Can I use the Present Perfect SIMPLE with State Verbs like “Thought” and “Know”? Like, for example, “I’ve thought you were my friend” and “I’ve known she was nice.” Can I use it? If I can’t, why?

1 Answer 1


I would not use these sentences as they are, but I might use that construction in a longer sentence:

  • “I have known about her goodness for several years.”
  • “I have sometimes known her name, but I never remember it for long.” (This is somewhat humorous.)
  • “I have often thought it would be fun to learn woodworking.” (The thought comes to me often, but I do not always have that thought.)

I cannot clearly say why, but for these verbs this tense demands a specification of time: either a duration (continuing into the present), as in my first example, or a set of discrete moments, as in my others.

  • I don't think "to think" is a stative verb, because it can be used in the progressive tense: "I have been thinking about it for days", as opposed to "to know".
    – anouk
    Nov 24, 2019 at 18:06
  • 1
    Think has different meanings. When it means "hold an opinion", or "believe", it is stative. When it means "cogitate", it isn't.
    – Colin Fine
    Nov 21, 2020 at 22:17

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