Stative and Dynamic Verbs
Verbs in English can be classified into two categories: stative verbs and dynamic verbs. Dynamic verbs (sometimes referred to as "action verbs") usually describe actions we can take, or things that happen; stative verbs usually refer to a state or condition which is not changing or likely to change. The difference is important, because stative verbs cannot normally be used in the continuous (BE + ING) forms. This will explain the differences between the two types of verb, and give lots of examples of each kind.
Dynamic verbsThere are many types of dynamic verbs, but most of them describe activities or events which can begin and finish. Here are some examples:
Dynamic verbs, as you can see from the table above, can be used in the simple and perfect forms (plays, played, has played, had played) as well as the continuous or progressive forms (is playing, was playing, has been playing, had been playing).
Stative verbsStative verbs usually refer to a state or condition which is quite static or unchanging. They can be divided into verbs of perception or cognition (which refer to things in the mind), or verbs of relation (which describe the relationships between things). Here are some examples:
Note that we CANNOT use these verbs in the continuous (progressive) forms; you CAN'T say "*Yong is owning three cars." Owning is a state, not an action, so it is always in the simple form.
Example verbsHere some common stative and dynamic verbs. The lists may help you to understand what types of verbs are likely to be stative and what types are commonly dynamic.