We use continuous forms for actions and happenings that have stared but not finished (they are eating / it is raining, etc.).
Some verbs(for example, know and like) are not normally used in this way.
We do no say “I am knowing” or “they are liking”; we say I know, they like.
The following verbs are not normally used in the present continuous:
like love hate want need prefer know realize suppose mean understand believe remember belong fit contain consist seem
I’m hungry. I want something to eat. (not I’m wanting)
Do you understand what I mean?
Ann doesn’t seem very happy.
When think means “believe” or “have an opinion.” we do not use the continuous:
I think Mary is Canadian, but I’m not sure. (not I’m thinking)
What do you think about my plan? (=What is your opinion?)
When think means “consider, ” the continuous is possible:
I’m thinking about what happened. I often think about it.
Nicky is thinking of quitting her job. (=she if considering it)
He is selfish and He is being selfish
He’s being = He’s behaving / He’s acting. Compare:
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)
(=He is selfish generally, not only at the moment)
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’s being hot)
Sarah is very tired. (not is being tired)
See hear smell taste
We normally use the simple present (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?
You can use the simple present or continuous to say how somebody looks or feels now:
You look good today. or You’re looking good today.
How do you feel now? or How are you feeling now?
I usually feel fired in the morning. (not I’m usually feeling)