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229 Common English Verbs With Examples

Posted by Carrie Cabral | Sep 24, 2019 12:00:00 PM

General Education

 

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Verbs are one of the eight main parts of speech, and we can't form sentences without them. A verb explains the action of a sentence, but that’s just one part of what verbs do. Use this guide to familiarize yourself with the types of verbs and what they do, and peruse this list of nearly 300 common verbs. There are over 1000 possible verbs you can use in the English language, and I’m sure you’ll recall using some verbs on these lists more than others. This verbs list includes example sentences to help you expand your vocabulary and gain a better understanding of verb words and what they do.

 

What Is a Verb?

A verb is a word used to describe an action, state, or occurrence and forming the main part of a predicate of a sentence. Remember, a predicate is the part of a sentence or clause containing a verb that says something about the subject. All sentences must have a verb, though a sentence doesn't have to have all eight parts of speech. Verb words dictate the action that's taking place, so they're necessary for a sentence to make sense. 

 

Types of Verbs and Verb Examples

There are three types of verbs: action verbs, linking verbs, and helping verbs. Action verbs are verbs that express action or possession. Action verbs can be transitive or intransitive. Transitive verb words always have a noun that receives the action of the verb, known as a direct object. They can sometimes also have an indirect object, which is a noun or phrase that occurs in addition to a direct object. Below are verb definitions and verb examples in a sentence.

Transitive verb example: I washed the dishes yesterday. The verb is washed, and the direct object is dishes, since they’re the noun being acted upon.

Transitive verb example 2: Send her the book. The verb is send, and the direct object is book; the indirect object is her. Intransitive verbs do not address an object or an indirect object. It has a modifier, but not an object.

Intransitive verb example: I went outside to enjoy the fresh air. The intransitive verb is went. There is not a direct object that is received by went. Some verbs are always intransitive, like go, lie, sneeze, sit, die, and arrive. Others like eat, can be either intransitive or transitive.

Linking verbs connect the subject of a sentence to a noun or adjective that describes it.

Linking verb example: This oatmeal tastes bland. In this sentence, oatmeal is the noun/subject, and bland is the adjective. Tastes is the linking verb that connects them.

Linking verb example 2: All the kittens are adorable. The subject is kittens, and the adjective is adorable. The linking verb is are.

Helping verbs are used before action or linking verbs to convey additional information. The main verb with an accompanying helping verb is called a verb phrase.

Helping verb example: The kids will help with the new puppy. In this sentence, kids is the subject, help is the main (action) verb, and will is the helping verb.

 

Verbs List

These verb examples lists contain just some of the most commonly used verbs in the English language. There are so many more verbs you can use, and you can utilize a Thesaurus to find words with similar meanings. All of the examples on this verbs list are given in present tense, but the examples may be in past or present tense.

The list is separated into action, helping, and linking verbs. You may notice that some words like am, appear, was etc. can act as multiple types of verbs. When you see verbs that are on multiple lists, refer to the descriptions of the types of verbs above, and notice how the words differ in meaning in the examples. 

 

Action Verbs

Achieve The student achieved a high score on her SATs.
Assemble The Avengers and their friends assembled for one last battle against Thanos.
Accelerate You can accelerate your progress on the SAT prep by signing up for tutoring.
Administer

The doctor administered several tests.

Allow

This restaurant doesn't allow smoking.

Apply

Most students apply to several colleges.

Appear

She appeared out of nowhere.

Appoint

The mayor will appoint a new fire chief in the coming weeks. 

Analyze

My co-worker analyzes tons of data every day.

Budget

We budgeted for a new couch this month.

Buy

They bought dinner three nights in a row.

Balance

She balanced carefully on the beam at the start of her routine.

Bring

Make sure you bring dessert to Thanksgiving this year. 

Build

We're building a new bookshelf. 

Chase

The cat chased the mouse around the yard.

Check

My neighbor will check my mail when I go on vacation.

Choose

You have to choose your meal for the reception.

Close

Close the door when you leave the room.

Collaborate

In order to collaborate on this project, our team met twice a week.

Collect

Collecting coins is one of my favorite hobbies.

Comment

I always make sure to like and comment on my friends' posts. 

Communicate

With family overseas, we're lucky that we can communicate through video chats.

Compare

It's hard not to compare yourself to your classmates, but you should focus on achieving your own goals. 

Convince

I convinced my friend to start a study group.

Continue

The team continued to the finals.

Coordinate

You have to coordinate the food, music, and guest list for the upcoming event. 

Cut

I cut my finger while chopping vegetables. 

Debate

I'm excited to watch the presidential candidates debate each other in the primaries. 

Defend

Are you prepared to defend your thesis?

Decide

He finally decided on what watermelon to buy.

Discover

Marine biologists have discovered a new shark species. 

Eat

Eating brunch with my friends is one of my favorite weekend activities.

Encourage

My favorite teacher encouraged me to take more creative writing courses.

Establish

We established the company as a leader in our industry.

Earn

I earned an A on my last biology test.

Examine

You should really get that pain in your knee examined. 

Expect

I expect results by the end of tomorrow. 

Experiment

My team is ready to experiment with different marketing strategies. 

Explain

Please explain the instructions again. 

Explore

She loves exploring the coves down by the ocean.

Fall

Be careful you don't fall when walking on the icy sidewalk.

Feed

I know a man that feed the pigeons every morning. 

Fry

It's so hot that you could fry an egg on the sidewalk. 

Fight

Growing up, my sister and I fought all the time. 

Fit

This dress fits really well. 

Follow 

The ducklings follow the mother duck wherever she goes. 

Go

We went to my favorite restaurant for my birthday. 

Give

My teacher gave me great advice.

Grow

The tree I planted grew so much over this past year. 

Gain

She gained several new friends in his first year at school. 

Generate

We need to think of strategies to help us generate more clients. 

Hang

Hang the painting on the wall in the hallways. 

Happen

What happened to your ankle?

Hate

I hate how nervous I get before taking a test. 

Hear

She heard her phone ring in the theater, but she ignored it.

Howl

Some dogs howl to get attention.

Hop

Hop on one foot while you jump rope to improve your workout.

Hug

My niece loves to hug her stuffed animals.

Help

I helped make the brownies for the school bake sale. 

Hold

She held onto her water bottle while they waited in line. 

Hurt

I tripped and hurt my knee. 

Hide

She always hides her Halloween candy from her siblings. 

Identify

The witness identified the defendant in the trial. 

Ignore

Ignore the loud music playing in the dorm next door while you're studying. 

Imply

The story implied that the characters thought that their lives were unfair. 

Illustrate

Mary GrandPré illustrated the U.S. editions of the Harry Potter books. 

Inform 

Please inform the class about your findings on Great White Sharks. 

Include

They included all the information in the report. 

Introduce

I"m pleased to introduce our new student! 

Invest

I invested in some stocks for the first time. 

Irritate

Don't irritate your siblings. 

Jog

She jogged past the duck pond and over the bridge. 

Joke

You shouldn't joke about sensitive topics. 

Jump

Jump over this log on the hiking trail.

Judge

Do you judge a book by its cover?

Keep

I kept my favorite childhood stuffed animals when I moved out. 

Knock

I knocked lightly on the door. 

Kick

She loved kicking the punching bag during a workout. 

Kill

In writing, some people advise you to "kill your darlings."

Laugh

My friends and I laugh together all the time. 

Learn

We're learning about cell function in my biology class. 

Lay

He laid down on the couch for a quick nap. 

Leave

Don't leave without your lunch. 

Lie

He lied on his resume and got caught. 

Live

I live in the United States. 

Lose

He lost all of the pens he bought before school even started. 

Listen

Listen carefully to lectures and take notes. 

Lift

Together we listed the heavy package and carried it into the house. 

Love

I love both my dogs equally.

Like

I like my new coffee table. 

Make

He made a collage to show his family history. 

Manage

I manage all the fundraising efforts for our volunteer group. 

Maintain

She maintains a busy schedule. 

Measure

Measure out one cup of flour and a half cup of sugar for this recipe. 

Meet

I'm meeting with my team members Wednesday for our final project. 

Mix

Mixing and matching your suits can help create a fun professional look.

Mention

She mentioned that she is applying to college this fall. 

Melt

The cheese melted on the bread as soon as it went into the oven. 

Move

My family and I moved last year. 

Need

I need a new jacket this winter. 

Negotiate

The agent is negotiating the player's contract. 

Observe

He observed several stars through his telescope. 

Obtain

We obtained some information to help with our report. 

Order

The doctor ordered more blood tests following the appointment. 

Offer

She offered her tutoring services. 

Open

Open the door for the cat. 

Own

I owned a horse when I was a kid. 

Paint

Painting with watercolors is a relaxing hobby. 

Pass

The team passed the ball to each other. 

Pay

We paid for lunch for the whole team. 

Performed

The students performed a short play that they wrote.

Persist

Though the work is hard, you have to persist and get it done. 

Promise

The couple promised lifelong commitment at their wedding. 

Play

The kids played outside all day in the summer. 

Pinch

I pinched my arm to make sure I wasn't dreaming. 

Parse

He read the report carefully and parsed out all the relevant information. 

Participate

All of the students participated in the graduation ceremony. 

Provide

They provided a solid alibi. 

Put

Put your coat on the coat rack. 

Pull 

Pull the audio data into the report. 

Quit

I quit band last year. 

Quack

All the ducks quacked as soon as they saw I had leftover bread. 

Qualify

A nursing degree qualifies you to take the board exams. 

Raise

The shelter raises orphaned baby animals. 

Read

I read a fantastic book last week. 

Realize

He realized that staying home for college was the right decision. 

Revere

The family reveres their personal traditions around the holidays. 

Reflect

The water is so clear that it reflects the trees around it. 

Recommend

My teacher recommended me to a top college. 

Reduce

Our company is reducing waste by printing less and doing more digitally. 

Relate

I relate to my favorite book characters. 

Report

Please report back promptly at 7pm. 

Require

All of my top college choices require personal essays. 

Reset

Rest your wifi if it doesn't work. 

Renew

Did you renew your subscription to the magazine?

Retire

My grandparents were happy to finally retire. 

Resist

She resisted the urge to watch TV while studying. 

Reach

I reached under the couch for my missing sock. 

Roar

The lions in the new movie look so real when they roar. 

Ride

We love riding the trolley in San Francisco. 

Roast

Roast the marshmallows slowly so you don't burn them. 

Run

They all ran the charity 5K this year. 

Say

He said he will get back to me within the week. 

Sing

Singing in front of an audience is a lot of fun. 

Sit

Sit in this chair while you wait. 

Send

Send the invitations in the mail. 

Shake

It's considered polite to shake hands when you meet someone. 

Shower

Showering after a long day feels great. 

Show

I showed everyone how to new presentation software works. 

Shame

Shaming people online is a common occurrence these days. 

Shock

The kids shocked their parents with elaborate gifts. 

Shrink

I accidentally shrunk my favorite dress in the dryer. 

Speak

She spoke clearly and intelligently during the debate. 

Solve

The famous character Sherlock Holmes solves crimes by using his unique skills. 

Specify

You need to specify which character is the protagonist in your essay. 

Steal

Bonnie and Clyde famously stole from banks. 

Serve

The tennis player served the ball. 

Stop

The car stopped suddenly. 

Stretch

The dog stretched when he woke up. 

Stick

Joyce is concerned that her magnets won't stick to the fridge. 

Submit

I finally submitted my college applications last week. 

Suggest

She suggested that I apply to more than three colleges. 

Strike

The miners struck gold. 

Study

Studying for the GRE is a long process. 

Snuggle

The girl wanted a stuffed bear to snuggle with. 

Surprise

His aunt surprised him by coming to his concert. 

Swim

We all took the day off and swam at the local pool. 

Take

My friend took the book back from me when I was done reading it. 

Talk

We talked for hours about all the details for the surprise party. 

Taste

After hours of preparation, he finally tasted the fresh tomato sauce. 

Tear

I tore the cardboard in half to make it easier to recycle. 

Trap

I trapped the spider in a cup and took it outside. 

Tell

He told the teacher that he was sick. 

Tend

A shepherd's job is to tend to a flock of sheep. 

Teach

I want to teach myself Spanish this summer. 

Think

My guidance counselor thinks I have a good shot at my first choice school. 

Throw

They were excited when the girl threw the ball for the first time. 

Understand

I understand the difference between action, linking, and helping verbs. 

Value

I'm glad I go to a school that values extracurriculars. 

Volunteer

She volunteers at an after-school program twice a week. 

Wait

We waited for over an hour. 

Walk

He walked the dog around the lake. 

Warn

We warned them to stay away from the haunted house. 

Warm

She warmed up by the fire after playing outside in the snow. 

Want

He wants a puppy for Christmas. 

Win

They won the big tournament. 

Wish

She wished her friend a happy birthday. 

Write

I wrote four practice essays. 

Watch

We all watch the same TV show on Saturday nights.

Wave

Wave goodbye when you leave. 

Wear

Wear a hat when you go to the beach to keep the sun out of your eyes. 

Yearn

Though the new laptops are beautiful, some people yearn for the old design. 

 


Linking Verbs

Is  Mom is excited about our family trip this summer. 
Am I am worried that I'm not studying enough for my SATs. 
Are The puppies are so playful.
Was She was so happy to finally see the show on broadway. 
Were They were disappointed that we had to leave early. 
Be I will be excited to see how this show ends next year. 
Been I've been open-minded about my next job opportunity. 
Being He is being stubborn. 
Appear He appears to be feeling better. 
Become He became fond of pasta after visiting Italy. 
Feel He felt tense after his meeting with his boss. 
Grow  The tree in my backyard grows taller each year. 
Look You look tired from your trip. 
Remain She remained optimistic about getting into her top colleges. 
Seem You seem distracted today. 
Smell This dinner smells incredible. 
Sound Your cello sounds magnificent. 
Stay The baseball player stayed calm in a 3-2 count. 
Taste The apple pie tasted delicious. 
Turn Her fingers turned blue after being out in the cold for so long. 
Prove Her efforts proved worthwhile when she saw her report card. 

 

Helping Verbs

Is Everyone is wondering if we have an extra day off for the holiday weekend. 
Am I am hoping to get a positive response on this job application. 
Are They are following the teacher's instructions on the project. 
Was I was involved with the fundraising campaign last year. 
Were  They were looking for the car keys for nearly an hour. 
Be He had to be lying since he kept scratching a nostril, an obvious tell. 
Been She was nervous to go away to school, since she had never been that far from home before. 
Has She has wandered off before. 
Have We have always stayed in the same cabin at the lake. 
Had I had worked on the campaign for clean water before working for the National Parks Service. 
Does My brother does know the Netflix password, he just won't tell me what it is. 
Do I do understand the different parts of speech, but I need to practice identifying them. 
Did I did remember to buy a new toothbrush, but left toothpaste off my shipping list. 
Can We can run the 5K and then go to the picnic. 
Will When we go hiking, we will hike the most difficult trail. 

Shall

We shall eat breakfast promptly at 8am tomorrow. 
Could I could volunteer for the food drive again, or try something different. 
Would My class would participate more if we got participation points as an incentive. 
Should I should begin my homework, but I'm way too into this book right now. 
Must You must check to make sure you're fulfilling all of the credits you need. 
May I may treat myself this year for my birthday. 
Might  I might take a computer science class this semester. 

 

As you can see from this list, there are a ton of verbs you can use to form sentences and to strengthen your speech and writing. Making sure you have a multitude of verb examples in your vocabulary will make it easier to identify parts of speech, and will ensure that your writing is specific, concise, and non-repetitive. Make sure you consider what type of verb you’re using, even when you don’t think you have to pay attention to it. Verbs are all around us, and especially after reading this list, you’ll start seeing them everywhere.

 

What's Next?

If you're looking for more teaching tools, check out these awesome games to learn English and alphabet games.

Love teaching the parts of speech and thinking about a teaching career? Read about how to get a teaching degree, and about getting an early childhood education degree

 

Have friends who also need help with test prep? Share this article!
About the Author

Carrie holds a Bachelors in Writing, Literature, and Publishing from Emerson College, and is currently pursuing an MFA. She worked in book publishing for several years, and believes that books can open up new worlds. She loves reading, the outdoors, and learning about new things.



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