Verbs in English are
either stative or
This lesson shows you
how to use both. When
you are done, try the
test at the bottom.
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Stative and Dynamic Verbs
These are for activities. They are actions we can see or hear.
They can be used in all verb tenses in English. Here are some
These are states or feelings. They can't be seen or heard. They
are never used in continuous tenses. These are some
The main thing to consider is these words can't be used in
- I am loving baseball.
- I was wanting pizza for dinner.
- I am needing ten dollars.
Some stative verbs can be used actively in special situations:
- You are annoying.
- You are being annoying.
- I think studying history is important.
- I am thinking about my girlfriend.
- I have a dog.
- I am having a party.
- I am having a good time.
- I am not feeling well.
- I feel that the test is difficult.
Verbs of the senses can be complicated. Use these rules to
understand which verbs are active and which are stative.
Listen is active and hear is stative.
- I am listening to the radio.
- I am hearing the radio. (Incorrect)
Watch and look are active and see is stative
- I am watching television.
- I am looking at the news paper.
- I am seeing the bird. (Incorrect)
Watch is used for things that move or show actions.
(Television, sports, etc.)
Look is for things that do not move.
(Art, Books, etc.)
Smell can be active or stative depending on the situation.
- I am smelling (the action of smelling)
- I smell something burning.
Taste can also be active or stative.
- I am tasting the soup. (Action)
However, it is better to say “I am trying the soup.”
- I taste salt in this soup. (State)
Practice Stative & Dynamic Verbs with this test:
Stative & Dynamic Verbs Test