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The 10 Most Common Verbs in English

Did you know that there are thousands of English verbs? 

Luckily, you don’t need to learn them all to be able to communicate. In fact, you can get pretty far just mastering the common ones. 

Below, we’ll go through the 10 most commonly used English verbs. Interestingly, they’re all irregular verbs (also known as strong verbs), meaning you don’t form the past tense by using the usual “–ed” ending.  

Before we dig in, here a few things to remember:

  • In the simple present tense, the third-person singular always takes an “s”
  • Use the present participle form in continuous tenses
  • Use the past participle form in present perfect and past perfect tenses

Okay, let’s get into it!

The 10 most commonly used English verbs

1. To be

 → Used to describe the identity or qualities of a person or a thing

Base formSimple presentSimple pastPresent participlePast participle
beam/are/iswas/werebeingbeen

“My son doesn’t want to go to school because his friend was being mean to him.” (past continuous)

2. To come

→ To move toward someone or something 

Base formSimple presentSimple pastPresent participlePast participle
comecome/comescamecomingcome

My family came to canada when I was six years old.” (simple past)

3. To do

→ To perform an action

Base formSimple presentSimple pastPresent participlePast participle
dodo/doesdiddoingdone

She does her homework every evening after dinner.” (simple present)

4. To get

→ To obtain (receive or be given) something

Base formSimple presentSimple pastPresent participlePast participle
getget/getsgotgettinggotten

His mom has gotten him a new winter coat.” (present perfect)

5. To go 

→ To travel or move to a place

Base formSimple presentSimple pastPresent participlePast participle
gogo/goeswentgoinggone

“When the pandemic is over, she will be going to Hawaii with her husband.” (future continuous)

6. To have

→ To own/possess something

Base formSimple presentSimple pastPresent participlePast participle
havehave/hashadhavinghad

“They’re having their wedding in the spring of 2022.” (present continuous)

7. To make 

→ To build, create, or produce

Base formSimple presentSimple pastPresent participlePast participle
makemake/makesmademakingmade

“She had already made him a cake when she learned he couldn’t eat wheat.” (past perfect)

8. To say

→ To use your voice to express something with words

Base formSimple presentSimple pastPresent participlePast participle
saysay/sayssaidsayingsaid

“Can you speak slowly? I don’t understand what you’re saying.” (present continuous)

9. To see 

→ To notice something by using your eyes

Base formSimple presentSimple pastPresent participlePast participle
seesee/seessawseeingseen

That movie is so good that I’ve seen it seven times.” (present perfect)

10. To take 

→ To carry or move something or someone to a place

Base formSimple presentSimple pastPresent participlePast participle
taketake/takestooktakingtaken

He knew it was going to rain so he took an umbrella. (simple past)

Andrea is a Gabby Academy coach and education technolgy writer based in Vancouver, Canada.