Stative verbs describe states; how is something? A basic example of this would be:
“She is happy.”
Stative verbs are normally used in “simple” tenses, ie. do not use them in the continuous form:
“She is hungry” and not “She is being hungry.”
This rule applies no matter how temporary the states they are describing:
“At the moment, I am liking Adele’s album.”
It is useful to divide the other examples into four groups; emotional states, mental states, appearance/senses and possession.
|Emotional States||Mental States||Senses||Possession|
to think (opinion)
to look (seem)
to depend (on)
to belong (to)
to consist (of)
Notice how to have is in the “possession” column. Be careful with this verb; it is only stative when used to mean “to possess”. There are many set expressions using to have which can be used in the continuous form:
“We were having breakfast when the phone rang…”
“I come tomorrow because I’m having a dinner party….”
“Don’t stop me now, I’m having a good time…”
As you can see above, the rules about stative verbs apply in the past, present and future.
Find this information in a printable PDF: Stative Verbs Handout.