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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

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!

 

Peter

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

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

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,

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

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

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'.

Hello Rsb,

These sentences are indeed complete sentences. They are not holiday wishes -- I was speaking about phrases such as 'Happy New Year' (a holiday wish).

All the best,

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Thanks Kirk sir.
Sir could u let me know also that:

Is that word playing adjective role here in this sentence

"She wears pressed uniform"
Pressed is an adjective as it is describing the uniform?

Ironed uniform and ironized uniform play the same role ? Are they adjective?
"She wear ironed/ironized uniform?

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