What do the verbs believe, remember, agree, love, hate, feel and think have in common? They are all stative verbs. What are stative verbs and how do we use them in English? That’s what you’ll find out in this episode of Aprender Inglés con Reza y Craig.
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Thanks to Hernando Rodriguez on Twitter who gave us the idea to talk about stative verbs today.
There are some verbs that are not usually used in the continuous form. These are called stative verbs or state verbs.
We usually say I’m sorry, I don’t understand and not X
I’m not understandingX
To make this a bit easier, we can divide these stative verbs into groups
Our first group of stative verbs are often verbs connected with thinking and opinions.
“We should have a coffee break after this podcast. Do you agree?” (NOT: X
Are you agreeingX)
“I don’t know what to say next.” (NOT: X
I’m not knowingX)
Some other verbs in this group of opinion and thinking include: believe, doubt, guess, imagine, mean, remember and think
What’s the difference in meaning between “What are you thinking?” and “What do you think?”
Men only care about what you think, whereas women only care about what you’re thinking!
Another group of stative verbs are connected with feelings and emotions
“I like this podcast. Craig and Reza do a really good job.” (NOT: X
“I hate people who double park and leave the handbrake on.”
“Your sad story moves me.”
Some other stative verbs in this group are: dislike, love, prefer, want, wish, ‘move’
Another group we could make are verbs that describe our senses: ‘see’, ‘hear’, ‘taste’, ‘smell’, ‘feel’
It’s more common to see these verbs in the simple form not the continuous.
What does this room smell of?
How do you feel now that you’re divorced?
This soup tastes great!
These verbs are often used with can: I can’t hear you. / Can you see me? / I can feel your pain. / Can you smell the fish?
Remember, Stative verbs describe things that are not actions.
What’s the difference between these two sentences.
· She smells of fish.
· She’s smelling the fish.
What about these two:
· I think we should do a podcasting tour around Latin America.
· Sorry, what did you say? I was thinking about lunch.
The first sentence is an opinion but the second sentence is an action – it’s a more dynamic verb.
Some verbs can be both stative and dynamic:
be is usually a stative verb, but when it is used in the continuous it means ‘behaving’ or ‘acting’. It becomes a dynamic verb. What’s the difference between these two sentences:
“Craig is stupid.” (part of Craig’s personality)
“Craig is being stupid.” (At the moment. He’s not usually stupid)
The verb ‘have’ can mean to possess or own. In this case it’s stative
I don’t have any pets. How many pairs of shoes do you have?
’Have’ can also be dynamic when it’s used as part of an expression.
Are you having a good time, Reza? Brian’s having a shower. She’s having a baby next month – compare with ‘Have has a baby’
See can be stative
What can you see in this room?
I see = I understand. (I see what you mean)
See can also be dynamic:
I’m seeing a girl from Alicante, for example.
I’m seeing (meeting) Pepito tomorrow. We’re having lunch.
…and now it’s your turn to practise your English.
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On next week’s episode: Rather and Prefer
The music in this podcast is by Pitx. The track is called ‘See You Later’