commonly used english verbs

54 Most Common English Verbs

Every day you speak up to 20,000 words.

That’s more than 1,000 words for every hour you’re awake!

How well do you really know your verbs though? Are you using each verb correctly?

Do you know all the different situations you can use these words for? Think about that!

Read on to learn 54 of the most common ones in English.


1. to ask

Definition 1: to say something to gain information

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

Definition 2: to request something from someone

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Mom asked me to clean my room.

How to conjugate “to ask”

2. to be

Definition 1: to exist

He is the only male cousin in his family. 

Definition 2: to occur or take place

The conference will be next Wednesday. 

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How to conjugate “to be”

3. to buy

Definition: to obtain in exchange for payment

We need to buy more uniforms for the new employees.

How to conjugate “to buy”

4. to camp

Definition: 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.

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Do you want to go camping in the state park?

How to conjugate “to camp”

5. to clean (up)

Definition: 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?

How to conjugate “to clean”

6. to close

Definition: to move as to cover an opening

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

How to conjugate “to close”

7. to come

Definition: to move towards, to happen.

Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.

How to conjugate “to come”

8. to cook

Definition: to prepare food or a meal

Dad loves to cook healthy meals for the family.

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How to conjugate “to cook”

9. to contact

Definition: to communicate with someone

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

How to conjugate “to contact”

10. to do

Definition 1: to perform an action

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

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Definition 2: to act in a certain way

My favorite football team is doing poorly.

How to conjugate “to do”

11. to drink

Definition: to put liquid in your mouth and swallow it

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

How to conjugate “to drink”

12. to eat

Definition: to put food in your mouth and swallow it

Do you want to eat pizza or chicken for dinner?

How to conjugate “to eat”

13. to explain

Definition: 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.

How to conjugate “to explain”

14. to explore

Definition: to travel through a new place

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

How to conjugate “to explore”

15. to finish

Definition: 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.

How to conjugate “to finish”

16. to fly

Definition: 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.

How to conjugation “to fly”

17. to get

Definition 1: to receive

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

Definition 2: to obtain or fetch

Can you get my jacket from the closet for me?

Definition 3: to understand

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

How to conjugate “to get”

18. to give

Definition: to transfer something, to provide, to state information.

Give me a glass of water, please.

How to conjugate “to give”

19. to go

Definition 1: to move from one place to another

Are you going to the concert next weekend?

Definition 2: to leave

It’s already 11:00? I have to go!

How to conjugate “to go”

20. to have

Definition 1: to own or hold

I have two dogs.

Definition 2: to experience

We had a good time at the restaurant last night.

How to conjugate “to have”

21. to hear

Definition 1: 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.

Definition 2: to be aware of

Did you hear about Taylor Swift’s new cat?

How to conjugate “to hear”

22. to know

Definition 1: to be aware of

Did you know that Taylor Swift got a new cat?

Definition 2: to have a relationship with someone

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

How to conjugate “to know”

23. to learn

Definition: to gain knowledge of or skill in something

I am learning a lot in my English class!

How to conjugate “to learn”

24. to like

Definition: to enjoy

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

How to conjugate “to like”

25. to listen

Definition: to pay attention to sound

Did you listen to the teacher’s instructions?

How to conjugate “to listen”

26. to look

Definition: to search for something with your eyes

People were looking at him

How to conjugate “to look”

27. to love

Definition 1: to like a lot

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

Definition 2: 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!

How to conjugate “to love”

28. to make 

Definition: to bring something into existence

Take chances, make mistakes, get messy!

How to conjugate “to make”

29. to need

Definition: to require

I need a pencil to take the test.

How to conjugate “to need”

30. to open

Definition: 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.

How to conjugate “to open”

31. to pay

Definition: 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.

How to conjugate “to pay”

32. to read


to look at and understand written text

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

How to conjugate “to read”

33. to relax

Definition 1: to become less anxious

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

Definition 2: to partake in an enjoyable activity

Dad is relaxing in the hammock outside.

How to conjugate “to relax”

34. to ride

Definition: to travel in a vehicle

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

How to conjugate “to ride”

35. to say

Definition 1: to utter words aloud

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

Definition 2: to convey information

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

How to conjugate “to say”

36. to see

Definition: to use your eyes to perceive something

I can see you from that building!

How to conjugate “to see”

37. to sell

Definition: to give in exchange for payment

I sold 12 boxes this week.

How to conjugate “to sell”

38. to send

Definition: 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.

How to conjugate “to send”

39. to ski

Definition: 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.

How to conjugate “to ski”

40. to sleep

Definition: to be asleep

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

How to conjugate “to sleep”

41. 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.

How to conjugate “to stay”

42. to swim

Definition: 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?

How to conjugate “to swim”

43. to study

Definition: 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.

How to conjugate “to study”

44. to submit

Definition: to present to someone for judgment

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

How to conjugate “submit”

45. to take

Definition: to reach for something with your hands

She took another biscuit. 

How to conjugate “to take”

46. to teach

Definition: to show or explain how to do something

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

How to conjugate “to teach”

47. to think

Definition 1: to have an opinion or belief

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

I think God is real.

Definition 2: to direct your mind toward something

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

How to conjugate “to think”

48. to travel

Definition: to make a journey

My dad and I are traveling to Spain this summer.

How to conjugate “to travel”

49. to visit

Definition: to go see someone or something

I want to visit my grandmother next month.

Let’s visit as many attractions as we can.

How to conjugate “to visit”

50. to use

Definition 1: to put something to work

She used her key to open the front door.

How to conjugate “to use”

51. to want

Definition: to desire

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

How to conjugate “to want”

52. to watch

Definition: to look at or observe

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

How to conjugate “to watch”

53. 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.

How to conjugate “to work”

54. to write

Definition 1: to mark words on a surface

Can you write the rules on the chalkboard?

Definition 2: to compose a document

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

How to conjugate “to write”

Ways to Practice English Verbs

Act out the verbs

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 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 that allows you to create digital flashcard decks.

On the FluentU program, you can make your own flashcard sets based on the videos you watch or study the ready-made themed decks.

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Write a story

It helps 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.


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!

And One More Thing...

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