An Online Catalogue of English Grammar Exercises

'State' and 'Action' Verbs:

Usually you do not see 'state verbs' in any Continuous (or Progressive) tense, which is why there are these two categories in grammar.
However, it depends on the meaning!
State: e.g.' She has lovely hair' BUT look at this example e.g. 'He's having a bath'. Here the verb, 'to have', is an Activity!
Other 'state verbs' cannot do this e.g. 'They own a big house' or 'The house belongs to them'.
Verbs of emotion: e.g. Imran Khan loves cricket. Australians hate cockroaches.
Verbs of Knowing and thinking: 'The public thinks the tax is terrible' BUT 'Sh! I'm thinking!'
My friend's mother knows the Pope.
Scientists believe in God.
I understand you.
Physical abilities: e.g. He can see well BUT He's seeing her at l o'clock.
or 'the senses:' e.g. The dog can't hear. It's deaf.
Non-smokers can taste food better.

Comments: Where you see a big 'BUT' it's because the same verb is being used in 2 different ways. You can't do this with many verbs. In the examples above, 'to have a bath', 'to think' and 'to see' can be used to describe activities - in the case of the verb 'to see' in the Continuous Tense it means 'to meet', or even, colloquially ' to be lovers'.

Practice Exercise:
Group the verbs below according to their meanings:
Verbs of Emotion
Verbs of Possession
Verbs of the Mind
Verbs of the Senses
Verbs like 'be'

Look like, know, taste, feel = think, remember, mean, doubt, see, abhor, belong, believe, dislike, owe, (can't) stand, doubt, prefer, adore, realise, notice, smell, look like, feel, expect, care, refuse, dislike, forgive, love, suppose, detest, seem, trust, appear, want, wish, recognise, wish, hate, (don't) mind, think = have an opinion, understand, forget, depend, have = own, possess, contain, hear, resemble.

Verbs of emotion: care, dislike, hate, love, mind, prefer, can't stand, adore, abhor, detest.
Verbs of Possession: have = own, belong, possess, contain, owe.
Verbs of the Mind: think (=have an opinion), know, believe, understand, forget, remember, feel (=think), mean, doubt, forgive, refuse, suppose, trust, want, wish, prefer, realise, recognise, notice, expect, depend.
Verbs of the senses: taste, see, hear, smell (usually used with 'can')
Verbs like 'be' (copulars): look like, feel (+ an adjective), seem, appear, consist of, matter       (e.g. 'it matters to me'), concern, resemble.

See The A - Z of English Grammar & Usage for the rules.

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