Stative verbs

Do you know how to use stative verbs like think, love, smell and have? Test what you know with interactive exercises and read the explanation to help you.

Look at these examples to see how stative verbs are used.

I think that's a good idea.
I love this song!
That coffee smells good.
Do you have a pen?

Try this exercise to test your grammar.

Grammar test 1

Stative verbs: Grammar test 1

Read the explanation to learn more.

Grammar explanation

Stative verbs describe a state rather than an action. They aren't usually used in the present continuous form.

I don't know the answer. I'm not knowing the answer.
She really likes you. She's really liking you.
He seems happy at the moment. He's seeming happy at the moment.

Stative verbs often relate to:

  • thoughts and opinions: agree, believe, doubt, guess, imagine, know, mean, recognise, remember, suspect, think, understand
  • feelings and emotions: dislike, hate, like, love, prefer, want, wish
  • senses and perceptions: appear, be, feel, hear, look, see, seem, smell, taste
  • possession and measurement: belong, have, measure, own, possess, weigh.

Verbs that are sometimes stative

A number of verbs can refer to states or actions, depending on the context.

I think it's a good idea.
Wait a moment! I'm thinking.

The first sentence expresses an opinion. It is a mental state, so we use present simple. In the second example the speaker is actively processing thoughts about something. It is an action in progress, so we use present continuous.

Some other examples are:

have

I have an old car. (state – possession)
I'm having a quick break. (action – having a break is an activity)

see

Do you see any problems with that? (state – opinion)
We're seeing Tadanari tomorrow afternoon. (action – we're meeting him)

be

He's so interesting! (state – his permanent quality)
He's being very unhelpful. (action – he is temporarily behaving this way)

taste

This coffee tastes delicious. (state – our perception of the coffee)
Look! The chef is tasting the soup. (action – tasting the soup is an activity)

Other verbs like this include: agree, appear, doubt, feel, guess, hear, imagine, look, measure, remember, smell, weigh, wish.

Do this exercise to test your grammar again.

Grammar test 2

Stative verbs: Grammar test 2

Language level

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Average: 5 (1 vote)
Sir, Complete sentence in what sense? Is that not complete sentences People are to be informed about the road. This room is to be cleaned by me'.
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Submitted by Kirk on Thu, 04/02/2021 - 08:53

In reply to by Rsb

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Hello Rsb,

These sentences are indeed complete sentences. They are not holiday wishes -- I was speaking about phrases such as 'Happy New Year' (a holiday wish).

All the best,

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Thanks Kirk sir. Sir could u let me know also that: Is that word playing adjective role here in this sentence "She wears pressed uniform" Pressed is an adjective as it is describing the uniform? Ironed uniform and ironized uniform play the same role ? Are they adjective? "She wear ironed/ironized uniform?

Hello Rsb,

Yes, 'pressed' and 'ironed' are adjectives in the sentences you mention. I'm not familiar with 'ironized'.

All the best,

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Thank u Kirk sir. You teachers are so kind and helpful.

Submitted by Rsb on Thu, 31/12/2020 - 04:35

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My prayer got answered immediately. What is "answered" here ?

Hello Rsb,

I'd say that's the past participle in a passive construction. You could also say 'was answered', which means the same thing.

All the best,

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Sir, as far as I read about passive voice "was answered" is a passive form as 'was' an helping verb and 'answer' is a main verb in this context. But I really didn't read anywhere that got + verb 3rd form also an passive form ? If it is passive what will be the active voice of it?

Hello Rsb,

In an informal style, 'get' is sometimes used in the place of 'be' in passive forms (see the Intermediate level on the page linked to).

If, for example, the original sentence were 'The call was answered immediately', one possible active voice version of it would be 'He answered the call immediately' (I don't know who actually answered the call, so 'he' could change to another person).

All the best,

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team