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Grammar / 17 August 2020

Stative Vs Dynamic Verbs

Which famous fast-food chain uses the well-known slogan ‘I’m Lovin’ It!”? Yep, that’s right – McDonalds! Well, we have news for you – it’s grammatically incorrect!

 

‘Love’ is a stative verb, meaning it describes a state, and this form of verbs cannot be used in the ‘-ing’ form.

 

Stative Verbs

Stative verbs are used to describe situations that do not change or where there is no action. In contrast, dynamic verbs are used to describe actions or processes. This is similar to the difference between the present simple and the present continuous, for example:

  • She smells of roses – STATIVE
  • She is smelling the roses – DYNAMIC

 

Stative verbs generally fall into four categories:

 

  STATIVE VERBS EXAMPLE
OPINION
  • know
  • think
  • agree
  • believe
  • mean
  • doubt

I know how you feel.

NOT – I am knowing how you feel.

I believe you.

NOT – I am believing you.

POSSESSION
  • have
  • own
  • belong

She has a BMW.

NOT – She is having a BMW

It belongs to him.

NOT – It is belonging to him.

EMOTION and FEELINGS
  • love
  • like
  • hate
  • need
  • want

My grandma hates rap music.

NOT – My grandma is hating rap music.

I want a bike for Christmas.

NOT – I am wanting a bike for Christmas.

SENSES (often used with ‘can’)
  • hear
  • see
  • taste
  • smell
  • feel

What can I hear?

NOT – What am I hearing?

I can taste chilli in this dip.

NOT – I am tasting chilli in this dip.

 

Stative and Dynamic Verbs

Of course, as with any grammar rule, there are exceptions and some verbs can be both stative and dynamic. Consider:

  • My dad thinks we need a gardener.
  • My dad is thinking of getting a gardener.

 

Example 1 refers to the dad’s opinion, whereas example 2 informs us that the dad is considering something at the moment and therefore the progressive form is used.

 

Test Yourself

Try out your new knowledge by filling in the blank with either the stative or the dynamic form:

 

She ________ a shower every morning. (have)
This chicken ________ right. (not/taste)
I ________ about my exam tomorrow? (think – in response to why you look worried)
______ a drink? (want)
She ________ the milk. (smell – in response to someone asking what the person is doing in the kitchen)

 

One thing that should be mentioned and remembered is that language is changing all the time, not least the English language. While reading this blog, you’ve probably been thinking of all different examples of when you have heard someone using the ‘-ing’ form where the rules tell you not to. The girl on your favourite American TV series who declares to her friend “I’m loving your new hair style!” or the politician who exclaims “Are you hearing me?!”.

American English in particular has been using this form as part of everyday speech for a long time now and it is becoming more and more common in British English too. So while we wouldn’t advise you to walk up to your boss and ask if she is ‘liking your recent report’, you may find it creeping into your colloquial language while you’re enjoying a drink with your friends.

ANSWERS: 1. has   2. does not taste   3. am thinking   4. Do you want   5. is smelling

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17 August 2020
Grammar
3 MIN
2
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Which famous fast-food chain uses the well-known slogan ‘I’m Lovin’ It!”? Yep, that’s right – McDonalds! Well, we have news for yo...