EVERYTHING (ALMOST) YOU WANTED TO KNOW (WHO WANTS TO KNOW ABOUT THIS STUFF?), BUT WERE AFRAID TO ASK. I am totally html inept, but will do my best to keep this blog supplied with plenty of syntax junk. The main aim here is to help my students (my future colleagues, in fact) come to grips with the syntax of English, even if they can't stand it.

Friday, August 26, 2005

STATIVE VS. DYNAMIC VERBS

Stative verbs refer to a state, static condition or unchanging situation, that is, the subject performs no action. These verbs are NOT usually used in the continuous (progressive) form or the passive voice. These verbs do not involve a process.

e.g. IBM HAS OFFICES ALL OVER THE WORLD.
- "to have", in the sense of "to possess" or "to own", is a stative verb.
- It would be wrong to say "IBM is having offices all over the world", as the act of possessing is not a process.

Most verbs of perception are stative.

e.g. MOST PEOPLE HATE WORKING ON THE WEEKENDS.
- In English, either "you hate something" or "you don’t". "To hate" is not a process.
- It would be wrong to say "Most people are hating working on the weekends."

e.g. THE SCHOOL OWNS THREE FARMS IN A NEIGHBORING CITY.
- In English, either "you own something" or "you don’t". "To own" is not a process.
- It would be wrong to say "The school is owning three farms in a neighboring city."

Other stative verbs include: to be, to contain, to know, to resemble, to see, to hear, to believe, to understand, to sound, to prefer, to doubt, to mean.

Dynamic verbs show actions that can start and finish, besides illustrating process. The subject does the action. Unlike stative verbs, dynamic verbs can be used in the continuous (progressive) form.

e.g. THOSE GRADUATE STUDENTS ARE LEARNING THE INS-AND-OUTS OF THE ELECTION PROCESS.
- The verb "to learn" is a dynamic verb as it shows a process being performed by the subject. "To learn" is a process that takes time.
- Stative verbs like "to understand" do not show a process. Either "you understand", or "you don’t".

e.g. WE ARE PUTTING TOGETHER A SCRAP BOOK WITH PHOTOS OF EVERYONE IN THE CLASS.
- The verb phrase "to put together" is a dynamic verb as it shows a process being performed by the subject. "To put something together" is a process that takes time.

Dynamic verbs can be used in the simple form, which does not make them stative. It just means that, in that specific case, they are not emphasizing continuity. The fact that they ARE ABLE TO BE used in the continuous form makes them dynamic.

e.g. CROP OWNERS BURN THE CANE FIELDS BEFORE HARVESTING.
- The verb "to burn" is a dynamic verb as it can show a process.
- It IS possible to say "Crop owners are burning the fields", thus proving "burn" is a dynamic verb.

SWome verbs are both stative and dynamic, which means they probably have slightly different meanings (although the verb seems to be the same).

e.g. WE HAVE BEEN THINKING ABOUT CHANGING THE DÉCOR IN THE LIVING ROOM.
- The verb "to think", in this case, is a dynamic verb as it shows the process of thinking, which may take some time.

However, "to think", in the sense of an opinion, is a stative verb.

e.g. WE THINK THEY HAVE MADE AN IRREPARABLE MISTAKE.
- Here, the verb "to think" does not show process, but rather an opinion in relation to something. The process of forming the opinion is over; therefore, "to think", in this case, is not a dynamic verb, but rather a stative idea.
- It would be wrong to say "We are thinking they have made an irreparable mistake."

Other verbs that can be both stative and dynamic (but with different meanings for each case) include: to have, to get, to find

1 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

is to show a staive or dynamic verb, then?

4:31 PM

 

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