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A Guide on Dynamic and Stative Verbs

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What are “dynamic” and “stative verbs”? This blog post will go over the difference between these two types of verbs, explain how to use them, and provide examples.

What are stative and dynamic verbs?
There are different types of verbs, including “dynamic” and “stative” verbs.
Quick Summary on Dynamic and Stative Verbs
  • Dynamic and stative verbs represent two opposite types of verbs; while dynamic verbs indicate physical action (like jump or play), stative verbs convey a state of being or condition (like prefer or have).
    • The horse jumped over the railing. (Dynamic verb)
      Do you prefer still or sparkling water? (Stative verb)
  • A major difference between dynamic and stative verbs is that stative verbs cannot be used in progressive (continuous) tenses.
  • Some verbs can be both dynamic and stative, depending on the context of the sentence.
    • I have a lot to tell you. (Stative)
      I am having lunch at 12 PM if you want to join. (Dynamic)

Dynamic Verb vs. Stative Verb

Verbs are one of the most essential (and complex) parts of speech. There is a lot to learn about verbs, like how to conjugate them. But this blog post is dedicated to explaining the difference between two different types of verbs in particular: dynamic and stative verbs.

We'll explain the difference between dynamic and stative verbs.
Verbs are complex, but they don’t have to be scary. 

What Are Dynamic Verbs?

Let’s start with the easier of the two: dynamic verbs (also known as action verbs or event verbs).

These are the type of verbs that represent physical action or processes. A large percentage of these verbs are easy to identify because they occur externally. Additionally, dynamic verbs can be defined as motivated actions that have a clear beginning and end.

I train every morning.
Samantha has discussed the details with the team.
Chloe accidentally gave the documents to the wrong person.

Dynamic verbs can be used in the simple and perfect tenses (shown above) or in the progressive aspect (shown below).

I am training with Jordan tomorrow morning.
Samantha has been discussing the details with our boss.
Chloe will be giving me the documents tomorrow morning.

However, some dynamic verbs don’t occur externally. They describe mental or internal actions.

The teams had to endure the weather.
I needed to consider the options.
Can you guess my favorite number?

Dynamic Verb Examples:

Here’s a list of a few examples of dynamic verbs:

laugh
eat
sit
excel
gamble
dance
enjoy
compare
sing
employ
whisper
talk
ignite
pollute
litter
shake
examine
remove
applaud
estimate

What Are Stative Verbs?

Stative verbs describe a state of being or existence, like to be or to have. These verbs can also express a feeling (I love) or a physical state (there was). Unlike dynamic verbs, stative verbs tend to be subjective, and have no definitive start or end.

Roxanne appears frustrated.
I hated the presentation.
I have known about that for a while.

Unlike dynamic verbs, stative verbs cannot be used in progressive forms (to be + ING form of verb). For example, the following sentence would be grammatically incorrect:

Roxanne is appearing frustrated.

Roxanne appears frustrated.

He is wanting to speak with them.

He wants to speak with them.


Stative Verb Examples:

Here are a few examples of verbs that are commonly stative.

adore
realize
seem
like
dislike
hate
know
believe
involve
matter
understand
want
wish
mean
deny
detest
need
know

What About Verbs That Can Be Dynamic and Stative?

Dynamic and stative verbs would be easy to understand if they were as clear-cut as explained above. Unfortunately, sometimes the line between dynamic and stative verbs blurs. There are some verbs that can be dynamic in some situations, and stative in others.

But how can you tell if a verb is dynamic or stative? As we explained earlier, dynamic verbs tend to be motivated actions with a clear beginning and end, whereas stative verbs are usually subjective and have no definitive start or end. Consider the following examples:

I am thinking we should study some more.
I think I failed my exam.

In the first example, thinking can be described as a motivated action. Moreover, it’s a temporary action, so there’s a beginning and end to the thinking the subject is doing.

However, in the second example, think can be considered an action that’s subjective and there’s no clear beginning or end; therefore, it’s a stative verb in this context. Again, if the verb is being used in the progressive tense, then it’s dynamic.


Understanding Dynamic and Stative Verbs

To master English, you must master verbs. There’s no way around it. But, if you need some help, LanguageTool can ensure that you’re using the right form of a verb. Additionally, this multilingual spelling and grammar checker can suggest stylistic improvements that’ll help your writing reach the next level.


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