What verb is «to dream»

  • owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    Hi, Anne. I don't think that dream is a stative verb. People often use it intransitively, however. Here are a few definitions and examples for dream from our dictionary that may be helpful:

    • to have a dream.
    • to see or imagine in sleep or in a vision: [~ + object] We dream all sorts of dreams. [~ + (that) clause] I dreamed that a monster was chasing me. [~ + of/about + object] I dreamed of you last night.
    • to be lost in thought;
      pass (time) in dreaming: [no object] Stop dreaming and get back to work. [~ + away + object] He's dreaming away his days. [~ + object + away] He's dreaming his days away.
    • dream of, [~ + of + object] to consider, think about, or give serious thought to: I wouldn't dream of leaving this great job.
     
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    Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    I don't know... For example... I dream of becoming a doctor.
    I think in this use it is probably stative, if this makes a difference. I would be inclined to use the present perfect simple with a duration ("I have dreamt of becoming a doctor since I was seven years old", for example), which is rarely possible with dynamic verbs.

    However, other meanings of "dream" are clearly dynamic. What you do in your sleep is an action, not a state, and it would be fine to say "I have been dreaming of becoming a doctor since I was seven years old", but this conveys a slightly different meaning, of a repeated action rather than a constant yearning.
     
    Hi, Anne. I don't think that dream is a stative verb. People often use it intransitively, however. Here are a few definitions and examples for dream from our dictionary that may be helpful:

    • to have a dream.
    • to see or imagine in sleep or in a vision: [~ + object] We dream all sorts of dreams. [~ + (that) clause] I dreamed that a monster was chasing me. [~ + of/about + object] I dreamed of you last night.
    • to be lost in thought;
      pass (time) in dreaming: [no object] Stop dreaming and get back to work. [~ + away + object] He's dreaming away his days. [~ + object + away] He's dreaming his days away.
    • dream of, [~ + of + object] to consider, think about, or give serious thought to: I wouldn't dream of leaving this great job.

    If I may add something. Deciding on transitive or intransitive will not necessarily settle the 'stative' issue. Agree? :)
     

    owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    To tell you the truth, I don't find the stative classification useful. I haven't ever tried to settle the stative issue, but this definition for stative* sounds standard if not particularly helpful to me:

    (of a verb) expressing a state or condition rather than an activity or event, such as be or know, as opposed to run or grow.

    *It came from Oxford Languages.
     
    To tell you the truth, I don't find the stative classification useful. I haven't ever tried to settle the stative issue, but this definition for stative* sounds standard if not particularly helpful to me:

    (of a verb) expressing a state or condition rather than an activity or event, such as be or know, as opposed to run or grow.

    *It came from Oxford Languages.

    The OP inquired about 'stative'; I can think of one possible reason off hand, namely these verb are much less often given continuous (progressive), that is -ing-- forms, especially in the present. So to say, continuity, continuing-ness, is built in.
     
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    SevenDays

    Senior Member
    Spanish
    Hi there!
    Is dream actually a stative or dynamic verb? If it's not a stative one, then, why?
    Well, put it in a progressive construction (be + -ing):

    I am dreaming of a white Christmas

    A dynamic verb is a verb that expresses an action, movement, or change. To bring an image to mind ("white Christmas") requires an active mind, a mind engaged in an activity, so it makes sense to say that this is an "dynamic verb."

    Now, suppose you are sleeping, and I see that you are smiling. I would conclude that you must be having a nice dream. That's dynamic.

    And that's the basic test for a "dynamic" verb. (Some people use the term "active" instead of dynamic.) If you can put the verb in a progressive form, and if it makes sense, then the verb is said to be dynamic/active. If not, it's stative. Try this:

    I am having a car

    Unless there is some specific context for that, it sounds weird, because "have" describes a state, not an action; it's a stative verb. We would say instead I have a car or I own a car.

    But the terms "dynamic" and "stative" are classification labels. We love to classify things, to put labels on them. As to your example

    I dream of becoming a doctor

    It's not really an action; actions are temporary. Here, "I dream" means, hope or aspiration, which are things that extend through time. This is labeled as "stative." If you put in in the progressive

    I am dreaming of becoming a doctor

    the construction refers to an action, an action linked to a specific moment (the moment of speaking).

    Take labels "dynamic" and "stative" with a grain of salt. As with many things in language, context matters.
     

    Anne Frank

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Well, put it in a progressive construction (be + -ing):

    I am dreaming of a white Christmas

    A dynamic verb is a verb that expresses an action, movement, or change. To bring an image to mind ("white Christmas") requires an active mind, a mind engaged in an activity, so it makes sense to say that this is an "dynamic verb."

    Now, suppose you are sleeping, and I see that you are smiling. I would conclude that you must be having a nice dream. That's dynamic.

    And that's the basic test for a "dynamic" verb. (Some people use the term "active" instead of dynamic.) If you can put the verb in a progressive form, and if it makes sense, then the verb is said to be dynamic/active. If not, it's stative. Try this:

    I am having a car

    Unless there is some specific context for that, it sounds weird, because "have" describes a state, not an action; it's a stative verb. We would say instead I have a car or I own a car.

    But the terms "dynamic" and "stative" are classification labels. We love to classify things, to put labels on them. As to your example

    I dream of becoming a doctor

    It's not really an action; actions are temporary. Here, "I dream" means, hope or aspiration, which are things that extend through time. This is labeled as "stative." If you put in in the progressive

    I am dreaming of becoming a doctor

    the construction refers to an action, an action linked to a specific moment (the moment of speaking).

    Take labels "dynamic" and "stative" with a grain of salt. As with many things in language, context matters.
    Thanks a lot! No grammar textbooks actually mention that verb.
     

    lentulax

    Senior Member
    UK English
    Am I being stupid, or am I having a senior moment, if I think I've just used the verbs 'be' and 'have' in the present continuous, in a perfectly normal way?
     
    Am I being stupid, or am I having a senior moment, if I think I've just used the verbs 'be' and 'have' in the present continuous, in a perfectly normal way?

    "having" seems to go both ways; similar to what you said, "My child is having a fit about missing his favorite TV show." But not "My child is having a younger brother"- unless that's a baby being delivered.

    "We're having a rain storm now" seems dynamic, but "We have a cold climate." seem stative.

    It seems 'have'-dynamic is like carrying out, performing or undergoing. 'have' stative is about owning, possessing.
    "My child is having a tooth extracted" seem dynamic if it's a present event. Yet if it's the future (add 'next Monday'), stative vs. dynamic seems less clear.

    M-W online, I see, has about 20 meanings of 'have'.
     
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