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Can anyone give me a satisfactory answer to this question?

Why can't we say, "I've been knowing him for years"?

My teacher said that it's because we don't use verbs like "know" in the progressive form, but that answer doesn't tell me very much at all.
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Comments  (Page 7) 
Ah, such collegiality!Emotion: embarrassed
The answer would be as follows: because there is a so called "stative verbs rule" in English language which forbids using "stative" verbs in Progressive/Continuous tenses.

But the story behind this rule is funny and enlightening. The introduction of this rule was one of the awkward attempts to compensate the absence of the category of aspect, which has always been absent in English, but present in most of other world's languages. In fact, the rule prohibits the stative verbs to be used in imperfect aspect. Despite that imperfect aspect is a very natural state for the stative verbs. It's their essence. Speakers of other languages (where the category of aspect exists) know it pretty well. And absolutely correctly ignore the "stative verbs rule" (google for "been knowing").

Hence, the phrase "I've been knowing him for years" amazingly IS CORRECT, despite that it contradicts to a quite official, but vicious grammar rule. The stative verbs rule should be abolished as soon as possible for being one of the main English grammar system errors.
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Know is an emotive verb, not an action verb, there is no action involved with states of being, emotions or feelings, thereby they cannot carry action verbs, ie, progressive or ing . It's ungrammatical to say "I've been knowing him for years" since there is no action in know, it's correct to say I've known him for years. Sharon Gonzalez
What is incorrect indeed is following the rule that forbids to use "emotive" verbs in proressive forms. While suggesting to replace "perfect progressive" with "perfect" is criminal.
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Hello all!

Yay! A big discussion :-)

Progressive aspect can be used with verbs with "stative" meaning to make "progressive statives" in the following cases:

  1. intensify the emotion: I'm loving this food!

  2. current behaviour is counter to normal behaviour: You're being rude.

  3. changes in states by focusing on differences in degree across time: I'm understanding you less and less as I get older.

  4. show limited duration: Are you understanding this?

  5. emphasize conscious involvement: What we are seeing is a lot misinformation.

  6. show vividness: Last night, I'm hearing dripping, and I'm so annoyed by it!

  7. express politeness: Are you liking your ice cream?

  8. mitigate criticism: I like your explanations, but I'm not liking the part about Google.

  9. avoid imposition: I was just wanting to talk to you about the meeting tomorrow.
This means we have to think of stative "meanings", and not stative "verbs". If you want to, really want to say "I'm knowing the answer", for example, you have to give a pretty defined sense of context in order for the "meaning" to hold true. Because "know", to an educated English speaker in most parts of the world, is not something temporary, nor is it able to be developed further. It doesn't mean that it's impossible, but you need to think about:

  • who the speaker is (university graduate, dishwasher, truck driver, lawyer, nurse etc.)

  • in what group the speaker is talking (friends, gang members, jury in a court, friends in a school etc.)

  • overall how the speaker wants to appear (educated, flippant, tough guy, cool etc.)

  • Any combination of the above factors will determine how any speaker follows the "rules" of a language, and how they deviate from the norms. "I'm knowing..." may be perfectly acceptable to a dishwasher wanting to be cool in a gang, but is not acceptable use by a lawyer speaking to a jury and wanting to sound intelligent.
Therefore, if the original poster is not satisfied with the many good "linguistic" explanations given here, perhaps they should look towards a more sociocultural reason as to why "be knowing" exists.

Finally, about using Google as a corpus. The "results" mean nothing. Don't even try to validate an linguistic argument with Google. Search MICASE and see what happens. You might find your "true examples" there :-)))

Nick
Emotion: sada lot of misinformation - a linguistic..
Hi, Nick,

Good list. Thanks. [Y]

- A.

(Hope your friends and relatives in NZ survived the earthquake.)
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Hi there,

Several issues for you to think over:

1. There no grammatical reasons for a stative/non-stative division.
2. There is no explanation of why people avoided using the stative verbs in progressive tenses in pre-Vendler era. People don't know why they had been doing so prior to 1959.
3. There were no reasons for people to pay A SLIGHTEST AMOUNT of attention to Vendler's rule, after it was formulated around 1959, except for the herd instinct.
4. The stative verbs rule (Vendler's rule) if rephrased according to international grammar notions and terms, sounds like this: "Virtually half of English verbs (those that mean states) do not have the imperfect aspect".
5. Stative verbs in ANY language tend to incline towards the IMPERFECT aspect, since states are much more processes than events.
6. Google SHOULD be taken into account since it means USAGE. You can't disregard usage. Sure, you must tell representative amounts from non-representative ones. Searches that produce millions of instances may not be disregarded in no way.
7. If you still are not going to take Google into account, try searching COHA. I managed to fish about 4500 instances of "stative verbs rule" ignored by American writers out of there.

Now, keeping all that in mind, give me ONE reason why I shouldn't consider "stative verbs rule" criminal.

And I don't know if "I'm knowing" should be attributed to a dishwasher or not, but surely being able to say "I HAVE BEEN knowing" immediately reveals that the speaker speaks at least one foreign language, the "aspectful" one.
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