GRAMMAR: Stative and dynamic verbs

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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!

stative_and_dynamic_verbsDifferences 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.

For example:
This meat tastes delicious!  Correct
This meat is tasting delicious!  Incorrect


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).

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