I've always been told that verbs can show action and state of being .

Can anyone of you folks tell me what a state of being is ?


The verb to be is an example of a state verb which relates to the state of being. In other words, if you ARE, then you are in the state of being. If something EXISTS, it is in the state of being too.


Verbs that describe a state of being, or formally called Stative verbs, are anything that might describe a situation or physical/mental condition. Some common examples might be verbs such as like, know, want.

In contrast, Active verbs, verbs that describe actions, usually have the idea that they take energy to do something or movement is involved (though they probably have a broader range than my definition). These would be verbs like run, eat, read.

A couple common verbs that can be either Stative or Active are have and think. For example, compare "I have a new car." (have = own/Stative verb) with "She's having salad for lunch." (have = eat/Active verb),as well as "I think bananas are healthy." (think = believe/Stative verb) with "I'm thinking about a math problem." (think = using my mind/Active verb).

A last note on the grammar of the above examples, you usually use the Simple Present tense for Stative verbs and not the Present Continuous tense. With Active verbs, SP tense is used to describe general facts or habits (i.e. "He runs every day.") and PC tense is used to describe something in progress or happening now (i.e. "He's not running today."). You can sometimes use Stative verbs with the PC tense, but it's usage can range from cute (i.e. "I'm liking what you're doing.") to awkward (i.e. "I'm wanting a new phone."), so generally avoid using Stative verbs in the Present Continuous.

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