Tricky Stative (状態動詞) and Dynamic verbs (動態動詞)

Some verbs are only (or mostly) used in simple tenses, and are not used in continuous tenses.  For example:

(O) I want to go to Europe for vacation.    (X) I am wanting to go to Europe for vacation.

These verbs are called stative, or state verbs (状態動詞). A verb which isn’t stative is called a dynamic verb  (動態動詞), and is usually an action. Stative verbs are often about how you feel and liking or disliking something, not an action.

(O) Do you hear me?      (X) Are you hearing me?


Some tricky verbs are both stative and dynamic.
Here are a few examples:


be is usually a stative verb (状態動詞), but when it is used in the continuous it means ‘behaving’ or ‘acting’ 

  • You are silly = it's who you are, it's your personality (状態動詞)
  • You are being silly = only at that moment, not always  (動態動詞)


状態動詞 = to look at with your eyes or to understand

  • I see what you mean.
  • I can see the policeman hiding behind the tree.

動態動詞 = having a relationship or meeting someone

  • I have been seeing my girlfriend for three years now.
  • I am seeing Ben tomorrow morning.

taste, smell, feel and look

状態動詞 = how something tastes, smells, feels, looks

  • Kimie's curry bread tastes the best in the world!
  • That smells delicious.
  • This shirt feels nice. 

動態動詞 = the action of tasting, smelling, feeling, looking  

  • The chef was tasting the soup when he burned himself.


状態動詞 = have an opinion, how you feel

  • I think that it will rain tomorrow.

動態動詞 = have in your head or considering

  • What are you thinking about? 
  • I am thinking about where to go on vacation next.


Enjoy studying English!