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  1. #1
    Enchanter is offline Newbie
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    Default See as state verb

    Hello,

    What I don't understand is why all English textbooks teach us that see (meaning to perceive something with one's eyes) is a state verb and that it cannot be used in progressive tenses. Then how could an obviously native English speaker have said the following:

    "What we're seeing is a decline in the overall number of people required to do a job," said Daryl Plummer, a Gartner analyst at the research firm's Symposium ITxpo.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Rover_KE is online now Moderator
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    Default Re: See as state verb

    I've not read 'all English textbooks', but it's perfectly normal for native English speakers to say 'What we're seeing...'

    Rover

  3. #3
    Enchanter is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: See as state verb

    Quote Originally Posted by Rover_KE View Post
    I've not read 'all English textbooks', but it's perfectly normal for native English speakers to say 'What we're seeing...'

    Rover
    I know that! My question is why do the textbooks teach that see (meaning to perceive with eyes) is state verb while native speakers use it as dynamic.

    What if your student asks you this question? What will you answer?

  4. #4
    bhaisahab's Avatar
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    Default Re: See as state verb

    Quote Originally Posted by Enchanter View Post
    I know that! My question is why do the textbooks teach that see (meaning to perceive with eyes) is state verb while native speakers use it as dynamic.

    What if your student asks you this question? What will you answer?
    Would you care to name the textbooks you are talking about?

  5. #5
    5jj's Avatar
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    Default Re: See as state verb

    Quote Originally Posted by Enchanter View Post
    I know that!
    Well, you didn't say that you knew that. In any case, people who respond here do so in the knowledge that not all who read the responses may know the information they provide.
    My question is why do the textbooks teach that see (meaning to perceive with eyes) is state verb
    Because seeing normally involves no action on the part of the subject of the verb. Looking, on the other hand, does involve action;
    while native speakers use it as dynamic.
    In the sentence you mention, SEE is not really being used dynamically. It's simply that it is possible to imply 'limited duration', by using the progressive forms sometimes with the verb SEE
    What if your student asks you this question? What will you answer?
    I would say that it is not very helpful to label verbs as 'stative' or 'dynamic'. It may be useful to say that some verbs are usually used in a stative or dynamic sense. There are very few indeed that are used exclusively in one way only.

  6. #6
    engee30's Avatar
    engee30 is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: See as state verb

    It's not always the case with the verb being stative or dynamic. The same verb can often be of many other meanings. In this particular case, I'd rather say that see means experience, which will normally allow a continuous tense.
    There are, however, situations in which the so-called stative verb is used dynamically, though:
    I can't believe what I'm seeing.
    Here, you'd use such a form of the verb see to emphasise your utterance. And, as 5jj mentions in his post, it's only NOW that is in focus, where NOW = limited duration.

  7. #7
    Enchanter is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: See as state verb

    I don't think the student would be satisfied with any of the hand-waving style answers posted in this thread. I really, really don't. Sorry.

  8. #8
    Enchanter is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: See as state verb

    Quote Originally Posted by bhaisahab View Post
    Would you care to name the textbooks you are talking about?
    Why?

  9. #9
    5jj's Avatar
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    Default Re: See as state verb

    Quote Originally Posted by Enchanter View Post
    I don't think the student would be satisfied with any of the hand-waving style answers posted in this thread. I really, really don't. Sorry.
    What do you mean by 'hand-waving style answers'?

  10. #10
    emsr2d2's Avatar
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    Default Re: See as state verb

    If I were indulging in hand-waving while typing a response, it would be much harder to type.
    Remember - correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing make posts much easier to read.

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