Skip to main contentAccess keys helpA-Z index
 
You are in: Home > Grammar, Vocabulary & Pronunciation
Learn It
see / feel / like & love in progressive form
Kasia from Poland writes:
  Hello. I heard lately that the progressive forms of see, feel, like and love are sometimes possible. Is this correct?
 
 
Roger Woodham replies:
 
 
It is true that these verbs are not normally used in progressive form, but there are sometimes circumstances when some of them are. Let's take a closer look. As you will see, it all depends on the context.
 
 
see = understand (progressive forms never possible)
 
When see appears as an alternative to understand, it can be used with why/that/what/how clauses or just by itself, but never in progressive form:
 
I can see why you're angry, but it's not my fault.
 
I'm angry because somebody should have recorded the programme and nobody did. ~ I see.
 
I saw that he was angry and I thought it better not to interrupt him. I couldn't see what all the fuss was about.
 
I can see now how easily he loses his temper.
 
 
see = find out (progressive form never possible)
 
When see appears as an alternative to find out, it is normally used with an if clause:
 
He returned to the scene of the accident to see if any help was needed.
 
'I'll see if I can find you a doctor' he said on discovering so many injured.
 
 
see = meet / go out with (progressive forms often possible)
 
When seeing means dating or going out with, it is nearly always used in progressive form. For other types of meeting the progressive form may sometimes be used:
 
Are you still seeing John? ~ Oh no, I stopped seeing him months ago.
 
I've been seeing quite a lot of Kevin recently. He's nice.
 
I don't have an appointment, but is there any chance that Mr Martin could see me this afternoon? ~ Well, he's seeing the French ambassador at three o' clock but he could possibly see you after that.
 
 
feel = think (progressive forms highly unlikely)
 
When feel appears as an alternative to think, it is normally used with a that clause or an about phrase. If you use feel instead of think, the view you express probably relies more on emotion than evidence:
 
I feel that more should be done to help disadvantaged people.
 
But I felt that to go ahead with a sponsored run in such extreme heat was an unwise decision.
 
I don't know how Jennifer feels about eating cows' intestines, but that's something I would never do.
 
 
feel = touch or physical/emotional state (progressive forms often possible)
 
I was feeling under the bed to see if the cat was still there when she bit me.
 
How are you feeling today? Are you still feeling queasy? ~ No, I feel much better today, thanks.
 
 
love (very rarely progressive)
 
When we are talking about strong emotional attachment or when we care about somebody or enjoy doing something, the progressive form is never used:
 
I have never loved anybody as much as I love Michael.
 
We love each other very much and we're getting married in the New Year.
 
We've known the Morrisons for many years and we love them dearly.
 
I love tennis. It's my favourite sport.
 
However, when it is used after verbs that can take an -ing form, such as stop or start, or when we are describing a temporary present event, the progressive form is sometimes possible:
 
Do you still love Michael? No, I stopped loving him many years ago.
 
How are you enjoying your holiday? ~ We're loving every minute of it.
 
 
like (progressive forms hardly ever possible)
 
After stop as in stop liking somebody or something, the progressive form is needed, but apart from that I can't think of any contexts in which this verb is used in progressive form.
 
I stopped liking oysters after I became ill after eating them
 
I like getting up early on working days but I always like to sleep late on Sundays.
 
What I really like about him is his sense of humour. ~ Which of his plays do you like best?
 
I'd like you to do the shopping and I'll cook dinner, if you like.
 
However, you can have a liking for something. Thus, used as a noun ending in -ing, a progressive form is more noticeable:
 
He has a great liking for Latin and Greek and wants to pursue classical studies at university.
 
He took an immediate liking to Veronica. She is such a cheerful guest.
 
The soup was too spicy for my liking.
 
If these skirts are all to short, let's see if we can find something more to your liking.
 
 
   
A couple in love
 
 
LATEST LEARN ITS
 
 

Noun-verb agreement
 

Situation, position, condition
  Third conditional
  Animal idioms
  no = not a / not any
 
  Learnit Archive