A stative verb is a type of verb that does not change its state, or in other words, is static. One of two classifications for verbs in English, stative verbs are not usually action verbs and cannot be changed to the progressive tense. They are the opposite of dynamic verbs which can change their states and often describe actions which have beginnings, middles, and ends.
Either indicating an aspect of perception or of relation, stative verbs are static in their action. For example, in the phrase "I love cake," the word "love" is a stative verb. The action of loving cake is not an action with a beginning and end, it is an emotion that exist without a time frame. On the other hand, "I am eating cake" has a clear beginning, middle, and end. The action of eating begins and is completed in a set frame of time.
When not used as helping verbs, "to be" and "to have" are stative verbs. "I am female," for example, is a clear example of an unchanging circumstance. Stative verbs do not need to be so lifelong, however. "I own a car" is again a static statement because the process of owning a car is unchanging. A person owns a car until they do not own it.
Alternatively, "to buy" is a dynamic verb because it indicates a changing process. "I will buy a car," for example, indicates a change in situation, an action that is completed once performed. A person can perform the act of buying, he or she cannot perform the act of owning.
Helping verbs, which are forms of "to be" or "to have" that do not participate in the action of the sentence, are not stative verbs. Instead, they are part of a verb phrase. For example, in the sentence "I am cooking dinner," the word "am" serves as a helping or linking verb, connecting the subject "I" to the main verb "cooking." Since in this case "am" is not a verb that can stand on its own and it connects a subject to a dynamic verb, it cannot be considered a stative verb.
Another attribute of a stative verb is that it cannot be forced. A dynamic verb may be used in conjunction with the verb to force a logical result. For example, "I forced her to clean the kitchen," makes logical sense, but the sentence, "I forced her to know the answer," does not. One can force someone to complete an action but one cannot force someone to have knowledge.