Hello,

Please help me with the following sentence:

- Jessica __________ (a. isn't believing, b. doesn't believe) what you're saying.

The site which that's given at says that the correct answer is 'b-doesn't believe', but I am not sure why it is so. Is it because of the verb 'believe' being a state / stative verb? I heard and read that some verbs can be used both statively and dynamically, so can't 'believe' be used both ways, please? Isn't it at all possible to use 'believe' dynamically?

Thank you.
It really depends what you're trying to express. I can think of situations where a person might say Jessica isn't believing what you're saying, e.g. if Jessica was in the same room as the speakers, looking incredulous, and the speaker was teasing her by referring to her in the third person; but yes, it is far more common to say Jessica doesn't believe you. Emotion: smile
LaboriousIsn't it at all possible to use 'believe' dynamically?
It is, but it's rare. I think most textbooks, at least at the more elementary levels, classify "believe" as a non-progressive verb, just because of how unusual the progressive form is.

In the case at hand, if the intended meaning is that after many attempts to convince Jessica of a certain fact, she keeps saying, "No. That can't be. I don't believe it." then she "isn't believing" it (throughout that period), in the sense of "We are not convincing her". But that's using "believe" (dynamically) to mean "come to believe" rather than the more usual stative "believe".

I wouldn't even bother to try to construct sentences using "isn't believing". Such situations are so unusual, it's not worth the bother to construct the strange contexts necessary to make "isn't believing" sound correct.

CJ
Teachers: We supply a list of EFL job vacancies
Thanks to both of you for your helpful replies.
CalifJimBut that's using "believe" (dynamically) to mean "come to believe" rather than the more usual stative "believe".
So, saying "Jessica isn't believing what you are saying" means that she isn't coming to belive what you're saying. Right, CJ?
LaboriousSo, saying "Jessica isn't believing what you are saying" means that she isn't coming to believe what you're saying. Right, CJ?
Right. It's the verb "believe" used as an event rather than as a state.

CJ
CalifJimIt's the verb "believe" used as an event rather than as a state.
I'm sorry, but is it the verb 'believe' or 'come' that's used as an event rather than as a state
Site Hint: Check out our list of pronunciation videos.
LaboriousI'm sorry, but is it the verb 'believe' or 'come' that's used as an event rather than as a state?
Both taken together. The idiom "come to" can change a stative idea to the corresponding dynamic idea focusing on the beginning (start, onset) of the state. It's rarely used, but I used it as a paraphrase to explain the use of "believe" in the non-continuous aspect. I would not actually use "come to believe" in your sentence.

We often have another verb that indicates the onset of a state, so we don't use the roundabout "come to" to express it.

to know indicates a state; to find out = to come to know indicates the onset of the state.

CJ
CalifJimBoth taken together. The idiom "come to" can change a stative idea to the corresponding dynamic idea focusing on the beginning (start, onset) of the state. It's rarely used, but I used it as a paraphrase to explain the use of "believe" in the non-continuous aspect. I would not actually use "come to believe" in your sentence.We often have another verb that indicates the onset of a state, so we don't use the roundabout "come to" to express it.to know indicates a state; to find out = to come to know indicates the onset of the state.
Thanks, CJ! Thank you very much for giving me that knowledge. So, when used in simple tenses(such as 'present simple' or 'past simple'), the verbs that are called stative or non-action can convey both meanings, that is something is going on or true right now / at the moment of speaking (present continuous) and something is true in general (present simple). Right?

For example, If I say "I don't like it", it could mean that I don't like the thing at the time of speaking, right now or It could mean that don't like it in general, not just now. Right, CJ?
LaboriousSo, when used in simple tenses(such as 'present simple' or 'past simple'), the verbs that are called stative or non-action can convey both meanings, that is something is going on or true right now / at the moment of speaking (present continuous) and something is true in general (present simple). Right?
In your post you refer to "both meanings". As specified in your post, these two meanings are

1. being true at the moment of speaking
2. being true generally

The present simple can be used to express both of these. That's true. In fact, consider that if it expresses 2, it necessarily expresses 1 as well.
____________

In our previous discussion I drew attention to a distinction between two meanings thus

1. an on-going state
2. the onset of a state

I assume from your post that you are not asking about this distinction. That is, you are now asking a new question.

CJ
Students: Are you brave enough to let our tutors analyse your pronunciation?