Grammar: loving, liking etc – advanced points
Upper intermediate to advanced level (B2-C2)
Some English verbs are not usually used in the continuous form. ‘Love’ and ‘like’ are two of them. For example:
A: On Saturday, there’s a Pink Floyd tribute band playing at the National Arena.
B. Really? I love Pink Floyd.
In the example, B has probably loved Pink Floyd for some time and perhaps for many years. It is unlikely that B will change their mind or suddenly wake up one morning and think Pink Floyd are talentless and boring.
It is similar with ‘like’:
A: What do you think of Nick?
B. I really like him.
However, there are situations where we can use ‘loving’ or ‘liking’.
Imagine the immediate pleasure you can get from a good massage. In modern English it would not be unusual to hear the following:
In a health spa, while receiving an excellent massage, two people say:
A: I’m loving this.
B: Me too.
A: I could do with this every day.
‘A’ uses ‘love’ in the continuous form in order to emphasise her feelings about what is happening at the moment and not a general feeling. It’s similar to saying: ‘This is great.’
You can also just say ‘I love this.’ but the continuous form seems to be getting increasingly used, especially in relaxed spoken English.
Let’s look at ‘like’:
Imagine a context where you want to get promotion at work and you hear a colleague saying that the only other person likely to be offered the job has decided to leave the company. While your colleague is still talking about this, you say:
A: I’m liking the sound of this.
Again, the use of the continuous form places the emphasis on the current moment and not the general longer-term situation.
Language changes with time and this is a little change that has been happening in English for a few decades.