It is extremely important to understand that NOT all English verbs are the same. English verbs are divided into three groups: Normal Verbs, Non-Continuous Verbs, and Mixed Verbs.
- Most verbs are "Normal Verbs" .
These verbs are usually physical actions which you can see somebody doing. These verbs can be used in all tenses.
- The second group, called "Non-Continuous Verbs" or "Non-Progressive Verbs" is smaller.
These verbs are usually things you cannot see somebody doing. They are non-action verbs. These verbs are rarely used in continuous tenses.
- The third group, called "Mixed Verbs" is the smallest group.
These verbs have more than one meaning. In a way, each meaning is a unique verb. Some meanings behave like "Non-Continuous Verbs," while other meanings behave like "Normal Verbs."
Now let's concentrate on the Non-Progressive or Non-Continuous verbs:
|SEE *||ASTONISH||DOUBT *||OWE||CONSIST OF|
|SMELL *||CARE *||FEEL*||OWN||CONTAIN|
* These verbs (with an * in the table) have other meanings, and in these cases you can use the present continuous if you are referring to something that is happening now.
HAVE for example can also mean:
take (a shower), eat, drink, experience (problems).
Brian is having problems with his weight, look at him, he is having another chocolate muffin with his tea.
THINK can also mean:
have ideas in one's mind, plan.
John: A penny for your thoughts, Anna.
Anna: I am thinking about my family. I often think about them when I am alone. I am thinking of visiting them soon.