English Grammar in Context – Tense Timelines, Mindmaps, Writing Tips, and More...

How to Talk About Senses and Feelings


In our section on the Present Simple tense, we explained that while Present Continuous is generally used for temporary actions and Present Simple is used to describe actions in Present Time which do not change. We use Present simple for timetables and regular occurrences as well as to describe people, places and things. 

It is important to remember that when we talk about states of being - particularly describing thoughts and feelings or physical senses -  we use Present Simple. Even though the states may be temporary, they always have some kind of enduring quality.  For example, a state of being usually exists at a point in time before we begin to describe it: I love you; He hates Jazz; We hope to see you again. In this way, it has some kind of factual quality about it.

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At the same time, the state of being does not have to continue forever.  Looking at the pictures above, a statement of love doesn't mean that he will always love you; or that we will never convince him that Jazz music is great. It just means that for now, these statements are accepted as general facts: there is no need to identify when the emotion began or when it is expected to end. 

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