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Stative verbs

Do you know how to use stative verbs like think, love, smell and have?

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

Intermediate: B1

Comments

"The lecturer is thinking to go to the conference on history in Bangladesh every year" - is the use of "thinking" here correct ? or grammatically it’s wrong ?

Hi Amit01,

It's a good question. People do sometimes say or write thinking to ... with the meaning of 'considering doing something'. Here are some examples I found:

  • I am thinking to get a gift for our friend.
  • There were some reports previously that Apple was thinking to make an iCar.

However, it seems less commonly used than thinking of, and most dictionaries don't include it (yet). So, I would say that it's fine to use in informal situations, but probably not in formal situations, where standard or 'correct' language forms are preferred (such as in an exam, or a presentation). 

I hope that helps!

Jonathan

The LearnEnglish Team

Could please explain the difference between
1.we have a great day
2.we are having a great day.

Hello Mussorie,

The second sentence describes a day which is in progress - in other words, today.

The first sentence could be a more general statement, but it requires some kind of comment as to which days are generallt great. For example:

We have a great day every time we go to the zoo.

We have a great day whenever you visit.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Sir,
You confuse me = You make me confused.

Both the sentences have same meaning . The difference is only that confused is an adjective in that (you make me confused)???

Hello Rsb,

Yes, that's correct. You can replace it with other adjectives:

You make me confused/happy/sad/hopeful etc.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Sir,

He drowned the kittens = He made the kittens drowned.

Here , both have the same and equal meaning? We can also make this sentence (he drowned the kittens) with the help of causative verb "he made the kittens drowned" . Here drowned is an adjective.

Hello Rsb,

The first sentence is correct. The second one seems as if it should be, and people would understand it, but I wouldn't call it correct.

All the best,

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Sir,
Word 'sprained' is an adjective?

For example, my legs got sprained.

And word 'sprain' is a verb also

For example, you sprained his legs.

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