Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"
all ears english grammar lesson

Are you loving 2020 so far?

Have you heard people use a word like “loving” in this way in English grammar?

This is a great example of a stative verb, and it can be confusing if you aren’t sure of how it works.

We’re going to look at this aspect of conversation, some common uses, and how you can use them to show enthusiasm in natural English conversations with native speakers.

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We have a question from a listener about this topic and how to say things in the right way.

Hi ladies,

I love your show! I am wondering if you can help me to understand more about stative verbs. I hear certain phrases around such as “I’m loving it” and I’m pretty sure that is wrong.

Can you please help me to understand?

Thank you very much,

Gspindola (From Instagram)

Breaking This Down

This is such a huge topic, and it’s an important question that you may have had.

So let’s start by looking at what is a stative verb?

This is not an action like other types of verbs.

This is actually more how something is or how it feels–it’s like a state of mind!

For example when you say love in certain ways, it’s not an action the same way that run is.

There is some overlap when a stative verb has two meanings–then it may be both stative and action.

The thing is generally the idea is that because stative verbs are states and not actions, they can’t be used with an “-ing” ending.

If you look at something like “I’m running” which is dynamic, that’s very different than “I’m loving.”

Consider if any of these sound normal to you as a basis, as sometimes seeing something in print can help to demonstrate what works and what doesn’t.

What NOT to say:

  • “I’m loving sushi!” This sounds funny if you are just talking about your feeling for sushi, but we’ll focus more on this one a bit more later.
  • “I’m having one brother.” This is very odd, as it’s not continuous and it just doesn’t make sense or flow.
  • “I’m owning two sweaters.” You wouldn’t say this even though sweaters is plural. It just doesn’t make sense or fit here.

However the rules seem to have started changing a little bit over time.

The rules were broken and now you will often see some stative verbs are being used with “-ing” in conversation.

Looking At Common Ones

There are some common stative verbs, and they are worth looking at.

There is definitely enough material to warrant doing another episode, but you can come away from this one having a good general understanding.

The main point to take away is that sometimes stative verbs can be used with “-ing.”

Here are a couple of common stative verbs that you have probably seen or heard, and they can be a great starting point.

  • Love: You’ve probably heard the McDonald’s phrase “I’m loving it!” People use love as a stative verb more than you might think. It may sound extreme, but it’s more enthusiastic and more current. YOu might say “Wow Lindsay, I’m loving your new haircut!” It takes the word “love” and moves it to a whole new enthusiastic and very current way of saying something.
  • Like: It’s along the same lines as love, but perhaps not quite as strong. It still conveys that you enjoy or appreciate something, but perhaps not as enthusiastically. You could say “I’m liking these jeans way more than I thought I would. Maybe I’ll get them!”
  • Hate: This is of course the opposite end of the spectrum, but it can still be show an impact. You feel strongly about your dislike about the subject matter, and so you are using this version of it to convey that. You could say “I’m hating the subway right now. It is so full and always late.”

Have you used any of these in conversation in English?

How do you think they sound?

These aren’t really something that you would put into writing, but they work well for informal conversations.

These are current and show enthusiasm, and so they can help with making a connection.

Roleplay To Help

As with anything, a roleplay can help and you will find this to be very useful here.

In this roleplay, Lindsay and Michelle are talking about their birthday plans for a joint party.

Lindsay: “Should we have it at that new Italian place down the street?” 

Michelle: “No, I hate that place. It’s too fancy shmancy.”

Lindsay: “Okay. What about the sushi place? Look at the menu.”

Michelle: “Oooo I’m loving this design. This place looks nice!”

Lindsay: “You’re liking what you see? Good!”

Michelle: “Yeah I do like it. Oh no, but I’m hating the prices. Yikes!”

Lindsay: “I know, sorry. It’s not that bad right? I really love this place. Think about it?”

Michelle: “Yeah you’re right. Let’s do it.”


Sometimes the way people speak changes.

Perhaps McDonald’s is responsible for the change with the famous phrase “I’m loving it!”

This is a great way to connect with people, and we only touched on this important aspect of conversation.

Not everything has to be perfect, so take this knowledge and apply it to your conversations in English.

This is a fun and really animated part of conversation, so it can be great to play around with.

Want to keep learning grammar? Go here to focus on another grammar lesson on prefixes in English.

If you have any questions, please leave them below in the comments section.

We’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

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