Verbs of Dual Function (processes and states):
England and its Germanic language came into contact with numerous other languages and cultures throughout its past and present history. The past contacts were more hostile most prominently Scandinavian and Norman invasions which changed the language into what we call English today. Relatively more modern contacts after the Norman invasion were more peaceful and colonial in nature and English developed from a simple language into a global one.
As a result of this development English became the language of “double everything”. For example for an everyday Germanic monosyllabic word which is more phrasal there is a formal multisyllabic Romance word: go in – enter, give up – abandon, give in - surrender. This in turn made the emergence of a man like Shakespeare possible. No Shakespeare would have been possible before those contacts. Playing on words and their meanings necessitates a rich language. However, since our life is dynamic most English verbs are dynamic (change, action) not stative.
Categorization of state verbs in alphabetical order:
These categories are regarded as state verbs in the aspect of English when contrasted syntactically and semantically with dynamic verbs because they have no duration (the states expressed are unchanging for a long or indefinite period of time) or end point. They usually denote states rather than actions i.e. the way things 'are' (relate existence or equivalence). They do not indicate activities or processes and are thus non-progressive verb forms. State verbs can signify cognitive, emotional and physical states (willed/controlled and "non-willed/cannot be controlled). Still, the boundary between stative and dynamic verbs is in practice fuzzy and many of these verbs have a dynamic meaning and function i.e. they have an end point or have become processes or simply such differences are ignored so that sentences like (I am owning this house) and (She is liking this game) are commonplace in spoken English. This may be due to the importance given to the present continuous aspect when teaching English.
The list of pure state verbs is becoming smaller. Formerly pure stative verbs develop a dynamic sense to describe a process. This reminds me of what the philosopher Herbert Marcuse (1898-1979) said in his book: One-Dimensional Man because our capitalist system being totallitarian, turns everything into a process with only one dimension: the dimension of machine preoduction process:
We are having a factory built. It is costing us a forttune (cost although primarily a stative verb describes here a process still going on)
Some of these state verbs are also link (copula) verbs i.e. they take adjectives not adverbs depending upon their meaning:
She looks happy (adjective)
She is looking happily at me (adverb)
Stative verbs have the following characteristics:
Verbs of appearance:: appear, look, seem, sound
Verbs of desire, hope intention: desire, hope, impress, intend, involve, mean, promise, wish
Verbs of emotion: abhor, adore, astonish, detest, dislike, forgive, hate, like, love, prefer, regret.
Verbs of mind: agree believe, deny, deserve, disagree, doubt, feel, find, forget, guess, imagine, know, matter, mind, presuppose, realize, recall, regard, suppose, recognize, remember, think, and understand.
Verbs of need: lack, need, require, want
Verbs of perception: feel, hear, perceive, see, smell, taste
Verbs of measurement and size/relation: consist, contain, cost, fit, include, measure, take (size) weight
Verbs of Possession/relation: belong to, get, have, owe, own, possess
Verbs of satisfaction: please, satisfy
Verbs of states: be, concern, depend, deserve, keep, reach, signify, stay, surprise
Other verbs: come (nationality), do (job)
Alphabetical list of verbs of dual grammatical function (simple-state)/(continuous -process) and different meanings with examples:
Act: behave/ perform
He acts oddly He is acting in the new film
Appear: look/ Perform
He appears pleased. He is appearing on stage tonight.
Be: permanent state, personality trait/ Temporary state, acting or behaving uncooperatively temporarily
My friend is German He is being difficult these days.
You are stupid: always in personality You are being stupid: only now.
Become: sate/ Process
He becomes easily irritated You are becoming an expert
Come: nationality/ travelling
I come from Germany I am coming from Germany.
Cost: price/ a process
It costs a lot of money Our house is costing a fortune
Do: job/ action
What do you do? What are you doing.
Enjoy: permanently/ Temporarily
I enjoy short stories. (permanently) I am really enjoying this film.
Feel: believe, have an opinion/ quality of mood/ touch
I feel I am tired. I am feeling miserable
This fabric feels smooth He is feeling the material.
Forget: cognitive state/ process of forgetting
Get: sate/ Process
He get easily angry He is getting better and better
Guess: believe/ trying to find out by guessing
I guess we need to think it over You are guessing. Aren’t you?
Have: possession/ other meanings
I have a nice office/ a house We are having lunch now
She is having a baby We are having a nice time
Imagine: think/ seeing things in the mind
I imagine it is all the same to you. Ghosts! You are imagining things
Look: appear, seem/focusing your eyes on...
You look nice She is looking at me.
Measure: have measure have length/take measure
This sofa measures two meters He is measuring the hall.
Realize: know/ process
People don’t realize its importance. We are now realizing the dangers of pollution.
Regret: feeling/ Process
We deeply regret this matter. We are regretting the sad development in our department.
See: understand/ other meanings (visit…)
Do you see what I mean I am seeing my aunt on Saturday.
Smell: natural instinct/ action of finding out
It smells horrible. Why are you smelling the food?
Suppose: believe/ make an assumption
I suppose this is him. You are supposing he is to blame.
Take: measure/ Other meanings
What size do you take?
I am taking an exam.
Taste have a certain taste/ the action of tasting
This soup tastes fantastic The cook is tasting the soup.
The coffee tastes really bitter
Think: believe , have an opinion/ consider, intellectual action, have in mind
What do you think about it? I am thinking of a transfer.
Understand: know/ process
Do you understand what they say? We are understanding more and more about it.
Weigh: have weight/ act of weighing
It weighs three kilos I am weighing the pros and cons