Stative verbs

Some English verbs aren’t used in continuous tenses. These verbs often describe states that last for some time. A stative verb describes a state rather than an action.

It is important to remember that non-continuous verbs or stative verbs cannot be used in any continuous tenses. Instead of using Present Perfect Continuous with these verbs, we must use Present Perfect.

He has been having hypothyroidism since 2006.
He has had hypothyroidism since 2006.

She did not agree to take the medication.
She was not agreeing to take the medication.

It appears to be the result of previous experiences with chemo that led to nausea and vomiting.
It is appearing to be the result of…

  • Existing state/state: be, cost, fit, mean, suit, seem, appear, depend, include, consist of, exist, contain
  • Feelings/emotional states: hate, hope, like, love, prefer, regret, want, wish, detest, envy,
    dislike, mind, fear
  • Possession: belong, have, own, need
  • Sensory perception/senses: feel, hear, see, smell, taste, touch
  • Introductory clauses for direct speech: answer, ask, reply, say
  • Brainwork/thought/mental states: believe, know, think, understand, assume, consider, suppose, expect, agree, remember, forget, doubt, imagine

Mrs Philips hating being treated as a patient.
Mrs Philips hate being treated as a patient.

Her baby weighs 3kg and is developing normally.
Her baby is weighing 3kg and is developing normally. (Here, it indicates that the baby is weighing something! )

Mrs Woot prefers a female doctor.
Mrs Woot is preferring a female doctor.

She seems to be disoriented and isolated.
She is seeming to be disoriented and isolated.

Some verbs can be both stative and non-stative:
be, have, think, taste, smell, think, consider, smell, feel, look, see, etc.


be– be is usually a stative verb, but when it is used in the continuous it means ‘behaving’ or
‘acting’.
forms of be: is, are, was, were, being;
He was anxious, She is being worried.
Have (stative) – own
He has hypertension.
Have (non-stative) – part of an expression
I am having a cup of tea.
See (stative) – see with eyes/understand
See (non-stative) – meet
Think (stative) – have an opinion
I think that she requires a nutritional assessment.
Think (Non-stative) – have in mind
I am thinking about my duty hours.