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Event verbs vs State verbs

Verbs in English can be classified into two categories: event verbs and state verbs.

Event verbs
Also known as Dynamic or Action verbs.
Refer to events - happenings that begin and end at a definite time.
These events can be activities or momentary actions.
These verbs can be used in all English Tenses.

Examples:
Jack built a beautiful house by the beach.


She is playing tennis right now.


John has been drinking since his wife left him.



There are a lot of action verbs and it would be very difficult to put them all here, but I managed to list a few
of them:
add
allow
bake
bang
call
chase
damage
drop
end
escape
fasten
fix
gather
grab
hang
hug
imagine
itch
jog
jump
kick
knit
land
lock
march
mix
name
notice
obey
open
pass
promise
question
reach
rinse
scatter
stay
talk
turn
untie
use
vanish
visit
walk
work
yawn
yell
zip
zoom


State verbs
Also called stative verbs
Refer to states - conditions or situations that are seen as not having any definite beginning or end;
they are seen as permanent.
These verbs are kinda special, so they are generally divided into 6 groups:

Emotion and
wants
Love, hate, want, need, doubt, prefer, adore, wish
Possession and
composition
Have, own, belong, possess, contain, consist of
Senses and
perception
See, hear, smell, seem, notice, taste, feel
In this example, built expresses an action that
took place in the past, thus, had a definite time of
beginning and finishing.
In this sentence, is playing indicates an activity in
progression.
In this example, has been drinking indicates a
process that has been taking place for quite some
time (Poor John!)
Thoughts and
opinions
Know, believe, remember, feel, realize, suspect, imagine, suppose, agree
Existence Be, exist
Measurement Cost, weigh


State verbs are not normally used with any of the continuous tenses. In other words, they are "non-
continuous" (or "non-progressive"). Sometimes, these non-continuous verbs can be put into a continuous
tense, but when this happens there is a change in meaning as well as a change in tense. For example:

VERB EXAMPLE MEANING
Think
I think he is rich.
Im thinking about your plan
I believe.
Im considering.
Consider
I consider him to be very rich.
Im considering taking early retirement
My view.
Im thinking about it now.
Taste
This milk tastes awful.
Hes tasting the sauce; it might need some salt.
It has a bad flavor.
He is trying its flavor.
Have
He has a car.
Hes having dinner now.
He owns.
Hes eating dinner now.
Feel
The cloth feels like velvet.
Shes feeling her way in the dark.
It has the texture.
Shes finding her way.
See
I see a lot of people outside.
Im seeing my lawyer tonight
You are seeing things.
I perceive with my eyes.
Im visiting.
Youre imagining.
Smell
The kitchen smells of burnt meat.
The dog is smelling its food.
Has the smell.
Is trying to smell.
Come
He comes from Spain.
Hes coming from Spain.
He was born in Spain.
Hes travelling from Spain.
Love
I love holidays.
Im loving this holiday.
In general.
Im enjoying this specific holiday.
Look
Your hair looks great.
Shes looking at some old photographs.
It appears.
Process
Be
Jack is very noisy.
Jack is being noisy today
NOTE: we cant use in the same way the following
adjectives: old, angry, beautiful, handsome, happy,
healthy, hungry, lucky, nervous, sick, tall, thirsty,
young.
Usually.
Temporary behavior.
Depend
It depends on what you mean.
Im depending on you to keep your promise.
It is determined by
Im relying.
Hope
I hope to see you this weekend.
Im hoping to see you this weekend
Expresses a wish.
Deliberate action.
Fit
This dress fits you perfectly.
They are fitting new socks
It is the right size.
They are putting in.
Appear
He appears to be nervous.
Hes appearing in a new play.
Seems.
Is taking part.
Enjoy
I enjoy going to parties.
I am enjoying this party.
In general.
Specific preference.
Mean
The sign means slow down.
You are always meaning to call us, but you never do.
Signification.
To have the intention.


All this may seem complicated, but if you read and listen to as much English as you can, you will soon start
to know which verbs sound right in the progressive. If you keep the basic idea of dynamic verbs vs. static
verbs in the back of your mind, it will help you greatly.
Now, let's practice!


Exercises

1. She _____________ (have) a bath every evening.

2. My husband _____________ (always / taste) the food while Im cooking! Its very annoying.

3. A: Wheres Luke?

B: He _____________ (see) the doctor now.

4. I _____________ (not / think) thats a good idea.

5. He _____________ (have) a party at the weekend.

6. This coffee _____________ (not / taste) right.

7. We _____________ (see) John and Susie next weekend.

8. What _____________ (you / think) about the war in Iraq?

9. She _____________ (have) a headache.

10. It _____________ (be) cold today.

11. They _____________ (not / have) a car.

12. I _____________ (not / see) anything, I cant work the telescope.

13. The waiter _____________ (taste) the wine now.

14. She _____________ (not / be) a doctor.

15. A: What _____________ (that child / do)?

B: He _____________ (be) silly.

16. _____________ (you / be) hungry? _____________ (you/ want) a sandwich?

17. A: What _____________ (you / do)?

B: I _____________ (think) about my ex-boyfriend.

18. I _____________ (have) fun today!

19. I _____________ (see) Julie every Tuesday.

20. I _____________ (have) an idea!

21. A: Achoo!
B: Bless you! _____________ (you / have) a cold?

22. They often _____________ (see) a film on Fridays.

23. A: Hows the cake?

B: It _____________ (taste) funny.

24. _____________ (you / have) a good time at the moment?

25. The chef always _____________ (taste) the food before he serves it.

26. A: Julie has been offered a new job.

B: Is she going to take it?

A: She _____________ (not / know). She ____________ (think) about it.


References:

http://flesl.net/Grammar/Grammar_Glossary/eventVerb_stateVerb.php
http://www.ecenglish.com/learnenglish/lessons/what-are-state-verbs
http://www.englishtenses.com/state_verbs
http://english-assistant.com/2012/03/08/stative-and-event-verbs/
http://www.learnenglish-online.com/vocabulary/stativedynamicverbs.html
http://robertlourembam.com/2012/11/the-difference-between-stative-verbs-and-dynamic-verbs/