In Grammar By Alexandra

Verbs state in English (Stative Verbs)

English verbs can be classified by various criteria, and one of them — the transfer of an action or state of the subject. Accordingly, all verbs can be divided into dynamic or action verbs (Dynamic Verbs) and static or state verbs (Stative Verbs).

Dynamic verbs reported that the subject makes a certain physical action. This group includes most of the known verbs (to eat, to run, to write, to burn, etc.), and each of them describes a specific physical action clear.

Another thing — the words of the state. Their task is clear from the title: they convey status, feelings, attitudes, mental processes, and other characteristics of the subject. For example, the verbs state are such simple words, and we know how to love and to hate, to remember and to forget, to understand and to believe, to look and to feel. These verbs we find almost the first lesson in English and do not even know that they fall into a certain classification and have their grammatical features. A major difference from the dynamic verbs that are not used in the times of the group Continuous, ie They can not have a long time. Indeed, you can not watch as we know or believe, it’s not a physical process, but the result of human mental activity. The same can be said about all Stative Verbs (of course, with some exceptions, as is usual in the English language).

First, let’s find out what other verbs Stative Verbs are and what they are divided into groups:

  1. Physical perception verbs (verbs of physical perception): to hear, to notice, to see;
  2. The verbs of emotional state (verbs denoting emotions): to adore, to care for, to detest, to dislike, to hate, to like, to love, to respect;
  3. Verbs desire (verbs denoting wish): to desire, to want, to wish;
  4. The verbs of mental activity (verbs denoting mental processes): to admire (in the sense of «cheering»), to appreciate, to assume, to believe (to believe), to consider (count anyone regarded as), to doubt, to expect ( to believe), to feel (to believe), to imagine, to know, to mind (mind), to perceive, to presume, to recall, to recognize, to recollect, to regard, to remember, to suppose, to think (think) , to trust, to understand;
  5. Verbs relationship (relational verbs): to apply, to be, to belong, to concern, to consist, to contain, to depend, to deserve, to differ, to equal, to fit, to have, to hold (keep), to include, to involve, to lack, to matter, to need, to owe, to own, to possess, to remain, to require, to resemble, to result, to signify, to suffice;
  6. Other verbs: to agree, to allow, to appear (seem), to astonish, to claim, to consent, to displease, to envy, to fail to do, to feel, to find, to forbid, to forgive, to intend, to interest, to keep doing, to manage to do, to mean, to object, to please, to prefer, to prevent, to puzzle, to realize, to refuse, to remind, to satisfy, to seem, to smell, to sound , to succeed, to suit, to surprise, to taste, to tend, to value.

It seems that to remember a long list of anything unrelated English word is simply unrealistic. In fact, doing so is not necessary, the main thing — to understand the principle on which it was in a particular verb, and it is important to remember that these verbs do not denote physical action. You can just remember the names of the groups, and will remember the words of their own.

So we have to remember that all these verbs are verbs of state and not to use them in times of group Continuous, because we do not want to seem illiterate! Think of the most simple phrase in English:

  • I understand you. / I understand what you mean.
  • I need a minute to write it down.
  • I like roses.
  • I have a car.

We never say I’m understanding and I’m needing in plain English speech.

It seems that everything is clear, and here comes the time to talk about exceptions. In this case they will be determined by the British polysemous word, i.e. the ability to have more than one lexical meaning. For example, the same verb may have a value of physical action and to belong to one of the types of verbs state. Among them, a friendly and familiar verb to see:

to see — see (stative), dating (dynamic)

I see a woman in an elegant suit. — I see a woman in an elegant suit.

He’s seeing his parents after work. — He meets with the parents after work.

Here’s another example:

to appear — appear (stative), on stage (dynamic)

She appears to be very happy with her new fiancé. — I think she is very happy with his new bride.

My favourite band is appearing on Sunday. — What is your favorite band performing on Sunday.

Verbs taste (taste / taste), smell (smell / smell), look (look / watch), feel (feel / touch), think (think / ponder) is also subject to this principle. To understand whether the verb in a particular case, dynamic or static, you need a good understanding of the context in which it is used.

It is interesting to observe the use of the verb to have both static and dynamic. So when the verb is to have the state and is set to «be», «have», it can not be used in Continuous Tenses. But if to have a sustained part of the expression (to have dinner, to have a shower), he began working as a dynamic verb:

We have a big house in the suburbs. — We have a big house on the outskirts of the city.

I’m having lunch, so I’ll call you later. — Now I have dinner, so call back later.

The verb to be, too, can be used in times of group Continuous, but only under certain restrictions: it will be used for the transmission of temporary status or behavior, such as:

You are being too quiet today. What’s wrong? — Something you really subsided today. What happened?

She is being a pop-star. — It behaves just like a pop star.

In addition, the verb to be to be put in a Continuous grammatical considerations of the passive voice in the forms and Present Continuous Passive Past Continuous Passive:

A new church is being built in our district. — In our district build a new church.

An applicant was being interviewed when I came to the office yesterday morning. — When I came to the office yesterday morning, a contender for the job interview was conducted.

The verb can be used to enjoy in the Continuous Tenses, if it denotes pleasure something specific:

I’m enjoying my holiday in Italy. — I’m very good on holiday in Italy.

I’m enjoying the performance a lot. — I like the way this performance!

In other cases, to enjoy acts as a verb status:

I enjoy watching horror films at night. — I like to watch horror movies at night.

Verbs to look (look), to feel (feel), to hurt and to ache (hurt) can be used in times of Continuous, and in time Simple, and the value will not change, and it will not look like a grammatical error.

You’re looking (= you look) much younger in this brightly-colored summer dress. — This bright summer dress you look much younger.

I’m feeling (= I feel) more confident after my promotion. — I feel more confident after the increase.

My leg hurts (is hurting) me. — Leg hurts.

And finally, the most interesting. Most verbs state can use in time for the expression of bright Continuous positive or negative emotions or special treatment:

I’m loving you. — I love you so much!

I’m hating the way you treat waiters. — I hate it how you treat waiters.

I’m needing you, do not leave! — Do you really need me, do not go!

Verbs state (Stative Verbs) may seem like a daunting topic, but do not panic if you do not immediately understand it completely and do not remember all the verbs and the difference in their values. Most read books in English, think about why the author uses a specific time and how he expresses it, and the need to teach static verbs you simply disappear. Mention of static verbs are in the description of almost every time the English language, so sooner or later this issue will be acquired by itself.



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