Stative Verbs

How to use stative (state) and dynamic verbs

Some English verbs, which we call state, non-continuous or stative verbs, aren’t used in continuous tenses (like the present continuous, or the future continuous). These verbs often describe states that last for some time. Here is a list of some common ones:

 

Stative Verbs

 

Stative (or State) Verb List 

like                                  know                                    belong
love                                 realice                                   fit
hate                                 suppose                                contain
want                                mean                                    consist
need                                understand                            seem
prefer                              believe                                  depend
agree                               remember                             matter
mind                                recognise                              see
own                                 appear                                  look (=seem)
sound                               taste                                    smell
hear                                 astonish                               deny
disagree                            please                                  impress
satisfy                               promise                               surprise
doubt                               think (=have an opinion)        feel (=have an opinion)
wish                                 imagine                                concern
dislike                               be                                        have
deserve                             involve                                 include
lack                                  measure (=have length etc)   possess
owe                                  weigh (=have weight)

A verb which isn’t stative is called a dynamic verb, and is usually an action.

Some verbs can be both stative and dynamic:

Be

be is usually a stative verb, but when it is used in the continuous it means ‘behaving’ or ‘acting’

  • you are stupid = it’s part of your personality
  • you are being stupid = only now, not usually

Think

  • think (stative) = have an opinion
    I think that coffee is great
  • think (dynamic) = consider, have in my head
    what are you thinking about? I’m thinking about my next holiday

Have

  • have (stative) = own
    I have a car
  • have (dynamic) = part of an expression
    I’m having a party / a picnic / a bath / a good time / a break

See

  • see (stative) = see with your eyes / understand
    I see what you mean
    I see her now, she’s just coming along the road
  • see (dynamic) = meet / have a relationship with
    I’ve been seeing my boyfriend for three years
    I’m seeing Robert tomorrow

Taste

  • taste (stative) = has a certain taste
    This soup tastes great
    The coffee tastes really bitter
  • taste (dynamic) = the action of tasting
    The chef is tasting the soup

(‘taste’ is the same as other similar verbs such as ‘smell’)

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Walton Palmer App

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