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Stative Verbs

Stative Verbs List

Grammar explanation

Stative verbs describe a state rather than an action. They aren’t usually used in the present continuous form. Stative Verbs List

I don’t know the answer. I’m not knowing the answer. Stative Verbs List
She really likes you. She’s really liking you. Stative Verbs List
He seems happy at the moment. He’s seeming happy at the moment.

Stative verbs often relate to:

  • thoughts and opinions: agree, believe, doubt, guess, imagine, know, mean, recognize, remember, suspect, think, understand
  • feelings and emotions: dislike, hate, like, love, prefer, want, wish
  • senses and perceptions: appear, be, feel, hear, look, see, seem, smell, taste
  • possession and measurement: belong, have, measure, own, possess, weigh.

Verbs that are sometimes stative

A number of verbs can refer to states or actions, depending on the context.

I think it’s a good idea.
Wait a moment! I’m thinking.

The first sentence expresses an opinion. It is a mental state, so we use present simple. In the second example the speaker is actively processing thoughts about something. It is an action in progress, so we use present continuous.

Here is a list of Stative Verbs

Verb Correct Not Correct
agree She didn’t agree with us. She wasn’t agreeing with us.
appear It appears to be raining. It is appearing to be raining.
believe I don’t believe the news. I am not believing the news.
belong This book belonged to my


This book was belonging to my


concern This concerns you. This is concerning you.
consist Bread consists of flour, water

and yeast.

Bread is consisting of flour, water

and yeast.

contain This box contains a cake. This box is containing a cake.
depend It depends on the weather. It’s depending on the weather.
deserve He deserves to pass the exam. He is deserving to pass the exam.
disagree I disagree with you. I am disagreeing with you.
dislike I have disliked mushrooms for


I have been disliking mushrooms

for years.

doubt I doubt what you are saying. I am doubting what you are


feel (=have

an opinion)

I don’t feel that this is a good


I am not feeling that this is a good


fit This shirt fits me well. This shirt is fitting me well.
hate Julie’s always hated dogs. Julie’s always been hating dogs.
hear Do you hear music? Are you hearing music?


imagine I imagine you must be tired. I am imagining you must be tired.
impress He impressed me with his story. He was impressing me with his


include This cookbook includes a recipe

for bread.

This cookbook is including a

recipe for bread.

involve The job involves a lot of


The job is involving a lot of


know I’ve known Julie for ten years. I’ve been knowing Julie for ten


like I like reading detective stories. I am liking reading detective


love I love chocolate. I’m loving chocolate.*
matter It doesn’t matter. It isn’t mattering.
mean ‘Enormous’ means ‘very big’. ‘Enormous’ is meaning ‘very big’.
measure (=be


This window measures 150cm.  This window is measuring


mind She doesn’t mind the noise. She isn’t minding the noise.
need At three o’clock yesterday I

needed a taxi.

At three o’clock yesterday I was

needing a taxi.

owe I owe you £20. I am owing you £20.
own She owns two cars. She is owning two cars.
prefer I prefer chocolate ice cream. I am preferring chocolate ice


promise I promise to help you tomorrow. I am promising to help you


realise I didn’t realise the problem. I wasn’t realising the problem.
recognise I didn’t recognise my old friend. I wasn’t recognising my old


remember He didn’t remember my name. He wasn’t remembering my name.
seem The weather seems to be


The weather is seeming to be


sound Your idea sounds great. Your idea is sounding great.
suppose I suppose John will be late. I’m supposing John will be late.


surprise The noise surprised me. The noise was surprising me.
understand I don’t understand this question. I’m not understanding this


want I want to go to the cinema


I am wanting to go to the cinema


weigh (=have


This cake weighs 450g. This cake is weighing 450g.
wish I wish I had studied more. I am wishing I had studied more.


Some verbs can be both stative and dynamic:


be be is usually a stative verb, but when it is used in the continuous it means ‘behaving’ or ‘acting’

you are stupid = it’s part of your personality

you are being stupid = only now, not usually

have have (stative) = own I have a car

have (dynamic) = part of an expression

I’m having a party / a picnic / a bath / a good time / a break

see see (stative) = see with your eyes / understand I see what you mean

I see her now, she’s just coming along the road see (dynamic) = meet / have a relationship with I’ve been seeing my boyfriend for three years

I’m seeing Robert tomorrow

taste (also: smell, feel, look) taste (stative) = has a certain taste This soup tastes great

taste (dynamic) = the action of tasting

The chef is tasting the soup

think think (stative) = have an opinion I think that coffee is great

think (dynamic) = consider, have in my head

what are you thinking about? I’m thinking about my next holiday




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