1. Education
Send to a Friend via Email

stative verb


stative verb

Examples of stative verbs


A verb (such as be, have, like, seem, prefer, understand, doubt, know) used primarily to describe a state or situation as opposed to an action or process. Contrast with dynamic verb.

Stative verbs usually don't occur in the progressive aspect or the imperative mood.

See also:

Examples and Observations:

  • "I hate quotations. Tell me what you know."
    (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

  • "The table is vestigially sticky, the curtains still drawn, the coffee instant, the bacon fatty and the light barely adequate to read my paper."
    (Joe Bennett, Mustn't Grumble. Simon & Schuster, 2006)

  • "The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams."
    (Eleanor Roosevelt)

  • Characteristics of Stative Verbs
    "[S]tative verbs can signify cognitive, emotional and physical states. They have the following characteristics, which can serve as tests for stative verbs:

    • The states expressed are continuous and unchanging while they last, which usually is for a long or indefinite time.
    • They do not have an end point. . . .
    • It is impossible to ask the question How long have/has . . .? (e.g., How long have you known/needed/owned . . .?)
    • They do not normally occur in progressive aspect forms (*She is having a car).
    (Ron Cowan, The Teacher's Grammar of English. Cambridge Univ. Press, 2008)

  • Differences Between Stative and Dynamic Verbs
    "In practice, the boundary between stative and dynamic verbs is sometimes fuzzy, and it is generally more useful to talk of stative and dynamic meaning and usage. In most varieties of English, some verbs are normally stative (therefore no *I am owning this car, *Know how to give first aid!), but others are partly stative and partly dynamic (no *She is liking to help people, but How are you liking your new job?; no *I am forgetting their address, but Forget it!). Some verbs belong to both categories but with distinct meanings, as with have in She has red hair and She is having dinner, In IndE [Indian English], the stative/dynamic distinction described above is considered standard, but it is widely ignored, so that expressions like I am owning this car and She is liking to help people are commonplace."
    (Sylvia Chalker and Tom McArthur, The Oxford Companion to the English Language. Oxford Univ. Press, 1992)

  • Four Semantic Classes of Stative Verbs
    "Our analysis follows previous proposals (notably Leech 2004 and Huddleston and Pullum 2002) that divide verbs lending themselves to stative interpretation into four semantic classes:
    (a) Perception and sensation (e.g. see, hear, smell, hurt, taste) . . .
    (b) Cognition, emotion, attitude (e.g. think, feel, forget, long, remember) . . .
    (c) Having and being (e.g. be, have, have to, cost, require) . . .
    (d) Stance (e.g. sit, stand, lie, live, face)"
    (Geoffrey Leech, Marianne Hundt, Christian Mair, and Nicholas Smith, Change in Contemporary English: A Grammatical Study. Cambridge University Press, 2012)
Also Known As: stative, state verb, static verb
  1. About.com
  2. Education
  3. Grammar & Composition
  4. Grammar & Rhetoric Glossary
  5. RAS Syndrome - Systrophe
  6. stative verb - definition and examples of stative verbs in English

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.