Stative Verbs in English

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Stative Verbs in English

The importance of knowing the verbs in English is CRUCIAL. Perhaps you remember that in the post of the verb tenses in English we commented on several occasions that there was not everything. We wanted to make a slightly less data heavy posts, to focus only on the foundations of verb tenses. In today’s post we are going to talk about one of the branches that come out of the verb tenses and that you should know: the static verbs in English or ‘Stative verbs’.

What are ‘Stative Verbs’?

They are verbs that CANNOT be used continuously , that is, in those verbs that must be conjugated continuously, they will NOT be formulated like this. Statives Verbs are verbs that describe states, conditions, and situations.

For example: remember – remembering; want – wanting

Verbs that CAN be formulated continuously are called Dynamic Verbs, for example: work – working.

What categories do ‘Stative Verbs’ have?

They can be grouped into several, such as:

  1. State verbs: They express opinion.
  • agree, think, believe, disagree, feel, doubt, depend, understand, know, mean, remember, seem, look (= seem), mind, suppose, guess, appear, matter, concern, realize

2. Verbs about likes

  • like, dislike, prefer, love, hate.

3. Verbs about possession

  • have, possess, belong, own, owe, lack, include, involve

4. Verbs that express characteristics of something

  • weigh, measure, consist, contain

5. Verbs that express need

  • need, want, wish, deserve …

6. Verbs related to perception

  • sound, hear, taste, see, smell, imagine, recognize, satisfy

Are there any exceptions to ‘Stative Verbs’?

Yes, they are the so-called Mixed Verbs . They are verbs that can be formulated as Stative Verbs but also as Dynamic Verbs. They are also verbs that include under themselves, different meanings, and are:

  • be, have, think, see, taste (smell), and mind.

Let’s see one by one why they can be static or dynamic.

  • The verb to be’

She is friendly —> Ella es amable.

Here we find the static form of the verb, because it is a characteristic of that person

She is being friendly —> Ella está siendo amable

Here the verb becomes dynamic, because in reality, it is not usually friendly; but at that moment it is. It is not an innate characteristic of that person.

  • The verb ‘to have’

have a job —> Tengo un trabajo

We find in this example, one of the forms of static verbs, when they refer to possession

Are you having a good time? —> ¿Lo estás pasando bien?

  • The verb ‘to think’

think it is wrong to smoke —> Pienso que está mal fumar

Here the verb think is in opinion mode, so it should be treated as a static verb

I’m thinking about buying a new car —> Estoy pensando en comprarme un coche nuevo

In this sentence it reflects a thought, an idea, simply.

  • The verb ‘to see’ :

This verb is very particular, because it can have different meanings. If it is in static mode, it can mean seeing or understanding ; but, if it is switched to dynamic mode, it has two other different meanings which are meeting someone or having a relationship. 

see what you mean—> Entiendo lo que quieres decir
see you now, you are in front of the bookshop —> Ahora te veo, estás delante de la librería

Two clear examples of the verb To See in static mode, with their two corresponding meanings

I´m seeing Mary this afternoon —> Voy a ver a Mary esta tarde
I´ve been seeing my girlfriend since last August —> He estado viendo a mi novia desde agosto del año pasado

The verb becomes dynamic when it refers to the verbs to meet someone or have a relationship.

  • ‘to taste’

The food tastes good —> La comida sabe bien

Static form, is giving an opinion
The cook is tasting the food —> El cocinero está probando la comida

Dynamic way, the cook is performing an action.

  • The verb to mind

I don’t mind if we watch a movie tonight —> No me molesta si vemos una película esta noche

The verb mind, reflects a state of mind, becomes static.

I’m minding my own business —> Me estoy ocupando de mi negocio

The verb becomes dynamic as it represents an action that the speaker is performing.

Finally, we want to leave you this table with the different static verbs that exist.




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 traveling The job is involving a lot of traveling
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
sees it 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 owe
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
realized  I didn’t realize the problem I wasn’t realizing the problem
recognize I didn’t recognize my old friend I wasn’t recognizing 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

This was one of the topics we wanted to talk about when formulating verb tenses, in this case, the continuous ones. But still there are more “branches” to deal with this great topic, which we will explain little by little on the blog.

We hope it has been of help to you and has clarified doubts if you have them. And if you have any questions related to the next calls for any official English exam, here are the closest ones. 🙂

¡Compártelo con quien tu quieras!

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