Grammar-QuizzesVerb PhrasesVerbsPresent Tense–Static > Sensory States

Sensory States (static verb / stative verb)

Express sensation and perception

feel sad vs feel something
 

 

Static vs. Dynamic Sensory Verbs

STATIC VERB — EXPERIENCE SOMETHING

A static verb indicates a state of "sensation" or "perception" (hear, see, sound, taste, feel) indicating how we passively experience the world around us. A static verb usually takes the nonprogressive verb form.

SUBJECT PREDICATE COMPLEMENT
NP VERB — STATIC ADJ / NOUN

He

 

It

My hands

feels

feels

feels

feel

sad.  (mental state)

excited.  (an effect)

summery. ("seems")

rough. ("physical quality")

I

hear

heard

well.

his voice.

Mario

sees

the picture. 

Your cello

sounds

good.

This food

tastes

spicy.

The dog

smells

bad.  (stinks)

DYNAMIC VERB — DO SOMETHING

A dynamic verb expresses an activity, an action that we do or perform. It can take a progressive verb form. Note that the meaning of the dynamic verb may differ from the static verb.

SUBJECT PREDICATE COMPLEMENT
NP VERB — DYNAMIC NOUN / PP/ THAT CLAUSE

He

is feeling

was feeling

feels¹

was feeling

the surface of the paper. 

his way down the dark hall.

that we should modernize. 

the earthquakes.

I

I'm

hear

hearing

you. (I get what you're saying.)

you.  "listening to" – informal

Mario

is seeing

is watching

is looking

Lucia. "visiting", "dating"

 

at the picture.  (PP)

The cook

is sounding

the dinner bell. "is ringing"

Only the chef

The cook

tastes

is tasting

the soup.  (is trying or sampling)

A person with a cold

smells

badly.  (temporarily loses the ability to smell)

 

summery — like summer time

Also see Sensory V + Gerund.

¹ feel (V) —  think, believe; not used in the progressive; may take an adverb 

 

 

 

 

 

Feel

Experience a Sensation vs. Taking Action

 

 

 

Feel — static vs. dynamic meanings

FEEL— STATIC

Feel has a number of meanings.  The static uses are other ways of saying be.  (I am hungry.  I am strong. My hands are rough.)  If you can substitute the word be, then it is a static use. These "linking verbs" are typically followed by adjectives.                  

FEELING EMOTION – A PHYSICAL, MENTAL OR QUALITY STATE

I feel hungry / pain / cold / hot.   (experience)

I feel nervous / anxious / tired / comfortable. 

I feel good / well / sick / fine / better / worse.   

FEEL AN EFFECT

I feel strong / old / energized / fatigued after I exercise.

I felt excited to hear the news. 

 

FEEL SMOOTH / DRY — A  PHYSICAL QUALITY

My hands feel rough / dry / soft / stiff / moist.

The cat's fur felt soft / smooth.   

FEEL HURT –  EMOTIONAL QUALITY

She felt hurt by his indifference.

He felt insulted when his father called him "boy". 

PHASAL VERBS / EXPRESSIONS

I feel for you.  (sympathize)

We didn't feel up to going to a movie. (be in the mood)

Please, feel free to use my phone. (you may) 

FEEL— DYNAMIC

The dynamic uses of feel range from touching (physical activity) to expressing emotion (mental activity).  You can use adverbs with dynamic verbs and you can change the transitive verbs to passive voice. (This is not possible with static verbs.)

SENSE PHYSICALLY OR EMOTIONALLY

We intensely felt the earthquake around 2:00 a.m.

He keenly feels his daughter's warmth.

She strongly felt her the loss of her mother. "death" 

BELIEVE / THINK

She feels strongly about this issue. (agree, believe)

~She feels badly about her body image.

*I feel about this issue. / *I strongly feel about this issue.

TOUCH

She felt his forehead to see if he had a fever .

The doctor didn't feel any broken bones. (find)  

SEARCH WITH THE FINGERS

She felt inside her bag for her keys.

She felt her way down the hall to the bathroom.

PHASAL VERBS / EXPRESSIONS

We wanted to feel them out before we proposed a deal. (learn their point of view) 

 

feel (V, transitive) – not usually progressive, takes an adverb, does not take passive voice     Merriam-Webster. "feel" 4.b – believe, think

keenly (Adv) – characterized by strength and distinctness of perception; extremely sensitive or responsive

range (V) – include, vary, go from X to Y,  "range from something to something"

sense (V) – perceive something by using the senses; become aware of something

*not used

feel badly – "The adverb badly is often used after verbs such as feel, as in I felt badly about the whole affair. This usage bears analogy to the use of other adverbs with feel, such as strongly in We feel strongly about this issue. Some people prefer to maintain a distinction between feel badly and feel bad, restricting the former to emotional distress and using the latter to cover physical ailments; however, this distinction is not universally observed, so feel badly should be used in a context that makes its meaning clear." (American Heritage Dictionary [Usage Note on "bad"])  See Grammar Notes for resource link.

(Burchfield [Fowler] 290) (Garner 349) (Merriam-Webster 435)   (Swan 202.6)

 Also see Pop-Q "Strongly" and Pop-Q "feel bad / badly"

 

 

 

 

 

 

Taste

A sensation vs. a sampling of flavor

tastes sour vs taste food
 

 

Taste — experience vs. test something for flavor

TASTE — STATIC

The static use of taste expresses how we experience the flavor of something.  It mostly occurs in the nonprogressive, but may occur in the progressive to emphasize the experience — at the moment. 

TASTE + ADJ/ NOUN

How does the plum taste? It tastes sour.

This soup tastes like/of garlic.

The food tastes too spicy
 

RESTAURANT  SPEECH (informal usage)

How does your food taste(passive sensing)

~ How is your food tasting?   (Is the food sensing?)

*This food is tasting too spicy.  informal / incorrect

TASTE — DYNAMIC

The dynamic use of taste expresses the activity of  investigating the flavor of something. The progressive form expresses the activity of tasting something with the tongue. Adverbs and passive voice can be used.

PERCEIVE / DETECT

I can taste mint in this cookie.

Do you taste a little bit of cinnamon?

No, but I can almost taste some vanilla.
  

SAMPLE / TAKE A BITE

Taste the soup and tell me if it needs salt.  

If you taste this, you will probably like it.

   

 

* not used / ~ questionably used (often asked by staff (waiters) in restaurants) 

tasting tomato(Swan 577) (Huddleston 118)

Also see Pop-Q "Tasting".

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Grammar Notes (Advanced)

Traditional and Linguistic Description

 

 

Error and Solution

TRADITIONAL DESCRIPTION – STATIVE VERBS

Traditionally, these verbs are called "sensory states", or" stative verbs" or "linking verbs", and they are followed by a noun, an adjective (predicate adjective) or a prepositional phrase. (Azar 441) (Merriam-Webster 437)

 

Parse: he feels sad

 

 

 

Parse: the soup tastes bad

 

 

 

LINGUISTIC DESCRIPTION – STATIC VERBS

Subject: noun, Predicate: verb phrase: verb – adjective
(Huddleston 118) (Swan 577)

 

Diagram: He feels sad

tree diagram: The soup tastes bad

 

Lexical Categories: N – Noun; V – Verb; Aux – Auxiliary; Adj – Adjective; Adv – Adverb; P –Preposition; Det –Determiner.

Phrasal Categories: NP – Noun Phrase; VP – Verb Phrase; AdjP – Adjective Phrase; AdvP – Adverb Phrase; PP – Prepositional Phrase; DP – Determinative Phrase.

Clausal Categories: Cls – clause; F – finite clause; NF – nonfinite clause (Ger – gerund; Inf – infinitive; PPart – past participle).

Functions: Subj – subject; Pred – predicate/predicator; Compcomplement: elements required by an expression to complete its meaning (DO – direct object; IO – indirect object);  Adjunctadjunct: elements not required by an expression to complete its meaning (Subord – subordinator; Coord – coordinator); Suplsupplement: a clause or phrase added onto a clause that is not closely related to the central thought or structure of the main clause.

 

 

Resources

  • "bad" American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 2015. Web. 27 Nov. 2015. <Link>.
  • Azar, Betty Schrampfer, and Stacy A. Hagen. Understanding and Using English Grammar. 4th ed., Pearson Education, 2009.
  • Fowler's Modern English Usage. R. W. Burchfield and H. W. Fowler, revised 3rd ed., Oxford UP, 2004.
  • Garner's Modern American Usage, Bryan A. Garner, 3rd ed., Oxford UP, 2009.
  • Huddleston, Rodney D., and Geoffrey K. Pullum. The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language. Cambridge UP, 2002.
  • Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of English Usage. Reprint ed., Merriam-Webster, 1994.
  • Swan, Michael. Practical English Usage. 3rd ed., Oxford UP, 2005.

 

 

 

 

Practice 1

Activity vs. Sensation

 

 

 

Present or present progressive?

  1. Select the response from the list that best completes the sentence. 
  2. Compare your response to the feedback by clicking the "check" button.

 

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