Action or Dynamic Verbs

What are Action or Dynamic Verbs?

Action or dynamic verbs, also known as active or event verbs, are used to indicate an action or physical activity. Action verbs are different from stative verbs, which express states of being or conditions, and from linking verbs which function as bridges that link subjects to subject complements. Let’s look at the following sentences:

  • The railing is iron.
  • My friends hate anchovies in their pizza.

In the first sentence, the verb “is” serves as a linking verb. It connects the subject “railing” to the adjective “green.” In the second sentence, the verb “hates” functions as a stative verb. You have to analyze that there is no actual physical activity involved, but rather an expression of feeling. Now let’s look at the following sentences that use action verbs:

  • Benjamin’s kids ran to the front yard to meet him.
  • We watched horror movies the whole day.
  • In root form, the plant acts as an anti-inflammatory.
  • Most American children leave home when they come of age.
  • She presented her analysis of child speech at the convention.
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Action or Dynamic Verbs Rules and Uses

Study the following table of general rules for action or dynamic verbs:

TensesAction verbs can be used in all 12 tenses. Depending on which tense is indicated, their past and participial forms are used and are conjugated accordingly with the proper auxiliary verbs. The three main tenses are the present, past, and future tense, each further classified into 4 aspects.Present Tense:

– They go to yoga classes sometimes.
– The family hosts artists during summer breaks.

Past Tense:

– They went to a yoga class yesterday.
– The family hosted artists last summer.

Future Tense:

– They will go to a yoga class later.
– The family will host artists during the summer break.
Active and Passive VoiceActive voice means the subject is performing or doing the action. Passive voice means the subject is the receiving end of the action.– Jackson repaired his old car. (active)
– The old car was repaired by Jackson. (passive)
 Transitive and IntransitiveA transitive verb needs a direct object to make sense but an intransitive verb doesn’t.Transitive:

– He will buy perfume.
– Everyone in our house caught a cold.
– Could you bring me some coffee?


– They laughed.
– The lights on the patio were shining.
– We don’t know why but we all just jumped.
Table of Action or Dynamic Verbs Rules and Uses

Examples of Action or Dynamic Verbs

1. My younger cousins were enjoying the slides at the water park.

2. Will Shawn and his girlfriend stay in the upstairs guest room?

3. You may need to contact your supplier to confirm the arrival.

4. Could you take these gift packs to the Gucci flagship downtown?

5. Payton picked tangerines with her bosses at the bed and breakfast.

6. I flipped the eggs successfully when I was cooking earlier.

7. She is pouring a lot of honey on her pancakes.

8. Yes, I have visited the northern countryside but it was too hot when I did.

9. Jin was slicing the kimbap carefully while I was setting the table.

10. That’s so dumb! You could have hit an electrical wire inside the wall.

11. Akira watched closely as Lyle ate because he likes the way she munches.

12. It’s so slippery up there that the repairman almost fell from the roof.

13. The yoga instructor was instructing us in a very military way.

14. Miranda clapped the loudest when her son’s name was announced.

15. They were frightened by the prank and they screamed bloody murder.

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Action or Dynamic Verbs Exercises with Answers

Exercise on Action or Dynamic Verbs

Identify if the verbs in bold are action verbs or stative verbs.

1. They seem to be getting along quite well.

2. Ravi called the insurance company to inquire about his claim.

3. Could you come closer to the mic, please?

4. He rummaged through the drawer looking for the document.

5. My 5-year-old daughter really likes sushi for some reason.

6. Gian will request the use of the clubhouse for the convention.

7. Yu mi appears to be distracted as soon as she arrived at the arena

8. Min-jung deserves to be treated better by her colleagues.

9. Helen had operated similar equipment when she worked in the States.

10. We noticed that the area smelled strange, like something chemical.


1. They seem to be getting along quite well. – stative verb

2. Ravi called the insurance company to inquire about his claim. – active verb

3. Could you come closer to the mic, please? – active verb

4. He rummaged through the drawer looking for the document. – active verb

5. My 5-year-old daughter really likes sushi for some reason. – stative verb

6. Gian will request the use of the clubhouse for the convention. – active verb

7. Yu mi appears to be distracted as soon as she arrived at the arena. – stative verb

8. Min-jung deserves to be treated better by her colleagues. – stative verb

9. Helen had operated similar equipment when she worked in the States. – active verb

10. We noticed that the area smelled strange, like something chemical. – stative verb

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Action or Dynamic Verbs List

Below is a list of common active verbs in alphabetical order.

List of Action Verbs
table of Action or Dynamic Verbs

Advice for ESL Students & English Language Learners

Verbs are widely used in English. They drive sentences forward and show action or conditions. Broken down to the simplest grammatical forms, it’s possible to express thoughts and ideas with only a noun and a verb. “I studied”, for example, is a complete sentence.

Action or dynamic verbs are the easiest types of verbs to learn. However, they aren’t without rules. Verb tenses, voice, and mood are all important factors that create accurate communication. Below is a list of useful advice that every English language learner should consider to reach their language goals:

1. Use Grammar Lists

Grammar lists, tables, and charts can be lengthy and overwhelm students, but they’re crucial in self-studying. They aid in understanding the basics of various grammar concepts. Although it’s important to note that they aren’t the be-all and end-all of learning English grammar, these learning tools are nonetheless valuable because they help maximize what you can achieve in self-directed instruction. They simplify rules and formats and can include real-world sentence examples. They’re also readily available when you need to compare, refer to, and review multiple grammatical topics.

2. Use Audio-Visual Resources

The time you spend in English classes is limited and not at all enough for achieving advanced proficiency within a certain period. Self-studying is a necessity. It’s important to acquire exposure to how native English speakers use the language in different situations and for different needs. Audio and video materials can exhibit limitless and functional material. These resources will easily increase your background knowledge in both academic and informal English. Use these resources with intention, which means active listening and purposeful consumption. Many English language learners can attest to reaching advanced fluency by mimicking their favorite TV show characters or listening to their favorite podcast hosts.

3. Practical Use

Books aren’t enough. If you have minimal English interactions, you can be an expert in grammar and still struggle with actual speech. Language theory without practical use is extremely limiting, with proficiency levels contained only in the domain of reading and writing.

So speak or talk whenever you have the chance, both with native and non-native English speakers. If there aren’t so many chances to do that, make an effort to organize a study group, or cultivate friendships with fellow English language learners or speakers. Regular and consistent English conversation is the major pathway to speaking fluently.

Additionally, it is important for learners to properly understand stative verbs and types of verbs.

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Common Errors Made by English Learners

As mentioned, stative verbs don’t normally assume continuous verb tenses. But this rule doesn’t apply to all stative verbs, which is where the confusion for many English language learners originates. The common errors stem from being unable to distinguish between the two functions. The table below shows commonly used verbs that can function both as stative and dynamic (action or active) verbs. It contains examples to show their proper usage. Study them to avoid using them incorrectly.

Common ErrorsExplanation/Examples
Subject-Verb AgreementIn English grammar, Subjects and verbs must agree in number. 

Incorrect: Our team of scientists like camping.
Correct: Our team of scientists likes camping.

The word ” scientists” may appear plural but the subject is actually the word “team,” which is a collective noun and considered singular. Therefore the s-form of a verb, its singular form, must be used.
Verb TensesAction verbs can be used in all 12 tenses, each with its own specific functions. Using the wrong verb will make your sentence confusing and create a breakdown in communication. Make sure that you understand the major tenses and their respective aspects. You can use grammar lists to study them in detail, or you can consider using a language-learning app like to strengthen your knowledge and accomplish your language goals.
Dynamic and Stative VerbsSome verbs can both be dynamic and stative, which is a source of confusion for many English language learners. To avoid this error, you need to analyze if there’s actual physical activity involved in the sentence. Some examples of these verbs are: have, see, taste, and think. Look at the examples below to compare:

– Don’t you see anything wrong with the setup? (stative)
– They‘ve been seeing each other for a year. (dynamic)

– Gina has a new car. (stative)
– We’re having dinner by the beach. (dynamic)
Action Verbs Common Errors Table

Learning Strategies and Best Practices with Action or Dynamic Verbs

The following table lists the best practices for using action or dynamic verbs accurately and efficiently: 

Dynamic verbs only describe actions, not states of being– Joseph’s son swam in the pool all afternoon.
– Belinda is arguing with the server at the cafe.
– Felix will surprise his parents by paying their mortgage.
– Daniel tore off a big chunk of his baguette.
– Annika bought several shirts from the new shop downtown.
Auxiliary verbs go before action verbs to indicate tense, voice, or mood.– You should get married now if you want to have children at 30.
– They will drop by the store to buy new cushions.
– Clarence had eaten lunch late so he isn’t hungry yet.
– Leticia could help her mother out with the chores but she’s so lazy.
– Some kids were handing out flyers at the corner of 3rd and Santan.

You can use action verbs and linking verbs together in a single sentence but only if they’re in separate clauses.
– Cecilia was excited because she will attend her best friend’s wedding on the weekend.
– They drove for five hours yesterday, that’s why they are exhausted.
– The director’s assistant went to the wrong location so they were late for the shoot.
– Someone at the party had mentioned that Ji-Eun and Lee were engaged.
– Before Alexine cooked for her boyfriend, she was quite nervous.
Action or Dynamic Verbs Learning Strategies Table
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Action or Dynamic Verbs Frequently Asked Questions

There are 3 main verb tenses (the past, the present, and the future tenses) and 4 aspects. 

The present tense describes things happening regularly or in the present. The past tense describes things that have already happened. The future tense describes things that have yet to take place.

The following are 4 aspects that comprise each main verb tense:

1. Simple
2. Progressive
3. Perfect
4. Perfect Progressive

Articles are a type of word derived from verbs with various functions such as adjectives or verb tense forms. There are two types of participles: present and past. Present participles are used in progressive tenses while past participles are used in perfect tenses. They go with their proper auxiliary or helping verbs. 

Learning the main uses of tenses is one step toward learning perfectly. Make use of learning resources like language lists, charts, and tables to master grammar rules. Then, engage in constant practice by writing sentences during your study time and utilizing them in actual conversations and writing.

A verb is stative if it indicates a condition or a state of being instead of an action. You must analyze the context of the verb and see if there’s a physical movement involved. The word “like,” for example doesn’t exactly describe an action. It describes an emotion, which makes it a stative verb.

Dynamic, action or active verbs are all terms for verbs that show action. On the other hand, verbs that describe states of being and don’t involve actions at all are stative verbs.

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