I am strongly opposing an approach, when person learning language should rote learn anything. Trying to understand sense and structure of a language seems more appropriate.

I am trying to explain non-continuous verbs, but it appeared very hard to do on practice. E.g.:

You can't say "wanting", because you either "want" or "don't want".
You can't have started "wanting" five minutes ago and
    expect to finish "wanting" in five minutes.
Same explanation applies to other non-continuous verbs.

Still it's not very clear for beginners. How to explain subject in a clearer way?

  • Want is stative.
    – user230
    Oct 9, 2014 at 12:11
  • 1
    With "oppose" (and "suppose") we normally do not use the continuous (rather, I strongly oppose...) unless you really want to emphasize the fact that you are now engaged in vigorous opposition to something. I am opposing the new highway that will cut through the center of the historic district. If you're against something in principle, just say "I oppose...". Oct 9, 2014 at 12:27

1 Answer 1


Firstly, the verb "want" is not an action. Hence, no action such as "wanting" can be performed.

for eg: run and walk are actions, but the verbs like want, like, be, know are more of a feeling.

You like someone, you want something and you know some fact. for starters read the following ungrammatical sentence : "I am knowing the fact."

For beginners: You either know the fact or you don't. You cant have a state where you are in the process of knowing the fact. These verbs are more like a feeling. And a feeling is continuous in present or past but never continuous (from past to present).

  • 2
    But then how do you explain the fact that "I am thinking of a number" and "I am hoping for rain" are correct? Oct 9, 2014 at 22:13
  • @Scott Exactly my point! It's moreless clear with to think - you can start thinking about sth. and stop thinking about sth. But with hoping... kinda unclear. Oct 10, 2014 at 7:32

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