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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

Yes the whole body.

Can I see you all- all an adverb
Can I see you full- full an adverb

Can I see you completely, is that correct

Hi Rsb,

Sentence 3 is correct. Sentence 2 has full, which is an adjective, but you could change it to the adverb fully

Sentence 1 is a bit different because you all means 'every person' or 'everybody in a group'.

Jonathan

The LearnEnglish Team

Sir,
'Can I see all of you' or can I see you all
It senses every person or everybody in a group not a single person right

But can I see you fully/Completely- it senses single person

Hi Rsb,

That's right! But Can I see all of you? has both meanings (i.e., it can refer to a single person or many people).

Jonathan

The LearnEnglish Team

Wow thanks sir.
I like your explanation Jonathan

I think 'Live, Stand, Sit, and Wear' are also examples of stative verbs, aren't they ?

Hello SonuKumar,

I would not categorise these verbs as stative. They can all be used with progressive aspect, for example, and can also be used as imperatives.

 

I would caution against seeing stative and dynamic as fixed, binary categories. It is a useful way to think about verbs at times but there are many verbs which do not fit neartly into one or other group, or which can be found in either depending on the context.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Sir,
Is Live a stative verb if yes then how ?

Hello SonuKumar,

I'm afraid we can't provide support for this sort of query. Please check with another more specialised source.

All the best,

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

'I was fallen by someone'
Is it correct??

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