What are stative verbs?

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wordprof | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Stative, or static verbs, as opposed to dynamic verbs, are verbs designating a state of being, a condition rather than an action, and as such do not conjugate.  Such verbs as run, hit, walk, etc. designate an action that can take place, or has taken place, or will take place in real time and space. Stative verbs, on the other hand, do not signify actions but rather states; “have” or “belong” or “doubt” or “include” or “consist” or “suppose” are verbs taking the predicate slot in a clause but not signifying an action of the subject, merely a state that the subject is in.  One problem for grammarians is that the same “word” can be either stative or dynamic, depending on what it says the subject is doing.  One example is “feel.”  This word can signify a state or condition (“she will feel better about it tomorrow”), but it is the same word to signify the action of “sensing the smoothness, roughness, etc. of an object (“she likes to feel the cloth”)—a dynamic verb.


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