Stative Verbs and
Dynamic Verbs (Action Verbs)

English verbs can be divided into stative verbs and dynamic verbs (also called action verbs). Let's go over each group.

Click Here for Step-by-Step Rules, Stories and Exercises to Practice All English Tenses

Click Here for Step-by-Step Rules, Stories and Exercises to Practice All Tenses

Stative Verbs

Stative verbs are verbs that express a state rather than an action.

be, seem, love, own, want, sound, have, know, understand.

Emily is sad.

Examples sentences:
  • She is a great wife.
  • He seems rather strange.
  • He wanted to see you.
  • That sounds awesome!
  • We have enough things to do.

Stative verbs are usually not used in the progressive tenses.

Incorrect: He is wanting to see you.
Correct: He wants to see you.

Incorrect: I am knowing what to do.
Correct: I know what to do.

Incorrect: They are seeming nice.
Correct: They seem nice.

However, if the same verb is used to describe an actual action (not a state), then it can be used in the progressive tenses.

When the verb "have" means "own" – it is a state. So we do not use it in the progressive tenses.

Incorrect: I am having a laptop.
Correct: I have a laptop.

When the verb "have" means "eat" – it is an actual action. So we can use it in the progressive tenses.

Correct:am having lunch with Kate.
Correct: I have lunch with Kate.

Dynamic Verbs

Dynamic verbs are the opposite of stative verbs. They express a real action.

Jump, swim, catch, write, call, sleep, hit, open, speak.

John cries.
John cries

Example sentences:
  • They swam to the other side.
  • She hit me on the head!
  • Open the window, please.
The dynamic verbs can be used in the progressive tenses.

Correct: He is drinking water.
Correct: He drinks water.

More examples and stative/dynamic verbs exercises

Click here for further explanations, examples and exercises on English dynamic verbs and English stative verbs.

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