New Approaches to Learning Stative Verbs and Verbs + ing Phrases


A stative verb is an exceptional verb which can only be used as the present tense and the simple tense or in most cases, the past tense with the subject(s) preceded it.

It looks strange to use stative verb as the present continuous tense with the subject(s) it follows. For example: ‘I love you so much’ is familiar and correct but it is grammatically odd to say: ‘I am loving you so much’. Let us look at some examples below.

Some Examples of Stative Verbs

Stative verbs are many but some of them are mentioned in the table below.





















Uses of Stative Verbs 

As said earlier, stative verbs can only be used as simple tense or past tense with the subjects they follow. Examine the following illustrations:

  1. Stative verbs can be simple tense, and be used with the subjects. For example:

(i)         I know your thought.

(ii)        Bose resembles his sister.

(iii)       The students state four types of nouns.

(iv)       I remember what you said.

(v)        They laugh with me loudly.

But don’t say:

(i)         ‘I am knowing …’

(ii)        ‘Bose is resembling …’

(iii)       ‘The students are stating …’

(iv)       ‘They are laughing …’

  1. When asking questions, stative verbs are used as simple tense. For example:

(i)         Do/can/will you understand my explanation?

(ii)        Do/can/will they prefer this?

(iii)       Could/should we borrow you that textbook?

(iv)       Did/could/would I see it?

(v)        Do/will/can you love him.

But don’t say:

(i)         ‘Are you understanding my …?’

(ii)        ‘Are they preferring this?’

(iii)       ‘Are we borrowing that …?’

(iv)       ‘Am I seeing it?’

(v)        ‘Are you loving him?’

  1. Note that all stative verbs can also be used as past tense and some of them as perfect tense. For example:

(i)         That man offered us some beverage.

(ii)        She said she liked me.

(iii)       Segun denied that he was a thief.

(iv)       They have arrived from Abuja.

(v)        I have lent a pen to Ife.

But don’t say:

(i)         That man was offering ….

(ii)        … she was liking me.’

(iii)       Segun was dening/denying

(iv)       They are arriving

(v)        I am lending a pen …

Not all stative verbs can be used as perfective verbs. Therefore, don’t say:

(i)         Most of them have laughed at me.

(ii)        The man has believed us.

(iii)       My younger brother had owed me N4,000.00.

But say:

(i)         Most of them laughed at me.

(ii)        The man believed us.

(iii)       My younger brother owed me N4,000.00.

  1. Some stative verbs can be used only as gerunds within the sentences. For example:

(i)         I heard you laughing in the room.

(ii)        The man visited a town lacking basic amenities.

 Definition of Verbs + Ing Phrases

 A verb + ing phrase is defined as the verb followed by continuous tense. The continuous tense is the form of the verb which ends with ‘-ing’. For example, ‘I am busy reading’, ‘Reading’ in the above sentence is an ‘-ing phrase’. [v-ing]:

Some Words that can be Used with Ing Phrases

 The following are some words which can be used with ‘-ing phrases’.


busy (adj)







worth (adj)

no use (adj)





Uses of Verbs + Ing Phrases 

  1. It should be noted that a verb that takes an ‘-ing phrase’ is [V + Ing]. Consider the examples below.

(i)         Will you stop  talking?

(ii)        The children enjoyed listening to the stories.

(iii)       I always avoid cheating people.

(iv)       I preferred eating rice to beans.

(v)        Dayo remembered doing his assignment.

  1. Apart from the sentences above, there are certain words that can also be used with ‘to-infinitive’. They are listed below.







It is also possible to say:

(i)         I like to see my mum.

(ii)        I love to go there.

(iii)       I started to dance.

But these are more formal.

(i)         I like seeing my mum.

(ii)        I love going there.

(iii)       I started dancing.

  1. Some verbs can be used with a noun or a noun phrase with an ‘Ing Phrases’ [VN-ING]. For example:

(i)         I can see Elizabeth wearing tattered clothes.

(ii)        We can remember that man  joking.

  1. In this case, you can replace (him) in the position of an object with the possessive pronoun (his) + ‘Ing verb.’ For example:
  2. They hate his jesting about the serious matter.
  3. Note also that not only ‘-ing phrases’ can follow the above listed words and they can also be followed by nouns or phrases too. Look at the examples:

i. I am busy with my studies.

ii. Tolu loves Tunde so much.

iii. The children enjoy the stories.


  1. How would you describe stative verbs?

2a.       Enumerate some examples of stative verbs.

  1. Use the following words correctly in sentences.

(i)         understand

(ii)        remember

(iii)       deny

(iv)       arrive

(v)        resemble

  1. Correct the following wrong sentences:

(i)         Tolu is resembling his brother.

(ii)        Am I seeing you?

(iii)       Are you still loving me?

(iv)       They were denying that they stole money.

  1. Explain the verbs + ing phrases.
  2. Use the following words correctly in sentences with ‘ing phrases’.

(i)         worth

(ii)        no use

(iii)       busy

(iv)       love

(v)        Remember

(vi)       begin

(vii)      avoid

  1. Correct the following wrong sentences:

(i)         Sola is busy to write notes.

(ii)        Hamzat avoid to cheat in the examinations.

(iii)       Will you stop to talk?

(iv)       It is worth to be good.

(v)        I remember to tell you that point.

Author: Deola Adelakun


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