Stative and dynamic verbs
Verbs can be divided into two types: stative and dynamic verbs.
Stative verbs are also known as state verbs and dynamic verbs are also know as action verbs.
Do you know the difference between stative and dynamic verbs?
Do you know about an important grammar rule that applies to stative and dynamic verbs?
Read the information below and see if your ideas are correct!
Differences between stative and dynamic verbs
- Dynamic verbs describe actions.
For example: to run, to work, to sleep, to eat etc.
- Stative verbs describe things that are not actions.
For example: stative verbs describe feelings, emotions, senses, thoughts, opinions etc. They often refer to things you cannot actually see people doing.
Examples of stative verbs
Thoughts and opinions:
to agree; to know; to realise; to suppose; to understand; to believe; to remember; to think
Feelings and emotions:
to like; to love; to hate; to dislike; to envy; to mind; to want; to need; to desire;
to taste; to smell; to hear; to see
to seem; to belong; to own
Even when we are talking about temporary situations happening now, we generally do not use stative verbs in the continuous form.
Verbs that can be used as stative and dynamic verbs
It is important to note that some verbs can act as both stative and dynamic verbs, depending on their use.
Remember that if you use a stative verb in continuous form, the meaning of what you say will be different!
Here are some examples:
- This bread tastes good
In this sentence, ‘taste’ is used as a stative verb (opinion of the food / the sense of taste).
- The chef is tasting the dinner
In this sentence, ‘taste’ is used as a dynamic verb; it is describing the action of the chef checking the quality of the food.
- I see John! Look there he is!
In this sentence, ‘see’ is used as a stative verb (the sense of sight).
- I am seeing Sue tomorrow.
In this sentence, ‘see’ is used as an active verb (speaker is using present continuous for a future plan).