Sunteți pe pagina 1din 3

Non-Action Verbs

Some verbs cannot be used in the progressive tenses. They are called non-action verbs. Nonaction verbs indicate state, sense, desire, possession, or opinion. The most common non-action verbs are: be* look* like have* think* seem sound* want own believe appear* smell* prefer possess consider* taste* love* feel* (existence) (senses) (desire) (possession) (opinion)

Note the usage in the following sentences: Mr. Tactful is seeming like a nice guy. Mr. Tactful seems like a nice guy. This salad is tasting delicious. This salad tastes delicious. I am liking banana cream pie. I like banana cream pie. (Wrong!) (Correct) (Wrong!) (Correct) (Wrong!) (Correct)

Some verbs have both action and non-action meanings. They are indicated by an asterisk* in the table above. The situation determines whether the action or non-action form of the verb is used. Those flowers look beautiful. Flora is looking out the window. I think that's a great idea. I am thinking about my upcoming speech. We have a brand new car. We are having a party this weekend. Craig is a real estate agent. (Non-action) (Action) (Non-action) (Action) (Non-action) (Action) (Non-action)

*Most non-action verbs are not used in the continuous tenses. I like it. Not: I am liking it. Some verbs such as "have" carry multiple meanings, some of which can be used in the continuous tenses. We're having a party this weekend. We're having a new bicycle. I'm thinking of you right now. I am thinking you are beautiful. (Okay) (Not okay) (continuous: okay) (continuous: not okay)

Verbs of Perception Set 1 (action) listen to look at touch smell taste Set 2 (non-action) hear see* feel* smell taste Set 3 (non-action) sound look feel smell taste

Set 1 verbs indicate that the perceiver is ?focusing? on a specific object. They can be used in the progressive. He is listening to the radio. They are looking at the picture. She is smelling the flowers. Set 2 verbs indicate general perception and are non-progressive. He hears a noise. (Not: He is hearing?) They see flames. She smells smoke. (Not: They are seeing...)

Set 3 verbs indicate appearance. (It ?seems??) They are non-progressive. That sounds like thunder. (describes the object, not the perceiver) This looks terrible. It smells fishy. *When feel is used to describe emotions, the progressive is sometimes used. I am feeling great today. I feel great today. (physical feeling is usually nonI feel cold today. progressive) *See can sometimes be used in expressions in the progressive. She is seeing the doctor.

He is seeing another woman. Special Usage of Certain Verbs of Perception Some verbs of perception see, look at, hear, listen to, and feel, along with watch and sense can be used with objects followed by other verbs (base form or gerunds, but not infinitives). Note the examples below: We heard you leave. (Okay. Emphasis on our hearing.) We heard you leaving. (Okay. Emphasis on your leaving.) We heard you to leave. (Incorrect!) Other examples: I saw her go. Look at that man run! Sylvester listened to the canary sing. We watched them play basketball. We watched them playing basketball. Trudy can feel the wind blowing against her skin. Mr. Todd sensed the lion approaching.