Anglo-Link 09 Action Verbs vs State Verbs

Present Simple

Facts & Habits

I play tennis once a week.

He drives Fast.

It often rains here.

Present Continuous

Action in progress now

I'm playing tennis now.

He's driving to Paris at the moment.

It's raining again.

Present Perfect Continuous

Action that started in the past and is still in progress

I've been playing tennis since I was 12.

He has been driving for three hours.

It has been raining all day.

Present Perfect

Action that is complete at the time of speaking

I've played tennis with her once.

He has driven 300 km so far.

It has rained three times this week.

Past Simple

Action completed at a specific time in the past

I played tennis with her when we were in Spain.

He drove 100 km before sunrise.

It rained heavily last night.


Types of verbs

Action Verbs

Most verbs:                                                                

play, come, go, look, talk, wait, do. etc.             


State Verbs

Only a few verbs:

be, have, exist, know, belong, understand, believe, etc.


State verbs don't take continuous tenses, only simple tenses:

I am being tired now.    ————►      I am tired now.

I've been being tired all day.   ————►    I've been tired all day.

I am having a red car. ————► I have a red car.

I've been having this car since 2006.————► I've had this car since 2006.

I am knowing this man. ————►I know this man.

I've been knowing him  for many years. ————►I've known him for many years.


Four tricky verbs (1)


Have = own (state verb)

I have a red car.

Have = take / experience (action verb)

Have breakfast: I'm having breakfast.

Have a good time: They're having a good time.



Think = believe (state verb)

I think you are right.

Think = reflect (action verb)

I've been thinking about selling my house.


Live (state or action?)

I've been living here for 10 years.       =        I've lived here for 10 years.


Work (state or action?)

He has been working there since 2008.      =         He has worked there since 2008.


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