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State verbs and Dynamic verbs in English

Use of state verbs

Not every verb can be used in a continuous form; we do not use verbs which express states this way. Verbs which describe actions (dynamic verbs) can be used in the continuous.

The following verbs are not normally used in continuous forms:

Mental and Emotional States
believedoubtfeel (opinion)imagine
know(dis)likelovehate
preferrealiseunderstandknow
realiserecogniseremembersee (understand)
thinkunderstandwantwish

 

Use of the Senses
appearhearlook (seem)see
seemsmellsoundtaste

 

Communication and Reactions
(dis)agreeastonishdenyimpress
meanpleasepromisesurprise

 

Others
bebelongconcernconsist
containdependdeservefit
includeinvolvelackmatter
measure(have length)needoweown
possessweigh  

 

Sometimes state verbs can be used in continuous forms when they have certain meanings. In other meanings it is not possible to use them in continuous forms. Look at the following examples:

VerbSimple formsContinuous forms
feel (to have an opinion)feel that this is the right thing to do.
feel (to feel sth.)How do you feel about me?I am not feeling very well today.
have (to possess)have a new car.
have (to eat)I always have lunch in that restaurant.am having dinner with Susan tonight.
see (to understand)Oh, I see.
see (to meet someone)I often see Susan at the shops.am seeing Susan tonight.
think (to believe)think you are right.
think (to think about)I must think about that.I am thinking about what you said.