:24

Certain verbs in English generally take the simple present. They are called stative verbs.

Some common stative verbs are:

longer list of stative verbs (verbs expressing a state of mind)

Attitudes and Emotions

love, like, hate, dislike, fear want, need, prefer, appreciate doubt, wish, care, mind, promise, deny, concern**

However, in poetry and Indian English, they are sometimes used in continuous form:

One well-known example is the song by Otis Redding:

Lyrics I've been loving you too long to stop now
You were tired and you want to be free
My love is growing stronger, as you become a habit to me
Oh I've been loving you a little too long…

Song with present continuous of the verb love


We don't normally use continuous tenses with the verb to love, we just say I love her.

Using a different verb as an example:

I am watching her play tennis. It is happening now.

I have been watching her play tennis all afternoon. The tennis and the watching started some time ago and are still going on.

  • Thanks a lot! It clarified my doubt!!! – Ratnesh Aroskar Jun 22 '20 at 16:17

Usually, "love" is a stative, rather than an action verb. So, you could say "I love her", or, if it's not true any more, "I loved her."
Recently, the usage "I am loving X", where X is usually "it", has become current. So, "I am loving her" is possible. For example, if she is a singer doing a performance you might say that.
"I have been loving her." seems fairly unlikely to me.

If your question used the verb "date", which is an action verb, instead of "love", the questions make more sense. The present continuous means ongoing action. The "have been" form may mean the same thing, or it may mean just up to the present, with the possibility that it isn't true any more.

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