It seems that in context of French grammar (at least in traditional grammar) talking about stative and dynamic verbs is not relevant. because there is no real progressive aspect in french and there is a tense like imperfect which we can use it for permanent or progressive situations for both stative and dynamic verbs. so syntactically it is not necessary to talk about stative and dynamic verbs in practice.

so syntax and morphology of French is not much sensetive to stative and dynamic verbs. and traditional grammar is actually syntax and morphology.

I am not expert in French grammar. Do you know any cases in French grammar which for explanation of syntactical or morphological behaviors something was said about the concept of stative and dynamic verbs?

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    Indeed, I can't think of verbs that would exhibit static/dynamic behaviour through consequences for any particular level of grammar. There are plenty of ways to convey this semantically, either in verb morphology (such as the imparfait) or periphrastically (such as être en train de ____ "be in the act of ___ing"), but verbs themselves don't carry any such category information, to my knowledge. Jun 8, 2017 at 15:12

1 Answer 1


As a French Canadian native speaker, the only time I remember the distinction being mentioned was in French class back in high school where the teacher gave us a very short list of stative verbs to remember as verbs that used "be" as their auxiliary, but even that falls short of being either useful or significant because verbs conjugated with be as their auxiliary are not necessarily all stative.

Interestingly, when I did my English<->French translation degree at university, which involved a few courses in linguistics and a lot of courses focused on French grammar since a translator needs to write fluently and grammatically in his native language, the topic never came up.

So I would agree with your interpretation that on a grammatical level, there is no relevant distinction to be made.

  • It actually seems that most of them are dynamic (aller, venir, tomber, descendre, passer, sortir etc.) or neither dynamic nor stative (arriver, entrer, devenir, naître, mourir)... Rester is probably the only one I'd called stative. Jun 9, 2017 at 16:18
  • High school is a long time ago, so I may be misrembering what that teacher said! The only other verb I remember that you haven't already listed is "demeurer", which I'd also consider stative. And of course, "être", the quintessential stative verb, uses "avoir" as its auxiliary. All in all, the stative-dynamic distinction may have some uses semantically, but is not significant at the syntactic and morphological levels.
    – Philippe
    Jun 9, 2017 at 23:52

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