Soar to New Heights with 50 Common English Verbs

Do you know how to learn English verbs?

Study flashcards. Work hard. Travel to America, if you want.

Verbs are everywhere. Read on to learn 50 of the most common ones in English.


Ways to Practice English Verbs

Act out the verbs.

Sometimes transforming words into actions can help your brain memorize vocabulary.

Write verbs on individual slips of paper, and put each slip into a hat. Draw a piece of paper out of the hat and act out the verb, then another, and another and so on.

You can easily do this activity by yourself.

Or, if you have a couple of friends who are also learning English, you can make a game out of it!

Play a form of Charades. While you act out a verb, your friends have to guess what the verb on the piece of paper is.

Make flashcards.

This study method is a classic for a reason. Flashcards make for a quick way to memorize vocab words!

Write the English word on one side of the card, then the definition (in either English or your native tongue, depending on your level) on the other side.

You may buy a set of physical flashcards and create a deck the old-fashioned way. Or, download an app (such as FluentU) that allows you to create digital flashcard decks. FluentU will also provide you with ready-made flashcard sets that cover vocab from videos you’ve watched in the program.

There’s no right or wrong way to make flashcards, but going the digital route can make it easier to study from anywhere, without having to lug (carry) around a thick deck of cards.

Write a story.

You’ve memorized the definitions. You can understand what others are saying when they use the verbs in a sentence. Now you need to make sure you can use the verbs on your own.

Try writing a short story, and challenge yourself to use 10 or 15 of the verbs you’re studying in the story. If you have a friend who’s also an English student, swap (trade) and proofread each other’s stories.

If you’re someone who remembers material by writing, this is a great exercise to put your knowledge to the test.

The Most Common English Verbs

1. to be

Conjugation: to be


to exist

He is the only male cousin in his family. 

to occur or take place

The conference will be next Wednesday. 

2. to have

Conjugation: to have


to own or hold

I have two dogs.

to experience

We had a good time at the restaurant last night.

3. to ask

Conjugation: to ask


to say something to gain information

Did you ask the teacher when your homework assignment is due?

to request something from someone

Mom asked me to clean my room.

4. to do

Conjugation: to do


to perform an action

A: What do you like to do on weekends?
B: I usually watch TV and play with my dogs.

to act in a certain way

My favorite football team is doing poorly.

5. to get

Conjugation: to get


to receive

A: Has the letter I sent arrived yet?
B: Yes, I got it.

to obtain or fetch

Can you get my jacket from the closet for me?

to understand

A: Are you still studying for the English test?
B: Yes. I just don’t get how to conjugate verbs!
A: I know, conjugations are difficult to understand.

6. to go

Conjugation: to go


to move from one place to another

Are you going to the concert next weekend?

to leave

It’s already 11:00? I have to go!

7. to hear

Conjugation: to hear


to take in a sound with your ears

A: Did you hear that sound?
B: Yeah, but don’t worry, I think it’s just the wind.

to be aware of

Did you hear about Taylor Swift’s new cat?

8. to say

Conjugation: to say


to utter words aloud

A: What did she say?
B: She said that she will think about it.

to convey information

The website says the museum will open at 8:00.

9. to know

Conjugation: to know


to be aware of

Did you know that Taylor Swift got a new cat?

to have a relationship with someone

A: Do you know Sarah?
B: Yes, we used to work together.

10. to like

Conjugation: to like


to enjoy

A: Do you like the TV show “Supernatural?”
B: Yes, but I like “Breaking Bad” more.

11. to love

Conjugation: to love


to like a lot

A: Do you like the movie “Ocean’s 11?”
B: Yes, I love that movie!

to have deep romantic or emotional feelings for

I know your mom is strict, but remember that she loves you.

I love Steve—I want to marry him!

12. to need

Conjugation: to need


to require

I need a pencil to take the test.

13. to want

Conjugation: to want


to desire

I want a puppy, but I would adopt an older dog if I found the right one.

14. to think

Conjugation: to think


to have an opinion or belief

I don’t think the color red looks good on me.

I think God is real.

to direct your mind toward something

A: What are you thinking about?
B: I am thinking about what I want to eat for lunch.

English Verbs for Home

15. to eat

Conjugation: to eat


to put food in your mouth and swallow it

Do you want to eat pizza or chicken for dinner?

16. to drink

Conjugation: to drink


to put liquid in your mouth and swallow it

Don’t forget to drink water before you go to bed.

17. to watch

Conjugation: to watch


to look at or observe

You can watch TV for 30 minutes when we get home.

18. to sleep

Conjugation: to sleep


to be asleep

I try to sleep for at least eight hours every night.

19. to cook

Conjugation: to cook


to prepare food or a meal

Dad loves to cook healthy meals for the family.

20. to clean (up)

Conjugation: to clean


to make something free of dirt or mess

Let’s clean the living room before we have guests over.

Did you clean up the mess on the kitchen counter?

21. to open

Conjugation: to open


to move something so that there is a space for access or view

I can’t open this pickle jar—can you help?

Open the window so the fresh air can get in.

22. to close

Conjugation: to close


to move as to cover an opening

Close the refrigerator door so we don’t waste electricity.

English Verbs for School

23. to learn

Conjugation: to learn


to gain knowledge of or skill in something

I am learning a lot in my English class!

24. to teach

Conjugation: to teach


to show or explain how to do something

The professor will teach us how to read the data in tomorrow’s class.

25. to study

Conjugation: to study


to devote time to an academic field

Note: In college, if you say “I am studying math,” this implies that math is your college major, and you’ll earn your degree in math. If you say “I am studying for the math test,” this means you’re studying for something specific for a short amount of time.

A: I hear you are starting college in the fall. What do you want to study?
B: I think I want to major in history.

A: Do you want to play basketball tomorrow night?
B: I can’t. I have to study for my communication class.

A: What are you studying for?
B: I have a huge test on Friday.

26. to write

Conjugation: to write


to mark words on a surface

Can you write the rules on the chalkboard?

to compose a document

I have to write a six-page paper by Monday morning.

27. to read

Conjugation: to read


to look at and understand written text

Everyone remember to read the first chapter of your textbook by tomorrow.

28. to assign

Conjugation: to assign


to give a job or task to someone

The teacher assigned us so much homework!

29. to listen

Conjugation: to listen


to pay attention to sound

Did you listen to the teacher’s instructions?

English Verbs for Business

30. to work

Conjugation: to work

Definition: to be engaged in a practical activity, especially at one’s job

I’m an elementary school teacher. I work at the school down the street.

31. to submit

Conjugation: to submit


to present to someone for judgment

I have to submit my report to the manager by 5:00.

32. to explain

Conjugation: to explain


to describe an idea to someone so that they understand it

A: Can you explain how to create this document to me?
B: Sure! First, select a template in Microsoft Word.

33. to contact

Conjugation: to contact


to communicate with someone

A: Have you contacted the manager yet?
B: Yes, I called her cell phone this morning.

34. to send

Conjugation: to send


to arrange for the delivery of

A: Have you contacted the manager yet?
B: No, but I will send her an email tomorrow.

I sent the team the memo yesterday.

35. to buy

Conjugation: to buy


to obtain in exchange for payment

We need to buy more uniforms for the new employees.

36. to sell

Conjugation: to sell


to give in exchange for payment

I sold 12 boxes this week.

37. to pay

Conjugation: to pay


to give currency in exchange for an item or service

A: Where do I pay for this necklace?
B: You can pay at the cash register at the front of the store.

A: Did the boss pay us yet?
B: No, he pays us every Friday.

38. to advertise

Conjugation: to advertise


to promote something in a public medium

A: What’s the best way to advertise the product?
B: We could create a TV commercial.
C: If we’re going to do that, let’s write a radio commercial, too.

39. to finish

Conjugation: to finish


to complete

A: When do you think you can finish writing that speech?
B: I should finish it by the end of the day on Tuesday.

English Verbs for Travel

40. to travel

Conjugation: to travel


to make a journey

My dad and I are traveling to Spain this summer.

41. to visit

Conjugation: to visit


to go see someone or something

I want to visit my grandmother next month.

Let’s visit as many attractions as we can.

42. to explore

Conjugation: to explore


to travel through a new place

Do you want to explore the neighborhood before we go home?

43. to tour

Conjugation: to tour


to travel through a new place, or to explore (explore and tour can often be used interchangeably)

Do you want to tour the neighborhood before we go home?

44. to fly

Conjugation: to fly


to move through the air

Note: You’ll often hear fly when referring to animals like birds. But when applied to travel, fly means to travel by airplane.

I am flying from Atlanta to New York at 4:00.

45. to ride

Conjugation: to ride


to travel in a vehicle

The Eiffel Tower is too far away for us to walk. Let’s ride the bus.

46. to camp

Conjugation: to camp


to stay in a tent or camper

Note: You can say to camp or to go camping.

Let’s camp in the mountains this weekend.

Do you want to go camping in the state park?

47. to ski

Conjugation: to ski


to travel over snow on skis

Note: As with to camp, you can say to ski or to go skiing.

Would you rather ski in Colorado or Utah?

My family and I go skiing every winter.

48. to stay

Conjugation: to stay

Definition: to remain in one place

Note: You can also use to stay to refer to where you’re temporarily living in a hotel or hostel.

A: You’re going to Sydney? Where are you going to stay?
B: I am staying at a hotel just outside of the city.

A: [on the phone] Where are you?
B: I’m standing at the bus stop.
A: Stay there. I’m on my way.

49. to swim

Conjugation: to swim


to move through water

Note: Like with to camp and to ski, you can say to swim or to go swimming.

Let’s swim in the pool after lunch.

Do you want to go swimming this weekend?

50. to relax

Conjugation: to relax


to become less anxious

You need to relax! Hopefully, going on vacation will help.

to partake in an enjoyable activity

Dad is relaxing in the hammock outside.


Everywhere you go, everywhere you look, there’s a verb. Once you’ve mastered these basic verbs, you can move on to more and more advanced ones. There’s always more to learn!

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