Teaching Stative Verbs

We have practically finished the Cycle of the Present, but I would like to write a few lines concerning Stative Verbs.

I have seen over the years many students struggling over long lists of Stative Verbs that they were asked to memorize. I am afraid this is not a very efficient approach.

Instead of memorizing so many Stative Verbs, I think it might be much more useful to make a distinction between verbs expressing actions and verbs expressing feelings (love), senses (see) and processes of the mind (think, remember, know) (Stative Verbs).

Students should be told that verbs reflecting actions can come in both the Present Simple (when the actions happen on a regular basis) and the Present Progressive (when the actions are happening now), but verbs expressing feelings, senses or processes of the mind will usually come in the Present Simple.

The problem is that there are many exceptional cases.

The most commom ones are think and feel.

I am feeling tired and  I feel I need some rest.

I am thinking about your project, but I think you are wrong.

One way to solve the issue is to explain that if think and feel express an opinion, they cannot come in ProgressiveTenses. Otherwise, they can.

Another way might be to explain that if we can put the word that after think or feel, we cannot use Progressive tenses.

I think that you are wrong.

I feel that it is going to rain.

There are many other problems that we haven't solved yet, but I haven't promised to solve all of them… 😉 

On one of my visits to McDonald's with my grandson, I noticed the following sign:

I am loving it.

My grandson enjoyed his hamburger, but  I lost my appetite… I thought I would never be able to deal with Stative Verbs again.

I am still teaching Stative Verbs, but I don't like hamburgers any longer. I may decide to become a vegeterian…

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