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 (71 votes)

Submitted by Ruslana_Talko on Thu, 15/09/2022 - 17:31


Good evening. Could you please explain if stative verbs can be used in this case?
Can we use stative verbs when talking about irritating habits with the help of Present and Past Continuous tenses and always/constantly?
For example, would it be correct to say (I made up these examples):
1) She is always understanding me wrong.
2) They are always doubting my skills.
3) He is always knowing the answers to the tests.
Thank you in advance!

Hi Ruslana_Talko,

Yes, we can do that to express irritation. Your sentences 1 and 2 sound perfectly natural to me. However, I don't remember hearing the verb "know" in continuous structures as in sentence 3, and I didn't find any examples of it when I did a quick search. 

I hope that helps!


The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Lidia M on Mon, 16/05/2022 - 16:40


Could you please explain why 'be' is added to the 'senses and perceptions' category?

Hello Lidia M,

It's because 'be' can be used to express perceptions. If I see a man and a woman talking to each other, I might say 'He's nervous', but in fact maybe he's excited or angry.

Does that make sense?

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hi FershDuran,

"Stay" has several meanings, and I think they take the continuous form without a problem, so I would say it is dynamic.

  1. to remain in one place; to not leave (e.g. I'm staying at home until the storm passes.)
  2. to continue doing/being something (e.g. I feel stressed but I'm staying calm.) 
  3. to live somewhere temporarily (e.g. We're staying in a hotel for two nights.)

I hope that helps.


The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by lRaisa on Mon, 16/05/2022 - 13:17


Could you write some examples of dynamic verbs?

Hello IRaisa,

Most verbs are dynamic and express an action or process -- some common ones are 'eat', 'talk', 'run', 'go', 'study', 'read', 'write'.

Some verbs can be dynamic or stative depending on how they're used. For example, when 'have' expresses possession (e.g. 'I have two bicycles'), it's stative; but when 'have' is used to express an action (e.g. 'He can't speak to you because he's having a shower at the moment'), it's dynamic.

Hope this helps.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team