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ESL forum > Grammar and Linguistics > Tips needed!!!!!!    

Tips needed!!!!!!


Tips needed!!!!!!
Hello again everyone. I have another grammar doubt that I �d like some opinions . I have to teach my advanced students about stative verbs. I �ve read the grammar but I still can �t get something:
THINK and UNDERSTAND can be stative verbs. I got this from a website.
For example, the verb to think has two different senses:
1.to believe, to have an opinion
I think Ricky Martin is sexy.
2.to reflect, to use your brain to solve a problem
I am thinking about my homework.
So here is my question: Why can �t I say "I �m understanding the homework"  since UNDERSTAND and THINK are in the same pattern (you are using your brain to solve a problem).
Do you have any easier tip to help me out or I �ll get more confused than my students.

1 Oct 2009      


The verb �to think � can either express an opinion, or the process of considering. Therefore, you can use �I am thinking � for the process of considering and when �think � expresses an opinion it is stative:   Understand states a situation rather than an action.  I would just tell my students that understand can �t be used as an action.  It is a stative verb and it just states a situation and not an action.

1 Oct 2009     


I back Giovanni on this one
I �m thinking about my homework is an action that takes time. You can spend all night thinking about it.
On the other hand, you cannot spend all night "understanding". It is not an action. Either you understand or not. 

1 Oct 2009     

United States

Hi! Well, unfortunately, I don �t think it �s that easy.  Generally, you must ask yourself this question:
Does this verb relate some sort of process or a state? 
If it relates a process, then the verb is an action verb. If it relates a state, the verb is a stative verb.
Another way:
Can it be used in progressive/continuous tenses? If yes, then the verb is an action verb. Stative verbs cannot be used in these tenses.
Many verbs can be used as action and stative verbs, as always, depending on the context. I believe understand fits in this category.
Understand is typically listed as stative when showing thoughts or opinions:
I understand why you feel that way. Not: I am understanding why you feel that way.
I am finally understanding stative verbs. He may not be understanding the concept just yet.
Understand can describe a process too, and in this case it would be considered an action verb.
Of course, don �t forget that understand can also be used as a gerund, or an adjective:
She is an understanding person. Adjective
Understanding grammar is an important part of learning a language. Gerund (used as a subject of the sentence)
GOOD LUCK:-) Hope this helps!

1 Oct 2009     


I personally would never use �understand � in present continuous. I �d say I �m beginning to understand stative vebs or I can finally understand. Maybe it �s a difference between American and British English.

1 Oct 2009     


Like Arkel, I wouldn �t use "understanding" as a present continuous verb either. I would use "understanding" as a noun, however.
Jack and Jill have an understanding about each other �s relationships with others i.e. they can both go out with different people.
It is not good to assume that because two words have a similar meaning they can be substituted for each other.
It �s all about collocations and this is why we must encourage our students to do lots of reading and listening so that these collocations become familiar.
My favourite example of collocations is flying a plane and driving a car. Both have pedals, switches, steering wheels (sticks?), odometers, fuel gauges, etc  Both are means of getting from one place to another but you never say :
The pilot is driving the plane.
Cheers Joy

1 Oct 2009