State Verbs

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Welcome to your State Verbs lesson! In this topic we talk about:
• What is a state verb?
Mixed verbs
You are + adjective / You are being + adjective
Look and feel
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What is a State Verb?

A state verb is a verb that cannot be used in continuous tenses. This is because it describes a state and not an action. Here are a few examples of state verbs:

hate / like / love / need / prefer / want
believe / know / mean / realise / remember / suppose / understand
belong / consist / contain / fit / seem

“I love you so much!”
(not “I am loving.”)

“The dress fits you very well.”
(not “The dress is fitting…”)

“I don’t believe in a god.”
(not “I am not believing…”)

Mixed Verbs

A mixed verb is one that can be a state verb, or an action verb depending on its meaning. Have a look at these sentences:

“I think that exercise is very important.”
(this is a state verb because I’m giving my opinion.)

“I‘m thinking about you!”
(this is an action verb)

Be very careful, there are many other verbs like “think” that can be state verbs, or action verbs.

You are + adjective / You are being + adjective

“You are + adjective” describes a person. “You are being + adjective” describes a temporary behaviour. Have a look at these examples:

“I like Bob, he‘s friendly.”
(Bob is friendly all the time)

“Bob is being friendly.”
(just at the moment, normally he’s not friendly)

 

“You are rude!”
(all the time)

“You are being rude!”
(at the moment)

Look and Feel

“Look” and “feel” can be used with either the Present Simple or the Present Continuous to describe someone / something now:

“You look great.” ↔ “You are looking great.”

“How do you feel?” ↔ “How are you feeling?”

However, if you want to describe something that repeats, use the Present Simple:

“I usually feel tired at work.”
(not “I am usually feeling tired at work.”)

Recap

  • A state verb is a verb that cannot be used in continuous tenses.
  • A mixed verb is one that can be a state verb, or an action verb depending on its meaning.
  • “You are + adjective” describes a person. “You are being + adjective” means a temporary behaviour.
  • “Look” and “feel” can be used with either the Present Simple or the Present Continuous.
  • But, if you want to describe something that repeats, use the Present Simple.

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