Could someone please tell me what is the difference between the two sentences below?

1 - I am not really liking it very much over there.

2 - I don't really like it very much over there.

  • 1
    Also I would note that present progressive forms are grammatical in Indian English in many cases where they wouldn't be in US or UK English
    – jimsug
    Jul 10, 2014 at 4:37

4 Answers 4


For a learner of English as a second language, mastering all the subtleties of the present continuous or progressive tense is probably the hardest to achieve but among the the most communicative aspects of English.

This particular case I find too overwhelming to try to de-construct, but will an example do? If my daughter returned home from her new boarding-school and said,

"I don't really like it very much over there."

I'd ask her what was wrong, perhaps encourage her to give it more time. Whereas if she said,

"I am not really liking it very much over there,"

Then I might ask if she'd rather come home for good. If I give you a clue as to why, it's partly only subjective:

Grammatically, you use a "..ing" word for things you do actively, like

"I am watching TV" or "I am listening to music".

Whereas verbs for things you cannot help doing do not tend to end in "..ing"

"I see the sky" or "I hear music." "I like it here"

Now, when you deliberately add an "..ing" to something you cannot help, well..personally, in my daughter's case, it would give me the impression she'd been *trying to like it" in her new school, but hadn't succeeded - yet was still trying.



I don't really like it very much over there.

The first sentence is relativity direct. Even more direct would be "I don't like it over there." So it's qualified with "really very much", but still direct compared to the other sentence. The other sentence, to me, is more interesting. It does mean something different. I don't know how to express how it's different other than the ways I might use the sentence.

Sentence 2 Way #1

The man walked over to Raymond, who was on the cold sterile floor, shaking and drooling from the Haloperidol injection. He crouched down, and put his hand on Raymond's shoulder, "What's wrong buddy?" The dank smell of old urine permeated the room.

"I...I... I'm not really liking it very much over there..." Raymond said, voice quivering, his shaky finger pointing toward the cage in the opposite corner. "I... I don't wan't to go back. Do I have to go back?" Raymond's watery eyes slowly raised up to meet the cool blue eyes of the man crouching before him. Raymond's eyes widened. They were bloodshot. "Do I have to go back now?"

"That's up to you, buddy." The man pulled out a long black case from his left inner jacket pocket. He opened it while carefully and professionally placing it on the ground. He removed a syringe and needle from the protective blue foam compartment.

Sentence 2 Way #2

"What do you think?" Gloria asked with a tentative smile.

"It gorgeous," Michael said. Michael often said gorgeous. Hi gorgeous. You look gorgeous in that dress. I just met the most gorgeous man in the world. But he always said it like he had never said it before. "But you know..."

"Mmm hmmm..." Gloria was expecting it.

"You know... the chaise," he was referring to Gloria's 1956 Guangdong chaise lounge. It was one of a kind, with black tufted fabric and birch wood, ornately carved with a gold and silver leaf finish, and it made a spectacular show piece for the foyer. But he called it the chaise. "You know, the chaise, I'm not really liking it very much over there. Would you indulge me on this?" He was like a kid in a candy shop, and Gloria knew it. But he was good, too, and Gloria knew that as well.

"Of course," Gloria replied lyrically.


Your sentence uses verb to like in the progressive form (not gerund). I wouldn't use it that way. Certain verbs are rarely, if ever, used in the progressive (or continuous) form: to love, to want, to hate, etc. However, you can always say:

. "I'm not really enjoying it very much."

And that would be good English.

  • 1
    Why do you say that? Example: "I'm lovin' it," McDonald's Corporation advertising campaign. Example: What does the audience think of the play? / They are hating it. Example: What do the fish think of the new fish food? / They don't seem to be liking it very much.
    – Dangph
    Jul 9, 2014 at 23:41

The verb "like" is a stative, or non-action, verb. Doc made the distinction between stative and action verbs when s/he said non-action verbs describe 'states' that we cannot help doing as opposed to 'actions'.

In correct English, stative verbs cannot be expressed in the continuous, it's as simple as that. Please don't go to advertising slogans like McDonalds' "I'm liking it" as examples of good English.

However, language changes, grows and shrinks over time. As a result, grammar rules are broken and bent along the way until errors are no longer seen as such. See, for example, the OED's acceptance of the spelling "focussed" as an alternative to "focused".

So although currently viewed as incorrect and not taught, as far as I know, by any decent English teachers on the planet at the moment, I have no doubt the use of present continuous in at least some stative verbs will eventually become acceptable.

But can you really imagine gazing into your partner's eyes over dinner and saying "I'm loving you and am so happy you're not belonging to anyone else?"


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