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Stative verbs

Some verbs describe a state or condition that does not change (e.g., seem, appear, feel, own, prefer, doubt, recognise). These stative verbs are special in that the continuous form of the verb is not possible.

Note: More verbs are active than stative (e.g., dance, eat, sleep, move, lift, carry, look).


Some verbs can be either stative or active.


Grammar affects meaning; this is especially true for the relationship between subject and predicate.

For both main clauses and subordinate clauses:

  • The subject is the noun (plus any words, phrases or clauses that modify the noun) that is doing the action (active voice) or is having the action done to it (passive voice).
  • The predicate is the part of the sentence that is not the subject. The predicate contains the verb or verb phrase (including auxiliary verbs) and all the words, phrases and clauses that modify the verb. Verbs must agree (singular or plural) with their subject.

The exercise (on the right-hand part of this page) requires you to read sentences and to identify the subject within these sentences.


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