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STATIVE vs ACTION VERBS

All verbs in English are classified as either stative or action verbs.


Action verbs describe actions we take (things we do) or things that happen.
Stative verbs refer to the way things 'are' - their appearance, state of being, smell, etc.
The most important difference between stative and action verbs is that action verbs can be used
in continuous tenses and stative verbs cannot be used in continuous tenses.
Action Verbs
arrive grow read
ask have say
call help shrink
change hit speak
cook hurt talk
dance itch throw
eat kick travel
fall knock watch
feel leave
go melt

Example :
1. She's studying math with Tom at the moment and she studies math with Tom every Friday.
2. They've been working since seven o'clock this morning and they worked for two hours yesterday
afternoon.
3. We'll be having a meeting when you arrive and we are going to meet next Friday.

Stative Verbs
1. The flowers smell lovely.
 NOT Those flowers are smelling lovely.
2. She heard him speak in Seattle yesterday afternoon.
 NOT She was hearing him speak in Seattle yesterday afternoon.
3. They'll love the concert tomorrow evening.
 NOT They'll be loving the concert tomorrow evening.

Common Stative Verbs


There are many more action verbs than stative verbs.
appear cost have need seem
believe doubt know owe suppose
belong exist like own suspect
consider fit love prefer understand
consist hate matter remember want
contain hear mean resemble wish

 Be - He is from Dallas, TX in the Southwest.


 Hate - She hates ironing clothes, but doesn't want to wear them wrinkled.
 Like - I like spending time with my friends.
 Love - She loves her children just as any mother loves her children.
 Need - I'm afraid I don't need a new pair of shoes.
 Belong - Do these keys belong to you?
 Believe - Jason believes the news about the company, but I don't.
 Cost - How much does that book cost?
 Get - I get the situation, but I still don't know the answer.
 Impress - Does Tom impress you with all his knowledge?
 Know - She knows the answer, but she doesn't want to give it away.
 Reach - Can I reach and take the hamburger?
 Recognize - Susan recognizes the need for a discussion.
 Taste - The wine tastes very fruity, but still has a dry finish.
 Think - I think that's a good idea.
 Understand - Do you understand the question?
You may notice that some of these verbs can be used as action verbs with different meanings. For
example, the verb 'to think' can either express an opinion or the process of considering. In the first case,
when 'think' expresses an opinion it is stative:
 I think she should work harder on her math.
 She thinks he is a fantastic singer.
'Think', however, can also express the process of considering something. In this case 'think' is an action
verb:
 They're thinking about buying a new house.
 She's thinking of joining a health club.

Stative verbs fall into four groups:


1. Verbs Showing Thought or Opinions
 Know - She knows the answer to the question.
 Believe - Do you believe what he says every time?
 Understand - I understand the situation very well.
 Recognize - She recognizes him from high school.
2. Verbs Showing Possession
 Have - I have a car and a dog.
 Own - Peter owns a motorcycle and a scooter, but no car.
 Belong - Do you belong to the fitness club?
 Possess - She possesses an incredible talent for talking.
3. Verbs Showing Senses
 Hear - I hear someone in the other room.
 Smell - It smells bad in here. Did you fart?
 See - I see three trees in the yard.
 Feel - I feel happy this afternoon.
4. Verbs Showing Emotion
 Love - I love listening to classical music.
 Hate - She hates to get up early every day.
 Want - I want some help with my homework.
 Need - I need some time with my friends.

PRACTICE 1
Fill in the blanks with the correct verbs.

1. ……………………………… (have) breakfast (eating breakfast).


2. He ……………………………… (be) immature. (he is temporarily acting immature)
3. He ……………………………… (smell) the cookies.
4. He ………………………………(have) fun (experiencing fun).
5. He ……………………………… (be) immature. (he is always immature)
6. He ……………………………… (not, understand) the article.
7. He ……………………………… (seem) upset last night.
8. I ……………………………… (know) my best friend since childhood.
9. I ………………………………(see) the doctor tomorrow.
10. I ………………………………(think) unusually tired lately.
11. I ……………………………… (have) a car. He ……………………………… (have) a dog.
12. I ……………………………… (see) what you mean.
13. I ……………………………… (think) that this is not the best use of our time.
14. I ……………………………… (think) that’s a great idea!
15. I ……………………………… (hear) some music playing.
16. Our tour ……………………………… (include) a visit to the Modern Art Museum.
17. She ……………………………… (taste) the soup to see if it needs more salt.
18. She has ……………………………… (always, hate) jazz.
19. Success ……………………………… (depend) on how much effort you make.
20. That cake ……………………………… (look)delicious!
21. The architects ……………………………… (measure) the distance between the pillars.
22. The bar ……………………………… (smell) of smoke.
23. The box ……………………………… (contain) a pair of earrings.
24. The butcher ………………………………(weigh) the meat on the scale.
25. The suitcase ……………………………… (weigh) 20 pounds.
26. The surfboard ……………………………… (measure) 2 meters by 55 centimeters.
27. They ……………………………… (look after) my dog for the weekend.
28. They ……………………………… (see) each other for a month.
29. This book ……………………………… (belong) to the teacher.
30. This class ……………………………… (involve) lots of research.
31. This meat ……………………………… (taste) like chicken.
32. This perfume ……………………………… (smell) like roses.
33. This piece of meat ……………………………… (weigh) two pounds.
34. We ……………………………… (think) about moving to another city.

PRACTICE 2
Fill in the blanks with the correct verbs.

1. Can you help me, please? I ……………………………… (look) for Mr. Smith's office.
2. Could you call a little later? We ……………………………… (have) dinner now.
3. Don't interrupt me! I ……………………………… (think) about my exam now.
4. He often ………………………… (help) other people. I ……………………… (think) he is a good man.
5. Helen ……………………………… (study) geometry with her father at the moment.
6. I don't know her but she ……………………………… (seem) like such a nice girl.
7. I eat a lot of chocolate because I ……………………………… (love) sweets.
8. I ……………………………… (have) dinner with my friends now. Can you call me later?
9. I ……………………………… (see) my doctor today at twelve o'clock. I have regular checkups.
10. I ……………………………… (see) a little boy in the room. He is sleeping on the sofa.
11. I ……………………………… (still, have) a bag full of these tin soldiers. I collected them when I was a
kid.
12. I ……………………………… (think) about this project since last spring.
13. Is that Alan over there? He ……………………………… (look) old and tired. Is he sick?
14. Look at my sons! They ……………………………… (write) a letter to Santa Claus.
15. My coffee ……………………………… (taste) bitter. Pass me the sugar, please.
16. She ……………………………… (know) him for quite a long time. They are good friends.
17. She ……………………………… (taste) the soup in the kitchen when the telephone rang.
18. They ……………………………… (write) a letter to Santa Claus every winter.
19. This girl standing next to your brother ……………………………… (look) very pretty.
20. This soup ……………………………… (taste) good. I really like it.
21. Tom has been driving for ten hours. I ……………………………… (imagine) he must be tired.
22. We ……………………………… (expecting) our first baby. It will be a boy.
23. What ……………………………… (look) at? - I am looking at this funny black dog.
24. What ……………………………… (think) about our new president? - I don't think much of him.
25. Your bag ……………………………… (weigh) a ton. There are too many books in it.

PRACTICE 3
Complete each sentence using the stative-verb from the parenthesis:

1. Can you ……………………………… the coffee brewing? (feel, smell, dislike)


2. Do you ……………………………… the answer? (depend on, know, include)
3. Do you ……………………………… they will win? (think, involve, promise)
4. I ……………………………… good about the race’s outcome. (am, were, feel)
5. I still ……………………………… a lot of money on my student loans. (deserve, owe, involve)
6. I think the teacher was ……………………………… with my speech. (involved, measured, satisfied)
7. Jim ……………………………… dessert every day. (has, eats, possesses)
8. She ……………………………… her mother. (imagines, resembles, walks with)
9. They really ……………………………… everything you did for them. (include, appreciate, dislike)
10. You ……………………………… more shoes than anyone else I know! (dislike, suppose, have)

PRACTICE 3
Use one verb for each group of two or three sentences. Use a suitable simple or continuous tense. In each
group there is at least one in a simple tense and at least one in a continuous tense. For this exercise,
don't use contractions.
appear · see · hear · feel · look · smell · sound · taste

1 a She ……………………………… different perfumes as I walked into the cosmetics department.

b These roses ……………………………… wonderful. Did you grow them yourself?

2 a I ……………………………… that there is too big a gap between the rich and the poor.

b She says she ……………………………… really good at the moment.

3 a Listen! They ……………………………… the gong for lunch. We'd better hurry.

b I have to say, your plan ……………………………… very interesting.

c That ……………………………… like Peter now.

4 a I ……………………………… you're getting married.

b I thought I ……………………………… somebody at the door, but I must have ………………………………


things.

5 a She ……………………………… wines all yesterday afternoon.

b This soup ……………………………… delicious.


6 a I will ……………………………… him later today. Do you want me to give him a message?

b We will ……………………………… if we've got time later on.

c Ah! I ……………………………… her now; she's over there by the fountain.

7 a Currently she ……………………………… at the Strand Theatre in a play by Strindberg.

b He ……………………………… to be asleep.

8 a I ……………………………… at the newspaper when I came across this article.

b Let's see it. Oh yes, it ……………………………… rather interesting.

PRACTICE 5

Use one verb for each pair of sentences, once in a simple tense, once in a continous tense.

consider · cost · disagree · imagine · love · measure · recognise · remember · want ·


weigh

1 a I hope you ……………………………… about the party tonight.

b It's a long time since we last met. I hope she ……………………………… me.

2 a She ……………………………… every minute of her new job.

b She ……………………………… playing golf at the weekend.

3 a I see you ……………………………… with me yet again just for the hell of it.

b They ……………………………… on so many things, yet they get along really well.

4 a It ……………………………… a lot of money to travel by train nowadays.

b This transport strike ……………………………… the company a lot of money.

5 a More and more people ……………………………… the importance of the environment.

b He ……………………………… her immediately, even though he hadn't seen her for ages.

6 a We ……………………………… moving out to the country.

b He ……………………………… shaving a waste of time.

7 a Where are our potatoes? The shop assistant ……………………………… them.

b This shopping ……………………………… a ton. Can you help me with it?

8 a If you ……………………………… that I'm going to tidy up all this mess, you're mistaken, young
lady!

b If you ……………………………… a tropical island with lots of palm trees; that's what it's like.

9 a Was there anything else you ……………………………… ?

b As a child he always ……………………………… to be an engineer when he grew up.

10 a He's ……………………………… the room for a new carpet.

b The room ……………………………… three metres by four.