Grammar Time: Stative Verbs

Exam in Mind  Level B1 /B2

The English verb could be classified as dynamic, stative, or both. A dynamic verb describes an action; a stative verb describes a condition. Stative verbs describe permanent states or conditions. These verbs cannot be used in the continuous tenses.

What are stative verbs? Verbs that are always stative describe:

  • sensessee, hear, smell, feel, notice, sound, taste, etc.
  • mental stateadmire, believe, desire, doubt, know, need, realize, recognize, suppose, understand, agree, think, expect, consider, forget, imagine, intend, remember, etc.
  • emotional states and feelings:  adore, desire, despise, detest, envy, forgive, hate, loathe, (dis)like, love, need, pity, prefer, trust, want, wish, amaze, appreciate, astonish, care, envy, fear, hate, mind, please, prefer, etc. 
  • possession: belong to, have (own), include, lack, own, possess, etc. 
  • existing or being: be, consist of, contain, exist, etc. 
  • appearance: appear, seem, look, resemble, etc.
  • other verbs: concern, depend, deserve, fit, matter, mean, mind, owe, require, cost, deserve, equal, involve, matter, perceive, promise, etc. 

Some stative verbs can be used as dynamic but then there is a difference in meaning. 

Compare:

1. I see exactly what you mean. (I understand)  She is seeing a lawyer tonight. (She’s meeting)

2. Peter thinks he knows everything. (He believes)  He’s thinking of studying Law. (He’s considering)

3. They have a villa in France. (They own)  He’s having problems with his car. (He’s experiencing)

4. A baby’s skin feels very smooth. (It has a smooth texture)  He’s feeling the engine to see how hot it is. (He’s touching)

5. This soup tastes of garlic. (It has the taste of garlic) Why are you tasting the curry? (Why are you testing the flavour?)

6. The room smells of fresh flowers. (It has the smell of flowers)  Why are you smelling that meat? (Why are you checking its smell?)

7. Peter is difficult person to get on with. (His character is difficult) Jane is being particularly generous this week. (She is behaving generously)

8. She looks as if she’s going to faint. (She appears)  They are looking at the photos. (They are viewing)

9. The patient appears to be recovering. (He seems to be) Simply Red are appearing on the stage next week. (They are giving a performance)

10. Sam now weighs more than his father. (His weight is more than his father’s weight)  The doctor is weighing the baby. (She’s finding out its weight)

11. My uniform doesn’t fit me. (It isn’t the right size)  We are fitting a new kitchen next week. (We are installing)

12. Most people enjoy eating out. (They like in general) She is enjoying every minute of her holiday. (She likes specifically)

13. The sign means ‘slow down’. (to express or represent something) You are always meaning to call on us, but you never do. (You are intending)

Exercise 1. Fill in with Present Simple or Present Continuous paying attention to stative verbs.

1. I (see)_______________ an old friend tonight. – I (see)________________ – so you won’t be able to meet me after work, will you?

2. Why you (smell)_______________ the milk? – It (smell)______________ a bit strange. I think it might have gone off.

3. You (enjoy)_______________ reading Jane Austen’s novels? – Not usually, but I (enjoy)_______________ this particular one.

4. Why John (be)_______________ so bad tempered today? – I don’t know. He (be)_______________ usually so easy to get on with.

5. I (think)_______________ of doing a course in English – What you (think)______________? Is it a good idea?

6. You (have)_______________ the phone number of a good business consultant? – Why? You (have)_______________ problems at work?

7. Why you (taste)_______________ the baby’s drink? – It (taste)_______________ a little bitter. I (think)_______________ I’ll add some more sugar.

8. John (feel)_______________ OK? He (look)__________ very red in the face. – Yes, I know. I (look)_______________ for the doctor’s telephone number.

9. I hear the Fords (look)_______________ for a bigger house. – Yes, it (look)_______________ as if they are going to move.

10. How much the parcel (weigh)_______________? – I’m not sure. The assistant (weigh)_______________ it at the moment.

11. The singer (appear)_______________ tonight? – Unfortunately not. She (appear)_______________ to have lost her voice.

12. Why you (smell)_______________ the roses? – They always (smell)_______________ so wonderful at that time of the year.

13. You (have)_______________ a car? – Yes, I (have)_______________ some problems with it, so it’s at the garage now.

14. Tom (be)_______________ usually a very quiet boy. – Yes, but he (be)_______________ very noisy today.

15. Why you (feel)_______________ a radiator? – I (not/think)_______________ it (work). It (feel)___________ cold in here.

Source:

  • О.И. Поварго The English Language Grammar Practice Английский язык Практическая грамматика
  • https://www.engvid.com/english-resource/stative-verbs-in-english