A: We use continuous forms for actions and happenings that have started but not finished ( they are eating / it is raining )

ome verbs(for example, know and like) are not normally used in this way. We don't say 'I am knowing' or 'they are liking';
we say 'I know', 'they like'.


When think means believe or have an opinion, we do not use the continuous:

  • I think Mary is Canadian, but I'm not sure.
  • What do you think about my plan?

When think means consider, the continuous is possible:

  • I'm thinking about what happened. I often think about it.
  • Jeehee is thinking of giving up her job.(she is considering it)
He is selfish and He is being selfish

He's being = He's behaving

  • I can't understand why he's being so selfish. He isn't usually like that. (being selfish = behaving selfishly at the moment)
  • He never thinks about other people. He is very selfish.(not He is being)

We use am/is/are being to say how somebody is behaving. It is not usually possible in other sentences:

  • It's hot today.(not It is being hot)
  • Jeehee is very tired. (not is being tired)
See hear smell taste

We normally use the present simple(not continuous) with these verbs:

  • Do you see that man over there? (not Are you seeing)
  • This room smells. Let's open a window.
    We often use can + see/hear/smell/taste:
  • I can hear a strange noise. Can you hear it?
Look feel

You can use the present simple or continuous to say how somebody looks or feels now:

  • You look well today. or You're looking well today.
  • How do you feel now? or How are you feeling now?
  • I usually feel tired in the morning. (not I'm usually feeling)


Are the underlined verbs right or wrong? Correct them where necessary.

  1. Nicky is thinking of giving up her job. __________
  2. Are you believing in God? __________
  3. I'm feeling hungry. Is there anything to eat? __________
  4. This sauce is great. It's tasting really good. __________
  5. I'm thinking this is your key. Am I right? __________

Use the words in brackets to make sentences. (You should also study Unit 3 before you do this exercise.)

  1. (you / not /seem / very happy today)
    You don't seem very happy today.
  2. (what / you / do?) ________________________________________
  3. (who / this umbrella / belong to?) ________________________________________
  4. (the dinner / smell / good) ________________________________________
  5. Excuse me. (anybody / sit / there?) ________________________________________
  6. (these gloves / not / fit / me) ________________________________________
    They're too small.

Put the verb into the correct form, present continuous or present simple.

  1. Are you hungry? _______________(you/want) something to eat?
  2. Don't put the dictionary away. I ____________________ (use) it.
  3. Don't put the dictionary away. I ____________________ (need) it.
  4. Who is that man? What ____________________ (he / want)?
  5. Who is that man? Why ____________________ (he/ look) at us?
  6. Alan says he's 80 years old, but nobody ____________________ (believe) him.
  7. She told me her name, but I ____________________ (not / remember) it now.
  8. I ____________________ (think) of selling my car. Would you be interested in buying it?
  9. I ____________________ (think) you should sell your car. You ____________________ (not / use) it very often.
  10. Air ____________________ (consist) mainly of nitrogen and oxygen.

Complete the sentences using the most suitable form of be. Sometimes you must use the simple (am/is/are) and sometimes the continuous is more suitable (am/is/are being).

  1. I can't understand why __________ so selfish. He isn't usually like that.
  2. Sarah ____________________ very nice to me at the moment. I wonder why.
  3. You'll like Debbie when you meet her. She ____________________ very nice.
  4. You're usually very patient, so why ____________________ so unreasonable about waiting ten more minutes?
  5. Why isn't Steve at work today ____________________ ill?