16 Most Common Verbs In English To Start Speaking
You can’t imagine your conversation without any verbs. Even this sentence contains it since it is an integral part of English. So, to be a fluent speaker, you must learn the most common verbs for different occasions. But how can you do it?
People do millions of actions daily, each described by a specific word. And we can assure you that it’s not enough to simply memorize the list of the most common verbs in English to consider yourself a language pro. You need to know many nuances, and we are thrilled to tell you them all. In today’s article, you will learn what verbs are, how to use them in your daily speech, and what are some pitfalls of this issue.
Verbs in English – what are they?
Before discussing various English verbs, we must first understand what this word means. Cambridge Dictionary calls it a word or phrase describing a particular action, feeling, or experience, and we can’t argue on this one. Verbs are words you can use to describe an action, state, or event. Pretty confusing, right? Don’t worry; we are going to explain.
Action verbs describe some simple actions – to eat, to go, to sing. Basically, they mean to do anything more physically than mentally. State verbs are opposite to the action ones since they are intended to describe a (surprise) state and not an action. You can divide these words into four categories:
- emotions – to love, to hate, to want, to need;
- possessions – to have, to own, to want, to belong;
- senses – to see, to hear, to smell, to seem;
- thoughts – to know, to believe, to remember.
In some circumstances, a verb can describe both action and a state, depending on the context. For example, I think he is great – in this sentence, the word to think is a state verb, meaning “in my personal opinion.” On the other hand, the same verb describes the action in the sentence I am thinking about quitting my job. In this situation, to think means to consider doing something, which is an active process.
The third category of verbs is the event ones. These words usually refer to some situations and events that have a beginning and an ending during the definite time. For example, the verb built can describe an event in the sentence Johnathan built a wonderful house. As we mentioned previously, most common English verbs can refer to different categories depending on the context. And to understand how to use them right, you need to learn some basics first.
Regular and Irregular words – how to understand the difference?
Most common English verbs differ in one other way. Yes, we are talking about regular and irregular ones. If you’ve studied English at school, you probably know the difference between these categories. But if not, hold on tight. We are going to dive into this topic.
Regular verbs are the basic verbs that always follow the same pattern. When you use the regular verb to describe an action or feeling that took place in the past, all you need to do is to add the -ed letters to the end of your word! For example, I worked hard last week. I wanted to see him.
On the other hand, irregular verbs have three different forms in various contexts. You can’t put them all together in one rule, and it’s much easier just to memorize the list of most common verbs and their second and third forms. For example, the verb to write is an irregular one. Its second form is wrote (I wrote the letter yesterday), and the third one is written (I’ve written the letter, do you want to see it?)
It might seem hard at first glance, but actually, it is one of the easiest topics. To conquer it, you need to remember the list of irregular verbs since they are very few compared to the millions of regular ones. Here are some tips that can help you to learn the most common verbs in English and their various forms.
- Try to group similar word forms together. Memorizing a poem is easier than learning a prose text. According to a Quora poll, our brain reproduces rhymes faster and understands them better. And that is why we recommend combining irregular verbs that sound similar. For example: speak/spoken + wake/woken; cost and set (both sound the same in every form); breed/bred + shoot/shot (first forms differ, but the second ones look similar), etc.
- Learn all forms at once. One of the most common mistakes of English learners is remembering only the first form of the verb when they’re studying a new vocabulary. When you do this, you only know how to use the word in the present, and if you need to describe other tenses, you usually fail. To avoid this, try to understand whether you are dealing with the regular or irregular verb, and find all its forms immediately.
- Remember the forms of the first five most common verbs in English. It will be a great start. The next day, you can add five more and memorize them all in less than a month. We will help you with the first step: say/said/said; go/went/gone; come/came/come; know/knew/known; get/got/gotten.
- Make the studying process easy and fun. There are many ways to memorize irregular verbs effortlessly. For example, British Council offers you numerous games to remember different verbs and their use. If you are learning something by playing, your brain doesn’t have time to get bored, and everything seems easy.
- Leave the lists of mostly used verbs prominently. You will remember it subconsciously whenever your gaze falls on a word. Put the notes on the fridge, on your working desk, even on your bed – the more, the merrier.
And this is how you can quickly learn the most popular irregular verbs. After doing it, it will be easy for you to determine the verb category and understand which form is suitable for particular situations. With such knowledge, you can start to practice immediately. And speaking about it, what are the best exercises to master the use of the most common verbs in English? Let’s find it out together.
Tips for learning the most popular verbs
Three basic exercises will help you memorize most of the verbs and understand their meanings. They are simple and don’t take much time so that you can practice every free minute. There are the best tips to remember the most important English verbs:
- Perform every verb. Literally. It doesn’t matter what word you are trying to remember. Just act it out every time you’re thinking about it. Transforming words into actions is a popular exercise for students and English learners of different ages and proficiency levels.
- Make visual cards. If you have some spare time, you can make useful flashcards to make your verbs-learning process much easier. Write the action you want to remember on one side and the definition of it on the other. You can describe the verb’s meaning in your native language if you are unsure of your skills.
- Make a story. When you’ve learned enough words, you can start to implement them into your daily life. For starters, you can begin with writing a story. You can choose any topic, but there have to be some limits – for example, challenge yourself to write a short story using ten different verbs.
Those are three tips available for anyone. They don’t require much effort, but they can still become handy the next time you learn new verbs. And enough with the theory for today. We’d better tell you more about different English verbs, settled expressions, and much more. Keep reading, as you can’t miss it all!
Commonly used English verbs: Explained
We take some action every second. However, some verbs are related to some places more than to others. That is why we divided this paragraph into sections to make the navigation easier for you. And since you already know the title of our first category, let’s discuss some of the most popular verbs in general.
- To be.
It is probably the most used verb in the world. It has many different forms (was/were; am/is/are) and several meanings. The most common definition of this word is to exist. But it can also mean to take place depending on the context. For example:
I am a girl.
The party will be next Friday.
- To have.
That’s another common verb you can use in different circumstances to describe various actions. And it is also irregular, as we mentioned earlier. The form of these words is have/had/had, and it means either to own (hold) something or to experience something. For example:
I have the book you gave me.
I’ve nearly had a heart attack.
- To ask.
It is one of the most used verbs in English and has several meanings. When you ask someone about something, you do it to gain some information or to require a person to do something. And by the way, it is the first regular verb in our list. For example:
He asked me to go on a date.
My mom asks me whether I’m hungry.
- To get.
This irregular word has not two but three different meanings. And when you use it with other prepositions, the number of its meanings grows even more (but that’s another story; check the Promova blog regularly if you don’t want to miss this topic.) Anyway, to get means to receive something, to obtain something, or to understand something. For example:
I’ve got your letter.
Can you please get me a glass of water?
Repeat it, please. I still don’t get it.
- To go.
The last verb in our comprehensive list of common verbs is to go. As you already know, it is also an irregular verb, and its forms are to go/went/gone. It means moving from one place to another or leaving something. For example:
Are you going to the park tomorrow?
I didn’t know it was that late. I have to go now!
At Home: The most common verbs list
There are many things we do mostly at home. And this is what our following discussion subject is. The verbs below are elementary, and you will easily remember them because most of them describe the actions you do every day. Just look at that:
- To eat.
This verb describes an enjoyable activity for most people. To eat means to put the food in your mouth, chew it, and swallow it. You can eat breakfast, dinner, snacks, sweets, particular meals, etc. For example:
Do you want to eat? Because I’m not hungry.
- To sleep.
The following verb describes an equally important process as the previous one. It is also an irregular verb; its forms are sleep/slept/slept. It has a basic description since to sleep literally means to be asleep, or in the state of sleep. For example:
Can we go home, please? I want to sleep.
- To cook.
This verb is not as pleasant as the first one for us, but many people enjoy this process. Since it’s a regular verb, it doesn’t have any forms. To cook means the process of preparing food. For example:
You should come to my house today. I’m going to cook something delicious.
- To clean.
According to Merriam-Webster, this verb describes an action of freeing something from dirt and debris. It is also regular, so you don’t need to learn new forms of this simple word. Here’s how you can use it:
I can’t see you today. My mum asked me to clean the carpets.
- To watch.
When all chores are done, you can relax and watch TV. This regular verb means either to look at something or to observe something. For example:
You can’t watch this movie. You are too young for it.
At Work: The most popular verbs list
When we fall asleep at home, the next morning, we wake up and go to work. It is not always exciting, but still a necessary process that requires us to take some actions. And what are they? Find the answers below.
- To work.
This verb itself describes the process of being engaged in a practical activity; usually, it relates to someone’s job. The verb to work is regular and doesn’t have any specific forms. There is how you can use it:
I work in the theater.
I can’t see you today. I have to work.
- To explain.
Currently, we are explaining to you the meaning of the verb explain. It means to describe some topic as fully as possible, to clarify it for other people, and to allow them to understand it effortlessly. For example:
My boss is trying to explain the details of the project to me.
- To contact.
It is one of those common verbs we use in daily conversations. It means to reach someone or communicate with someone in different ways. And the good news – it’s a regular verb. There is how to use it:
I need to contact your manager, please.
Would it be acceptable for you to contact me via e-mail?
- To buy.
When buying something, we get those things in exchange for money (usually.) And this is the literal meaning of this verb. It is irregular, and its forms are buy/bought/bought. There is an example of its use:
I am going to buy something for lunch.
- To pay.
This verb is related to the previous one, but they still differ. When we buy something, we pay attention to what we will receive. And when we are paying for something, we are focusing on the process of giving money in exchange for something. For example:
I need to pay the rent tomorrow.
- To finish.
Depending on the context, this verb can mean to complete the task or to end doing something. Luckily, it is also regular and doesn’t require additional attention. There are the best ways to use it in your sentences:
I have to finish my record by 5.
Is there any chance you can finish doing it earlier?
Learning the most common action verbs with the Promova
If this subject seems pretty challenging for you, and you don’t know where to start, don’t worry! It may look like that, but when you learn the basics, you access various options to liven up your speeches and strengthen your language proficiency. And if you are unsure, we know precisely how to help you.
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Firstly, our team of professional teachers is always ready to accompany you in your language-learning journey. It doesn’t matter what your proficiency level is. They will prepare a unique program, especially for you.
Promova has a convenient application available for different devices for those looking for an opportunity to study alone. You can install it on your phone right now and access hundreds of lessons, popular and unusual topics, famous idioms, regular and irregular verbs, and other essential things. Sounds great, right? If you are still hesitating, just give it a try, and you will see all the benefits yourself!
Since there is no life without action, there is no English language without verbs. These words are integral to every sentence, and it is hard to imagine our daily conversations without them. That is why it is necessary to learn this topic’s basics, understand the meanings of the most popular verbs, and know how to use them in your speeches. This article has only told you a small part of the information about verbs in English. We hope that it helps to get started. And if you want to learn more, stay tuned! We will update you with more valuable topics.
What is a verb?
A verb is a word or phrase that describes a particular action (to eat, to drink, to go), state (to love, to see, to know), or event (to build something in a particular amount of time). You can divide them into different categories of words – regular and irregular ones. They differ by the conjugation pattern, as the first ones usually have typical patterns, and the second ones have various.
What are the most common verbs in English?
Some of the most common verbs in English are: to be, to have, to go, to do, to ask, to learn, to know, to eat, to sleep, to make, to buy, to pay, to see, to feel, to love, to hate, to work, to cook, to clean.
How to better remember irregular verbs?
If you want to memorize most irregular verbs quickly, try using some tips. First, divide them into categories depending on the way they sound, and try to find similar ones. Make some flashcards, and find English-learning games online to make the studying process easier.
Is it necessary to learn English verbs?
Yes, absolutely. Without the basic knowledge of this topic, you won’t be able to explain your thoughts, ask questions, and communicate with other people. Our life consists of actions, and it is essential to understand how to describe at least some parts of them. So if you want to be fluent in English, pay attention to the verbs.