What is Static Verbs?

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What is Static Verbs?

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A Verb is a word used to describe an action, state, or occurrence, and forming the main part of the predicate of a sentence, such as hear, become, happen.

When verbs have a static sense or feeling it usually cannot happen in an ongoing sentense.
The detailed lists of verbs that have or can have a static feeling or sense are shown below.
1. Psychological, Mental and emotional states
Doubt, Feel, Know, Love, Like, Think (Opine), Feel (Opine), Believe, Imagine, Hate, Remember, See (Understand), Wish, Prefer, Realize, Want.
2. Senses
Hear, Smell, Taste, Sound, Appear See, Look(seem).
3. Reactions:
Agree, Disagree, Deny, Mean, satisfy, promise, impress, surprise

4. Description, possessions, etc.
Be, Belong, , Involve, Lack, Matter, Contain, Depend, Deserve, Fit, Need, Owe, Own, Concern, Consist, Include, Possess, Weigh (Have Weight)

The examples below show that the verb “LIKE” is always a static verb, but “Think” can be used statically or dynamically.

1. I am liking you (X)
2. I am thinking you are nice (X)
3. I think you are nice
4. I am thinking about it

The sentence “He is being cold” may or may not be acceptable, why?
In this case it’s really the adjective cold that has a static or dynamic meaning, linked with be.
If it refers to temperature or sensation then the sentence is unacceptable because with that sense be is also static and may not be used in the continuous aspect.
If cold means unfriendly, in fact showing unfriendliness through some activity, then be is dynamic and is correctly used in the continuous aspect.

A concise grammar for English Language Teachers (ELT G 0055)
Oxford Practice Grammar (ELT G 0035)
English Grammar in Use (ELT G 0052)

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