ENGLISCH/871: Questions to Mrs Gobbledygook (174) stative verbs (SB)


174. Stative verbs in the progressive?

Dear Mrs Gobbledygook

I read the following sentence recently,

"Lowe was loving the fight".

Now, I wonder whether you could help me on your page with the use of the "present progressive" in this context. And do you know more examples of stative verbs in the progressive form?

Thank you very much
Yours sincerely

Gerda R. (from Kiel, Germany)


Dear Mrs R.

Using "love" in the progressive is currently rather idiomatic in informal speech and writing of the English-speaking, but not at all in the sense of romance or affection. If you are "loving" something, you are enjoying it very much.

Stative verbs refer to states or conditions and are not used in the progressive. For example: One cannot say

"I am having a house".

Dynamic verbs refer to action and can be used in the progressive. For example:

"I am driving the car".

Things are not always as clear-cut as they seem, however. Many verbs that one finds in lists of stative verbs are stative only in certain contexts. The verb "to have", for example, is stative only in the sense of "to possess" or "to own". You can, on the other hand, say things like:

"I am having a bath".

Even "to be" can be progressive when describing temporary types of behavior:

"You're being silly"

"You're being useless"

"The little dog's being naughty", etc.

I hope you will be loving my explanations but don't think to much about "stative verbs in the progressive". The only way to improve your everyday English is to practise thinking in English, or just "learning by doing".


Miranda Gobbledygook

7 October 2009