Stative Verbs

What are stative verbs?

Stative verbs (also called “state verbs”) are a group of verbs that describe the state of the subject rather than an action. They are usually used in the present or past simple tenses and with modals. They are not normally used in the present, past, or future continuous tenses because actions in continuous (or progressive) actions have a duration (beginning, progress and end), which does not apply to stative verbs

Following are lists of the most common state verbs and an example of each.

Some of these verbs can express both states and actions. The same verb has two different meanings in these cases. The third columns in the tables below have examples of the verbs when they express an action meaning.

Sense Perceptions

seeI see a butterfly on the flower.I'm seeing the doctor tomorrow. (= visit)
hearDo you hear the sound of birds?
smellThe flowers smell good.
feelThe new coat feels warm.I'm not feeling well.
(physical condition)
tasteThis ice-cream tastes delicious.The chef is tasting the food.


believeThe police believed he was guilty of the theft.
considerI don't consider it as an important factor.They are considering moving to another house. (=think about; take into account)
doubtI doubt he could help.
feelTell them what you feel. (=think)
findI find it hard to believe they are not going to help me.
supposeI suppose we are early.
thinkDo you think we should start the meeting?He's thinking about finding a new job. (=consider)

Mental State

forgetShe always forgets her neighbors' names.
imagineCan you imagine how it feels to be deaf?He was imagining weird things happening. (=form a mental image)
knowHe knows exactly what should be done.
meanI really mean what I say.I have been meaning to contact you. (=intend)
noticeThey noticed a change in the color of the plant.
realizeI didn't realize my mistake at once.
recognizeShe didn't recognize him after he shaved his beard.
rememberI never remember people's birthdays.Looking at an old photo, she was remembering her childhood. (=recall or think of again)

Emotions & Desires

dislikeThe actor disliked the scenario, so he refused to participate in the movie.
envyShe envies people who do not have to work on weekends.
fearWhat does your child fear most?
hateI don't understand why many people hate spiders.
likeMy children like vanilla-flavored ice-cream.
loveHe loved her more than anybody else.
mindI don't mind dealing with strangers.
preferMy father prefers watching sports to playing them.
regretShe has always regretted missing that opportunity.
wantThe manager doesn't want to hold a meeting soon.
wishI wish we could meet before you leave the office.


containThe book contains five units.
costThe clothes I bought didn't cost much.
holdThis bottle holds 50 ml of perfume.She is holding the baby firmly. (=keep)
measureI bought a screen that measures 52 inches.The engineer is measuring the room. (=take the size)
weighThe baby weighs 5 kilograms.The man is weighing the vegetables. (=measure the weight)


lookShe looks exactly like her mother.She is looking at old photos.
seemThey seem to be tired.
beI am ready for the new task.She is being silly these days. (=temporary state; normally she is not silly)
haveThey have three children.We are having lunch together. (=eat)
He's having a shower. (=take)