In a previous post, we went over dynamic verbs vs. stative verbs.
Here is a quick reminder:
Dynamic = moving or changing.
Dynamic verbs are verbs that describe an action, not a state.
Take, break, eat, jump, work, find, buy, dance, fish.
Stative = having a state, or existing.
Stative verbs are verbs that describe a state, not an action.
Have, love, agree, be, want, hate, know, own, cost, sound, prefer, seem, hear.
Note that stative verbs usually describe:
– Relationships between things or people (for example, “have”)
- Emotions or states of mind (for example, “love” and “agree”)
- Appearance and senses (for example, “seem” and “hear”)
- Measurements (for example, “weigh”)
Using stative verbs
Stative verbs are not usually used in the progressive tenses.
Correct: I love you.
Incorrect: I’m loving you.
Correct: Do you agree?
Incorrect: Are you agreeing?
Correct: He doesn’t deserve to win.
Incorrect: He isn’t deserving to win.
Correct: She hated the winter.
Incorrect: She was hating the winter.
Correct: Did you hear that noise?
Incorrect: Were you hearing that noise?
Correct: The trip didn’t include a visit to the beach.
Incorrect: The trip wasn’t including a visit to the beach.
Correct: They will remember us.
Incorrect: They will be remembering us.
Correct: Will it surprise you?
Incorrect: Will it be surprising you?
Correct: This will probably weigh a lot.
Incorrect: This will probably be weighing a lot.
As you must know, words usually have more than a single meaning.
Likewise, some verbs have both stative and dynamic meanings.
For example, the verb “have” is such a verb.
It has many different meanings (you can learn about them in the English Helping Verbs Course).
One of these meanings is “to own.”
This is a stative meaning, since it describes a state, and not an actual action.
“I have two cats.”
“You have a new laptop.”
“We have too many problems.”
Another meaning of the verb “have” is “to drink, eat, or smoke
“They had a drink at the bar.”
“We have lunch every day at noon.”
“I will have a cigarette or two.”
I think you can agree with me that this meaning is fully dynamic.
Drinking, eating and smoking are definitely actions and not states.
So in such a case, “have” can be used in the progressive tenses,
Correct: We never have breakfast. (dynamic meaning)
Correct: We are having lunch right now. (dynamic meaning)
Correct: We have a house. (stative meaning)
Incorrect: We are having a house. (stative meaning)
Correct: Jenifer tastes wine for a living. (dynamic meaning)
Correct: Jenifer is tasting some wine right now. (dynamic meaning)
Correct: This wine tastes awful. (stative meaning)
Incorrect: This wine is tasting awful. (stative meaning)
Correct: I always think too much. (dynamic meaning)
Correct: I am thinking about your offer. (dynamic meaning)
Correct: I think you are right. (stative meaning)
Incorrect: I am thinking you are right. (stative meaning)
Here are some verbs with both dynamic and stative meanings:
Be, have, see, smell, taste, think, expect, feel.
Example sentences (stative and then dynamic):
He is (has the identity of) a boy /
He is being (behaving) naughty.
I can see (notice with eyes) you now /
I am seeing (dating) a doctor.
He can’t smell (notice the smell) from birth /
Your puppy is always smelling (trying to get the smell of) me.
This cake tastes (has a taste) great /
We are just tasting (checking the taste of) the cake.
They think (have opinion) this is wrong /
They are thinking (considering) what to do.
I don’t expect (think it will happen) a raise /
We were not expecting (waiting for) any guests.
She feels (has a feeling) depressed /
She is feeling (touching) the texture of the fabric.
For more info and a set of online exercises, visit Dynamic Verbs and Stative Verbs – Examples and Exercises.