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"I'm loving it!"....Isn't that Bad Grammar?!

I want all of my students to understand the following: All verbs are either Stative Verbs (SV) or Action Verbs (AV).

A Stative Verb (SV) is generally...


  • something that you can't see when someone is doing it.

Some very commonly used SVs are: Be Verb (BV): am/is/are/was/were; believe; love; hate; want; need; know; forget.

An Action Verb (AV) is generally...


  • something that you can see when someone is doing it.

Some very commonly used AVs are: eat, run, walk, talk, make, cook, jump, do, fix.

The main reason you need to understand this is:

  • Stative Verbs (SVs) can't be used with Continuous Tenses.

  • Action Verbs (AVs) can be used with Continuous and Simple Tenses; they may be used in all twelve English Verb Tenses.

This means that you CAN'T say or write:

We are smelling smoke in our house. We are believing there's a fire!

(This is an example of Present Continuous, but it's incorrect).

You HAVE TO say or write:

We smell smoke in our house. We believe that there's a fire!

(This is an example of Present Simple. This is the correct way to use these verbs.)


Smell and believe are both Stative Verbs (SVs), which means that they can't be used in any Continuous Tenses. They must only be used in Simple Tenses.

However, I'm sure that at least a couple of people read that rule and thought: "But Susan, I always hear people say, 'I'm loving it'...isn't that bad grammar?"

The answer is: Yes, technically, you can't ever say, "I'm loving it!"

If you write this on a grammar test or TOEFL test, your teacher will most likely mark it wrong because it's technically a mistake.

The truth is...

In real life, in English-language areas, people have started using SVs with Continuous Tenses.

That means you can hear Native Speakers say, "I'm loving it!" and "I'm hating this!" all the time. They're actually using bad grammar!

I blame the fast food restaurant which made the motto "I'm lovin' it" very popular several years ago; before that, no one really used this phrase very much. Nowadays, it's quite common to hear Native Speakers breaking this grammar rule.

  • Sometimes, people say, "I'm hearing you"...even though we should say, "I hear you."

  • Sometimes, people say, "I'm hating this!"...even though they should say, "I hate this!"

The thing is...language is always evolving (V = naturally changing), especially a language like English, which has so many speakers in so many countries around the world.

Right now, the grammar rule says that you must not say, "I'm loving it!"...but most people, especially young people, are already making this phrase common and more acceptable.

My advice is: Don't write "I'm loving this" or "I'm hating that"...but you can certainly use these phrases in casual conversation, especially with Native Speakers!


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