Stative verbs

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:


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


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


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


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

Average: 4.3 (85 votes)

Hello Rsb,

Yes, that is possible. We can use the continuous form here to show that something is temporary rather than generally true. For example, you might say this if a person has dressed in a particular way for a special occasion. You would not use it for a general description of how someone normally looks.



The LearnEnglish Team

So sir it still shows a state verb if we say 'you are looking good'???

Hello again Rsb,

When a state can be perceived as having continuity and progress over time then the progressive form is possible. There are quite a few examples of this:

I've been wanting to talk to you for a while.

She was intending to tell you, I'm sure.

I'm loving this!



The LearnEnglish Team

Ok. Sir Like u said "look" has more than one meaning, get has also more than one meaning for example, I got angry- linking verb change in state I get you a drink - action verb

Submitted by Rsb on Thu, 11/02/2021 - 18:46

Sir, Suppose 'Battery will reach warehouse by 20th feb' I can't familiar with the action verb when subject is non living . Could u share me the page of it? And explain me
Profile picture for user Kirk Moore

Submitted by Kirk Moore on Fri, 12/02/2021 - 10:27

In reply to by Rsb


Hello Rsb,

Action verbs can have subjects that are inanimate. I'm afraid I don't know of any explanation of this anywhere, but it's quite straightforward -- there is no such limitation.

All the best,


The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Rsb on Fri, 01/01/2021 - 05:54

Sir, Wishing every day of the year to be filled with success , happiness and prosperity for you. Happy new year 2021 Sir, this quote is in passive form? And why don't we add is/are before the word 'to be filled' n the sentence? Wishing every day of the year are to be filled with success happiness and prosperity for you. Is that incorrect?? Another example, 1. 'People to be informed about the road' Is that incorrect 'people are to be informed about the road' 'This room to be cleaned by me' Is that wrong to say 'this room is to be cleaned by me'
Profile picture for user Kirk Moore

Submitted by Kirk Moore on Fri, 01/01/2021 - 10:32

In reply to by Rsb


Hello Rsb,

Holiday wishes are not usually complete sentences. Typically, they are reduced forms from which different words have been omitted.

I'd understand 'wishing' in the first one as a reduction of 'I wish' or 'With this card, I wish'. You could say 'will be' instead of 'to be'.

Your other example sounds like the title of an article. If it were a complete sentence, it would need 'are' (as you suggest). The same is true of the last sentence -- the word 'is' is missing (if it's supposed to be a complete sentence).

Please remember that we're happy to help with isolated examples from other texts if they're directly related to the grammar or content of a page, but we don't have the resources to explain every example that you may find.

All the best,


The LearnEnglish Team

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'.