What are Stative Verbs?
A verb is classified as a stative verb if it expresses a condition or state of being rather than an action. For example, “Jessie loves sushi.” The verb love doesn’t display an action but states a feeling or opinion. Let’s read some more examples of stative verbs in sentences:
- This yellow duffel bag belongs to Fia.
- As always, your chicken parmesan tastes heavenly.
- The group recognized him from a magazine article.
- My grandmother hates crowded places.
- She mentioned that she wishes you had more time.
Grammatically, three kinds of verbs are usually compared to or distinguished from each other – stative, action, and linking verbs. Action verbs describe physical movement. Meanwhile, linking verbs serve as bridges connecting subjects to their subject complements. Stative verbs can sometimes function as linking verbs, which creates overlap or confusion for English language learners. This article will simplify the differences in further segments so keep reading.
Another challenge posed to students is that many English words have multiple uses and meanings, including verbs. Depending on the context, there are verbs that can function both as action and stative verbs. There are several stative verbs that function as linking verbs as well. Let’s look at the following examples for an overview of their differences:
- I don’t see any problem with the new directive.
- It’s like she’s seeing Tanaka for the very first time.
In the first sentence, the verb “see” is stating an opinion. Like most stative verbs, it can’t be used in continuous verb tenses. However, in the second example, “seeing” indicates a physical action, which makes its continuous form grammatically correct. Let’s look at the next pair of sentences:
- Your cousins really want pizza.
- The dress looks spectacular!
Stative verbs can function as linking verbs. But in the first sentence, the verb “seems” acts as a stative verb only. Linking verbs can’t be used transitively (with a direct object).
Stative Verbs Rules and Uses
Study the following table of general rules for stative verbs:
|Stative verbs can both be used in the active and passive voice.||– My boss appreciated my efforts. (active voice)|
– My efforts were appreciated by my boss. (passive voice)
– Peeta heard voices coming from behind the wall. (active)
– Voices coming from behind the wall were heard by Peeta. (passive)
– The townspeople adore the mayor’s daughter. (active)
– The mayor’s daughter was adored by the townspeople. (passive)
|Stative verbs can both be transitive verbs (require direct objects) and intransitive verbs (don’t require direct objects).||– The children at the orphanage remembered us. (transitive)|
– I remembered clearly. (intransitive)
– These books satisfy my curiosity. (transitive)
– Chicken soup absolutely satisfies. (intransitive)
– My daughter doesn’t love chocolate like kids her age.
– We can’t wait to live in a world where everyone loves freely. (intransitive)
|A lot of linking verbs are also stative verbs. But not all stative verbs are linking verbs.||Stative verbs as linking verbs:|
– We don’t know why but the attic feels cold.
– Our club members looked exhausted when they returned.
– Lucas’s shirt turned neon under the light.
The following table is a list of stative verbs according to their uses:
|Conditions||include, involve, lack, resemble, weigh|
|Emotions||desire, fear, hate, like, love, need, want, wish|
|Opinions and beliefs||believe, disagree, know, think, support|
|Possession||belong, control, have, own, possess|
|The Senses||appear, feel, hear, look, see, seem, smell, sound, taste|
Examples of Stative Verbs
- Your website lacks book reviews.
- Their argument involved a pair of shoes.
- The complete list they’re studying includes dynamic verbs.
- Her mental process resembles a complex form of meditation.
- The nuances in meaning weigh differently among individuals.
- Silas needs a good book of English verbs.
- He likes the progressive aspect of the proposal.
- Hayden wants to write for Cambridge University Press.
- The club wishes to preserve indigenous languages.
- I would love to give you lots of examples.
Opinions and Beliefs
- Tae Hyung knows lots of languages.
- Miss Millan believes our exhaustive list is sufficient.
- His students agreed to receive lessons by email.
- My weird sister thinks pictures of shoes are awesome.
- Paulo disagreed with Tim’s move to involve more people.
- These artifacts don’t belong to you.
- The organizers had control over the entries.
- Tomas’s family owns half the factories in town.
- You possess certain qualities fit for running the business.
- The Thai delegates have two translators.
- You look like you could use some assistance.
- Savannah feels the book reference wasn’t necessary.
- Does anyone smell something burning?
- It sounds spectacular! We should go.
- I can tell that the dessert tastes scrumptious.
Stative Verbs Exercises with Answers
Identify if the verbs in bold are stative verbs or action verbs.
1. A burst of bright green light appeared on the horizon.
2. Brix denied everything during the interrogation.
3. Are you guys all right? You appear to be lost.
4. They watched as the creepy figure moved across the field.
5. I’m sorry but this issue doesn’t concern you so please step out.
6. Calum rebooted the main computer in the facility’s basement.
7. The delegates spoke to me about their housing issues.
8. Everyone is depending on his ability to solve complex puzzles.
9. Yelena is so strong that she carried the boulder like it weighed nothing.
10. Their high school class organized a soup kitchen for the flood victims.
Identify if the verbs in bold are stative verbs or linking verbs.
1. Being in this position doesn’t feel good.
2. They later realized they were relatives.
3. Our new chief seems like an outgoing lady.
4. Does anyone agree that this is a good idea?
5. We have our own tent and sleeping bags.
6. Haymitch couldn’t contain his excitement.
7. Just enjoy it. It could be amazing.
8. Pretending to be fine is something he detested.
9. I’m sure they understand your sacrifices.
10. If you don’t mind, can we turn off the lights?
1. A burst of bright green light appeared on the horizon. – action verb
2. Brix denied everything during the interrogation. – stative verb
3. Are you guys all right? You appear to be lost. – stative verb
4. They watched as the creepy figure moved across the field. – action verb
5. I’m sorry but this issue doesn’t concern you so please step out. – stative verb
6. Calum rebooted the main computer in the facility’s basement. – action verb
7. The delegates spoke to me about their housing issues. – action verb
8. Everyone is depending on his ability to solve complex puzzles. – stative verb
9. Yelena is so strong that she carried the boulder like it weighed nothing. – stative verb
10. Their high school class organized a soup kitchen for the flood victims. – action verb
1. Being in this position doesn’t feel good. – linking verb
2. They later realized they were relatives. – stative verb
3. Our new chief seems like an outgoing lady. – stative verb
4. Does anyone agree that this is a good idea? – stative verb
5. We have our own tent and sleeping bags. – stative verb
6. Haymitch couldn’t contain his excitement. – stative verb
7. Just enjoy it. It could be amazing. – linking verb
8. Pretending to be fine is something he detested. – linking verb
9. I’m sure they understand your sacrifices. – stative verb
10. If you don’t mind, can we turn off the lights? – linking verb
Stative Verbs List
Below is a comprehensive list of stative verbs in alphabetical order.
|Stative Verbs List|
Advice for ESL Students & English Language Learners
When it comes to verbs that can both be stative and active (action or dynamic) in nature, there’s a lot of overlap. One effective solution to help you differentiate them effectively is to decipher if there’s a discernible physical activity involved.
Let’s take the verb smell, for instance. In the sentence “The room smells clean.”, there is no identifiable movement involved. Therefore, “smell” is a stative verb in this sentence. But in the sentence, “Orlando smelled the flowers by the road.”, you can picture Orlando bending over to discover what the flowers smell like. The sentence refers to the act of smelling and involves dynamic movement. Therefore, “smell” is an action verb in this sentence.
It’s also a standard rule that stative verbs can’t be conjugated in the continuous tense. While this is true for most stative verbs, several verbs like “smell” don’t follow the rule. Like the examples above, it would depend on the context and how the verb is used in the sentence. The statement “The room is smelling nice.” is incorrect, but “Orlando was smelling the flowers by the road.” is correct.
Additionally, it is important for learners to properly understand transitive verbs and action or dynamic verbs.
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.
|-Be Verbs||In the continuous tense, be can mean “acting” or “behaving” in a certain way.||– You are difficult.|
– You‘re being difficult right now.
– Jonathan is silly.
– Jonathan is being silly.
|Have||When “have” means “own”, it is a stative verb. But if it’s part of an expression, it becomes dynamic and can be used in continuous tenses.||– Willow has a car.|
– Robbie has a lot of bling.
– Cora is having a break so don’t call her.
– The kids are having a picnic by the lake.
|See||The verb “see” is an action verb when used to mean “meet” or “have a romantic relationship.” It is a stative verb when used to mean “understand” or “to see with one’s eyes.”||– I don’t see him by the stands.|
– Do you see the problem?
– They‘ve been seeing each other for a month.
– We‘re seeing them next week in Camden.
|Taste||If used to refer to the act of tasting something, the word “taste” can be used in continuous tenses but not when it means “to possess a certain taste.”||– This lasagna tastes so good.|
– It tastes like chicken.
– We‘re tasting his cake to rate its fluffiness.
– They‘re tasting free cocktail samples from the bar.
|Think||“Think” is stative when it means “to have an opinion” but dynamic when it means “to consider.”||– I thought so, too.|
– She thinks he’s great.
– What is Marjorie thinking about?
– We‘re thinking of going to the beach this weekend.
Learning Strategies and Best Practices with Stative Verbs
The key to being proficient in using stative verbs is as follows:
- Learn the basic rules of stative verbs and how they’re used.
- Develop awareness of common errors to avoid the same pitfalls.
- Use what you’ve learned in practical avenues consistently.
|Language Lists||Although lists, tables, and charts can be overwhelming if they’re lengthy (a verb list is no fun), they’re important in understanding the basics of a grammar concept. These learning tools are valuable because they can help maximize the value of self-studying. They shouldn’t be the be-all and end-all of learning grammar, but they are extremely functional supplements. With lists, making comparisons, checking references, and quick reviews are more convenient.|
|Language Exposure||It’s crucial in self-training to be exposed to how native speakers use the English language in different situations and for different needs. Audio and video materials can exhibit limitless and functional material. These resources will easily widen your stock knowledge in both professional and conversational English. Use them with intention, which means you should actively listen and take notes on how native speakers utilize the language. Many English language learners can attest to reaching advanced fluency by mimicking their favorite TV show characters.|
|Language Exchange||Many English language learners achieve advanced skills in grammar but can’t maintain actual conversations. This is because they focused on books and take actual practice for granted. If you don’t make an effort to talk in English at every chance you encounter, fluency will take that much longer to reach. Language theory without practical use is extremely limiting and can exist only in the domain of reading and writing. So speak and talk when you have the chance, both with native and non-native English speakers. Keep an open mind regarding your language errors and make a conscious effort in self-correction.|
Stative Verbs Frequently Asked Questions
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