Grammar-QuizzesVerb PhrasesVerbsPresent Tense › Cognitive States

Present Tense — Cognitive States

Express thinking, cognition and attitude

thinking
 

 

Cognitive States vs. Active Thinking

STATIC– NONPROGRESSIVE

A static verb indicates a state. The verbs below are states of "cognition" (know, believe, think, understand, recognize, remember). They express how we passively and mentally process the world around us.  A static verb usually takes the nonprogressive verb form; however, current usage is changing, specially with like and feel.

SUBJECT PREDICATE COMPLEMENT
NP VERB — STATIC NP / WH-PHRS / THAT-CLS

He

knows

the truth.

what the truth is.

(that) you are truthful.

He

believes

the speaker.

what the speaker said.

(that) the speaker is correct.

He

thinks

(that) he can win.

 

He

understands

(get the meaning or idea of; comprehend)

the problem.

 

He

realizes

(be aware of)

his mistake

He

recognizes

the difficulty

(identify from knowledge)

He

doesn't remember

(comes to mind)

your name.

forget, recall, recollect

He

forgets

my name. (unable to recall)

his keys. (accidently leave behind)

He

loves

He her.  NOT  He is loving her. (has affinity)

He

misses

He her. (feels sad without her) 

He

hates

He living in the city.

He

appreciates

He your work.

He

likes

school.

 

He

feels

(dynamic –believe, have a strong opinion)

strongly about this issue. 

that this is unfair.

(feel with the meaning of "believe" is rarely progressive. See Feel.)   (Swan 202.2)

PROGRESSIVE

A progressive verb form can expresses different meaning: (1) performing a cognitive activity [dynamic] (think and remember); ongoing experience [static] (liking, loving, hating, wanting, feeling) (3) gradual change in state or experience [static] (believe, realize, recognize, understand). Note that only dynamic verbs accept adverbs of manner (-ly).               

SUBJECT PREDICATE COMPLEMENT
NP VERB—DYN / STA NOUN / PP/ THAT CLAUSE

He

*is knowing

the subject.

*Not used. Uselearn instead.

He

*is believing

is believing

(static-gradual change in confidence)

his lies.

in himself more now.

 

He

is thinking

(dyn.-using mental reasoning)

carefully about it.

 

He

He

*is understanding

is understanding

(static-gradual change in comprehending)

the problem.

the problem.

 

He

He

*is realizing

is realizing

(static-gradual change in comprehension)

the answer. 

what he must do. 

He

He

*is recognizing)

is recognizing (static-gradual change in identifying)

you.

the difficulty.

his son.  (acknowledge legally)

He

He

*isn't remembering

 is remembering  (dynamic–actively remembering)

your name.

gradually what happened.

He

He

*is forgetting

is forgetting  (static –ongoing, leaving something behind)

my name. 

his keys. 

He

He

 

*is loving

is loving

(static–ongoing enjoyment)

her.

New York. (inf.)

I

~am missing   (static –experience ongoing sadness)

am missing (static –experience temporary loss)

my family.  

 

my keys.

I

~am hating   (static –experience ongoing upset)

this. (inf.)

I


Our house

~am appreciating (static –express gratefulness)

is appreciating. (static –gaining in value)

help.

 

He

 

How

*is liking

~am liking

~are you liking

 

school.

this. (static –emphasis on the on-going experience)

this?

 

 

*not used / ~ questionable usage; not preferred usage; requires a special context

inf. — informal usage

cognitive (Adj) – the mental process of knowing, including aspects such as awareness, perception, reasoning, and judgment

dynamic (Adj) — in grammar, dynamic verbs express activities, actions that we do or perform. For this reason, they can take progressive verb forms.

forget (V)—carries the meaning of recalling an earlier activity; mostly used in past or present perfect tenses.  See "I Forget".

gradually (Adv) —little by little, taking place, changing by small degrees

mental (Adj) – of or pertaining to the mind (Also used for those affected by mental illness or impairment)

¹ miss (V) — discover or feel the absence of (Normally, it used to express the absence of a person or persons. But also used for something that is temporarily lost.)

NP (Noun Phrase); Wh-Phrs (Wh- Phrase); That+Cls (Verb + That-Clause List)

My keys are missing.— (Adj) – lost  (Swan 352)  There is something missing. (Huddleston 170, 1438)

I am missing my keys. — (static verb) — experiencing an ongoing, temporary loss  (informal) "not in possession of";  Are you missing something?  (used with an inanimate object such as keys, mobile phone, wallet.)  See Active Experience below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cognitive Processing

Changing State of Mind

 

 

 

Expressing Cognitive Change

INFINITIVE CLAUSE

Cognition is usually expressed with a nonprogressive verb; however, it can be expressed as an ongoing process (a state undergoing change) by using an infinitive clause.

He's starting to think about finding a new job.

We are beginning to understand the problem.

They are  trying to remember what happened.

They are starting to realize what they can do.

They are continuing to appreciate their situation.

PRESENT PERFECT

Not all, but some "cognitive" verbs can express an ongoing state by using the present perfect, which indicates an action that began in the past and continues up until the present.

He has been thinking about finding a new job.

She has been wanting to go to college.

He has been liking his new job.

We have been loving our new car. (enjoying)

She has been missing her family. (feeling homesick) 

 

 

 

 

 

Changing Usage

Active Experience

How are you liking your food
 

 

Expressing Experience—New vs. Traditional

NEWER USAGE

The examples below have been in use since the 1980s (or earlier.) The informality could be appealing to the customer, putting the customer at ease, or it could be annoying to the customer, having to listen to affected speech.

How are you liking your food?  (restaurants: ongoing sensory experience; enjoy)

How are you liking your new school?  (active adjustment period)

McDonald's:   I'm lovin' it!

 

TRADITIONAL USAGE

In traditional use, like and love are not used in the progressive form. They are states of mind.  No amount of time will change whether you do or do not like or love something. Nonprogressive is the more formal usage.

How do you like your food.

 

How do you like your new school. (emotional response)

I love it.   (Is is someone taking action to do something or is someone experiencing something passively?) 

 

affected spech (Adj) – artificial or unnatural sounding, overly solicitous

 

Works Cited

  • Huddleston, Rodney D., and Geoffrey K. Pullum. The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language. Cambridge UP, 2002.
  • Swan, Michael. Practical English Usage. 3rd ed., Oxford UP, 2005.

 

 

 

 

 

Practice 1

Changing How We Think

doughnut
 

 

Present or present progressive?

  1. Select the response from the list that best completes the sentence. 
  2. Compare your response to the feedback by clicking the "check" button.

 

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