54 Most Common English Verbs (with Meanings and Examples)
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
- 2. to be
- 3. to buy
- 4. to camp
- 5. to clean (up)
- 6. to close
- 7. to come
- 8. to cook
- 9. to contact
- 10. to do
- 11. to drink
- 12. to eat
- 13. to explain
- 14. to explore
- 15. to finish
- 16. to fly
- 17. to get
- 18. to give
- 19. to go
- 20. to have
- 21. to hear
- 22. to know
- 23. to learn
- 24. to like
- 25. to listen
- 26. to look
- 27. to love
- 28. to make
- 29. to need
- 30. to open
- 31. to pay
- 32. to read
- 33. to relax
- 34. to ride
- 35. to say
- 36. to see
- 37. to sell
- 38. to send
- 39. to ski
- 40. to sleep
- 41. to stay
- 42. to swim
- 43. to study
- 44. to submit
- 45. to take
- 46. to teach
- 47. to think
- 48. to travel
- 49. to visit
- 50. to use
- 51. to want
- 52. to watch
- 53. to work
- 54. to write
- Ways to Practice English Verbs
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!