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Sensory States

Sensation and perception

fingers feel keyboardman feels sad
 

 

Static vs. Dynamic Sensory Verbs

STATIC VERB

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.

He feels sad.   (Adj)

I hear what you are saying. (nominal clause)

I see the picture.  (NP)

Your cello sounds good. (Adj)

This food tastes spicy(Adj)

I feel sick(Adj)    /  I am feeling sick.

DYNAMIC VERB

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.

He is feeling the dots to read the book. ("am touching"  – Braille reading)

I'm hearing you. ("am listening" – informal)

Mario is seeing Lucia. (is visiting or is dating) 
I am looking at you. /  I am watching you.

The cook is sounding the dinner bell.  (is ringing)

The cook is tasting the soup.  (is trying or sampling)

I am feeling¹ your forehead to check for a fever. (am touching)  See feel below.

 

¹am feeling — It is becoming more common to hear speakers use the progressive form to emphasize time – adapting to something new usage — "How are you feeling about living away from home?" "Is he feeling comfortable with the situation?"

Categories:  NP –noun phrase; N – noun; VP – verb phrase; V – verb; Detdeterminer; PP – prepositional phrase; P – preposition; AdvP – adverb phrase; Adv – adverb; AdjP– adjective phrase; Adj – adjective
Also see Sensory V + Gerund

 

 

 

 

 

 

Feel

Experience a Sensation vs. Taking Action

 

 

 

FEEK — 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 – physical, mental, quality state

I feel hungry / pain / cold / hot.  
I feel nervous / anxious / tired / comfortable. 
I feel good / well / sick / fine / better / worse.   

FEEL GOOD / STRANGE / EXITING – an effect

I feel strong / old / energized / fatigued after I exercise.
I felt excited to hear the news. 

FEEL SMOOTH / DRY –  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.)

BE AWARE PHYSICALLY OR EMOTIONALLY

We felt the earthquake around 2:00 a.m.
He feels his daughter's warmth.
She felt her mother's loss. (death) 

HAVE AN OPINION / BELIEVE

I feel strongly about this issue. (not usually progressive, takes an adverb, does not take passive voice)     Merriam-Webster. "feel" 4.b – believe, think

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 around her bag to find 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) 

 

range (v.) – include, vary, go from X to Y,  "range from something to something"
(Merriam-Webster 435)   (Swan 202.6)

Solution - lightbulb  Pop-Q "Strongly"

 

 

 

 

 

 

Taste

Sensation vs. Investigating Flavor

tastes sourtaste food
 

 

Taste— experience vs. testing something

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 cinnamon?

No, but I can almost taste some vanilla.
  

SAMPLE / TAKE A BITE

— Don't eat my pizza. 

— I'm just tasting it. 


 

 

(Swan – 577) (Huddleston 118)
tasting tomato*Yellow highlighted words are examples of incorrect usage.
% Often asked by wait persons (waiters) in restaurants.  

Solution - lightbulb Pop-Q "Tasting"

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grammar Notes

Traditional and Linguistic Description

(Advanced)

 

 

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

 

CATEGORIES:  NP –noun phrase; N – noun; VP – verb phrase; V – verb; Detdeterminer; PP – prepositional phrase; P – preposition; AdvP – adverb phrase; Adv – adverb; AdjP– adjective phrase; Adj – adjective
FUNCTIONS: Subject:  Subject,   Predicate: Predicator (V) Complements: (elements required by verb) Object, Indirect Object, Predicative Complement  Adjuncts: (optional modifiers) Adj, Adv

 

 Resources

 

 

 

 

 

 

Practice 1

Activity vs. Sensation

 

 

 

Present or present progressive?

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