Stative Verbs: Some Extra Thoughts (6 of 6): “I regret smelling that chemical.”


In the previous posts, I looked at the four sorts of stative verbs. ‘Stative’ means ‘about states’ or unchanging conditions. The four sorts of verbs are verbs of Senses (smell, hear, sense), Ownership (have, contain, belong), Mind (believe, trust, know), Emotion (love, hate, adore). I remember these by thinking ‘SOME verbs are stative’. In this final post on the subject of stative verbs, let’s look at two grammar points.

The first grammar point is that if a verb is used after a preposition, these verbs take the ~ing form, and these verbs can be stative. For example, …

You can achieve more by trusting me. [correct]

I’m interested in knowing more about you. [correct]

I’m worried about my daughter owning a mobile phone. [correct]

I had a student ask me about this in class. The answer is that the V-ing forms here are not verbs; they are nouns/gerunds – or what I call ‘action nouns’ – that is, nouns with an action inside them. Since the meaning is not verbal, stative verbs can be used (as the previous three examples show).

The second grammar point is that there are some verb patterns which similarly use the ~ing form – but again, these forms are known as gerunds or present participles – that is, they are not used as verbs.

I advise owning a mobile phone.

I recommend trusting him.

I now regret smelling that chemical [in the above picture].

That last example is interesting. ‘Regret‘ and ‘smell‘ are both stative verbs, yet one of them has an ‘ing’ form – but now you know the reason why, right?

Okay, with those two grammar points, I now finish with stative verbs. In the next 10 posts, I’ll move from grammar to vocabulary, and from verbs to nouns – specifically, compound nouns.

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