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Master the art of grammar: A comprehensive guide to stative verbs

   Stative Verbs List

 

Some verbs are only (or mostly) used in simple tenses, and are not used in continuous tenses. An example of a simple tense is the present simple, or the past simple. An example of a continuous tense is the present continuous or past continuous. These verbs are called stative, or state verbs. A verb which isn’t stative is called a dynamic verb, and is usually an action. Often stative verbs are about liking or disliking something, or about a mental state, not about an action.


Master the art of grammar: A comprehensive guide to stative verbs

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Verb

Correct

Not Correct

agree

She didn’t agree with us.

She wasn’t agreeing with us.

appear

It appears to be raining.

It is appearing to be raining.

believe

I don’t believe the news.

I am not believing the news.

belong

This book belonged to my

grandfather.

This book was belonging to my

grandfather.

concern

This concerns you.

This is concerning you.

consist

Bread consists of flour, water

and yeast.

Bread is consisting of flour, water

and yeast.

contain

This box contains a cake.

This box is containing a cake.

depend

It depends on the weather.

It’s depending on the weather.

deserve

He deserves to pass the exam.

He is deserving to pass the exam.

disagree

I disagree with you.

I am disagreeing with you.

dislike

I have disliked mushrooms for

years.

I have been disliking mushrooms

for years.

doubt

I doubt what you are saying.

I am doubting what you are

saying.

feel (=have

an opinion)

I don’t feel that this is a good

idea.

I am not feeling that this is a good

idea.

fit

This shirt fits me well.

This shirt is fitting me well.

hate

Julie’s always hated dogs.

Julie’s always been hating dogs.

hear

Do you hear music?

Are you hearing music?


imagine

I imagine you must be tired.

I am imagining you must be tired.

impress

He impressed me with his story.

He was impressing me with his

story.

include

This cookbook includes a recipe

for bread.

This cookbook is including a

recipe for bread.

involve

The job involves a lot of

travelling.

The job is involving a lot of

travelling.

know

I’ve known Julie for ten years.

I’ve been knowing Julie for ten

years.

like

I like reading detective stories.

I am liking reading detective

stories.

love

I love chocolate.

I’m loving chocolate.*

matter

It doesn’t matter.

It isn’t mattering.

mean

‘Enormous’ means ‘very big’.

‘Enormous’ is meaning ‘very big’.

measure (=be

long)

This window measures 150cm.

 This window is measuring

150cm.

mind

She doesn’t mind the noise.

She isn’t minding the noise.

need

At three o’clock yesterday I

needed a taxi.

At three o’clock yesterday I was

needing a taxi.

owe

I owe you £20.

I am owing you £20.

own

She owns two cars.

She is owning two cars.

prefer

I prefer chocolate ice cream.

I am preferring chocolate ice

cream.

promise

I promise to help you tomorrow.

I am promising to help you

tomorrow.

realise

I didn’t realise the problem.

I wasn’t realising the problem.

recognise

I didn’t recognise my old friend.

I wasn’t recognising my old

friend.

remember

He didn’t remember my name.

He wasn’t remembering my name.

seem

The weather seems to be

improving.

The weather is seeming to be

improving.

sound

Your idea sounds great.

Your idea is sounding great.

suppose

I suppose John will be late.

I’m supposing John will be late.


surprise

The noise surprised me.

The noise was surprising me.

understand

I don’t understand this question.

I’m not understanding this

question.

want

I want to go to the cinema

tonight.

I am wanting to go to the cinema

tonight.

weigh (=have

weight)

This cake weighs 450g.

This cake is weighing 450g.

wish

I wish I had studied more.

I am wishing I had studied more.

 

Some verbs can be both stative and dynamic:

 

be

be is usually a stative verb, but when it is used in the continuous it means ‘behaving’ or ‘acting’

you are stupid = it’s part of your personality

you are being stupid = only now, not usually

have

have (stative) = own I have a car

have (dynamic) = part of an expression

I’m having a party / a picnic / a bath / a good time / a break

see

see (stative) = see with your eyes / understand I see what you mean

I see her now, she’s just coming along the road see (dynamic) = meet / have a relationship with I’ve been seeing my boyfriend for three years

I’m seeing Robert tomorrow

taste (also: smell, feel, look)

taste (stative) = has a certain taste This soup tastes great

taste (dynamic) = the action of tasting

The chef is tasting the soup

think

think (stative) = have an opinion I think that coffee is great

think (dynamic) = consider, have in my head

what are you thinking about? I’m thinking about my next holiday

 

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