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Semantic Verb Pairs           
 

 

 

Some verbs can be used to express an action, others to express status or condition. These verbs often come in pairs and are usually mutually exclusive. One is used to indicate a single occurrence, while the other indicates a situation which is or has been in existence for a long period of time. See examples below:

 


Action

I met John last September.


I got married in June.


Status/condition

I have known him since last September.
(Not: I have met John since September.)


I have been married for one month.
(Not: I have gotten married for one month.)

 

 

Some common semantic verb pairs are as follows:

 

 


Action

(When did you . . . ?)

Meet

Arrive

Become

Graduate

Learn

Hear about

Find out

Put on

Get dressed

Get married

Get engaged

Get divorced

Go to sleep/Fall asleep

Fall in love

Wake up/Get up

Catch fire

Status/condition

(How long have you . . "past participle" . . . ?)

know

be (here)

be

be (a graduate/out of school)

know

know/be aware of

know/be aware of

wear

be dressed

be married

be engaged

be divorced

be asleep

be in love

be up/awake

be on fire

 

 

 

 

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