Stative Verbs Explained (and a list

When the same verb, to smell for example, can be used in both the stative and active form, confusion about what verb tense to use can arise. These roses still smell fresh. She is smelling the roses. After some confusion myself, I looked around the internet and found Dowty’s Analysis. It can be a helpful tool in distinguishing between the stative and the active form of a verb. Simply put, Dowty’s Analysis states: If you cannot force the action, then it is stative.

  

My cat is forced to weigh 10 pounds. The candy bar is forced to cost $1.20. The trip is forced to take 7 hours.

These sentences are nonsense because the actions (to weigh/to cost/to take) cannot be forced! However, in this example… I forced my cat to take the antibiotics. …you see that the action of taking antibiotics was forced (and I have the scratch marks to prove it)! Here is a list of stative verbs. Not all of these verbs are stative all the time, so use Dowty’s analysis if you get stuck!
                 

act amaze appear appreciate astonish become believe belong cost feel get hate have impress know like look love

                

measure need possess recognize remember resemble see seem smell sound surprise taste think to be understand want weigh

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