Let’s Learn Stative Verbs In English

Michael Grammar

What are stative verbs in English? Well, there are basically two types of verbs in English – ACTION verbs and STATIVE verbs. Action verbs do just that, they show us an action or movement. On the other hand, stative verbs show us a state or condition. It’s a good idea to know the difference between action and stative verbs and most importantly, know how to use them. For today’s English lesson, let’s take a look at some stative verbs.  Read the paragraph below and then check out today’s lesson:

I feel tired today. Maybe it’s because of the heat. It feels like the temperature is almost 38°C (90°F). When it gets this hot I like to drink iced tea. It tastes so refreshing. When I see a glass I feel the coolness coming to greet me. Iced tea even smells like summer.

Feel, hear, see, smell, taste, touch are all verbs that have to do with our senses and there are two key points to keep in mind. First, we generally don’t use our effort or intention when we feel, hear, see, smell, & taste. Secondly, in general stative verbs are not used in a progressive form. You know, that’s the BE + ING form. When they are used in a progressive form, the meaning is slightly different. Let’s check it out!

As a stative verb, feel refers to how our senses react to our environment or body condition. We don’t use our effort to feel.

  • feel really warm today.
  • This cool air conditioning feels good
  • Mary said she feels like she is catching a cold.

In the progressive form, feeling is similar to touching and refers to using your effort to make physical contact with something.

  • I am feeling the edge of the glass to see if there are any cracks or chips.

As a stative verb, hear refers to sound coming into our ears. We don’t use our effort to hear. As well, hear is not used in the progressive form:

  • hear a strange noise coming from the basement. Not, I am hearing….
  • Do you hear that? I think the neighbors are fighting again. Not, Are you hearing…

As a stative verb, see refers to light and images coming into our eyes. We don’t use our effort to see. Like hear, see is also not used in the progressive form:

  • see a frog under that tree. Not, I am seeing…
  • Do you see the frog, too? Not, Are you seeing…

As a stative verb, smell refers to aroma or odor coming into our nose. We don’t use our effort to smell.

  • Fresh bread always smells nice. Not, Fresh bread always is smelling nice.
  • smell pizza. Who brought the pizza? Not, I am smelling pizza.
  • I can’t smell anything when I catch a cold.

In the progressive form, smelling refers to using your effort (and your nose) to check the aroma or odor of something.

  • A: What are you doing?
  • B: I am smelling this rose. It smells so nice.

As a stative verb, taste refers to the the reaction of our tongue to what we put in our mouth.

  • This alligator tastes like chicken. Not, This alligator is tasting like chicken.
  • Grilled fish tastes better than deep-fried fish.

In the progressive form, tasting refers to using your effort and your tongue to sample the flavor of something:

  • A: What are you doing?
  • B: I am tasting the soup. I think it needs more salt.

This is the basic idea of what these stative verbs mean and how they are used. Why not leave a comment below with your examples?

If you know anyone who might be interested in this English language point, why not help them out! Just share this lesson with them. Thanks for studying today!

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