You are here

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

Nivel de idioma

Intermediate: B1

Comments

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'

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,

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Thank u so much sir! I got it

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

Sir, " he is wearing a white shirt"
Here 'wearing' act as an adjective.

My question is - can't we say same sentence like that
"He is worn a white shirt"
Worn can't be used as an adjective here?

Hi Rsb,

No, that's not quite right. Wearing is not acting as an adjective. It's a verb here.

It's true that the auxiliary verb is (and other forms of be) can introduce an adjective (e.g. He is happy). But that's not its only meaning and function. It also forms part of continuous verb forms. Here, it's part of the present continuous (He is wearing).

Yes, worn can function as an adjective (because it's the past participle form). But, is worn is a passive structure (be + past participle), so the subject needs to be the thing that is worn, not the person who wears it.

  • A white shirt is worn.

Does that make sense?

Jonathan

The LearnEnglish Team

No sir if I m saying "you are in white shirt" it means you are wearing a white shirt. It behaves as an adjective what I think.

Pages