A Common Verb List: 20 Words You Must Know

When learning to write and read English, having a common verb list on hand can help you identify verbs and use them effectively.

The English language is full of interesting words, and verbs are the part of a sentence that shows the action or state of being. Understanding the English common verb list will help you identify these in your writing and use them more effectively, even when they have irregular conjugations.

The English language has thousands of potential verbs, but for those learning the language for the first time, identifying and using the more common verbs is helpful.

Whether you are an ESL student looking to brush up on your English verbs or are a writer who is trying to vary your writing and avoid using overly common words, this common verbs list will help you.

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Common Verb List With Example Sentences

Common verb list

Do you want to learn some common verbs used in the English language? This list has the 20 most common verbs, along with examples of them used properly. It includes auxiliary verbs, irregular verbs, and regular verbs for those learning English to study.

1. To Be

To be is a common auxiliary verb, and it can also show an overall state of being. This is one of the most important and most common verbs, and it often shows up as a helping verb alongside another verb. The conjugations are:

  • Simple past: was/were
  • Present tense: is/are
  • Future tense: will be
  • Past participle: had been
  • Gerund:

Examples:

  • He was ready to leave early.
  • He had been preparing for several hours.
  • You are a great friend.

2. To Have

This is another of the irregular verbs in English that show up as a helping or auxiliary verb. Its conjugations are:

  • Simple past: had
  • Present tense: have/has
  • Future tense: will have
  • Past participle: had
  • Gerund:

Examples:

  • I will have a good time attending the concert.
  • He has been going to that school to learn English for several years.

3. To Do

To do something requires action. This is part of this list of verbs because it is so common in English grammar. It is also one of the common irregular verbs with the following conjugation:

  • Simple past: did
  • Present tense: do/does
  • Future tense: will do
  • Past participle: done
  • Gerund: doing

Examples:

  • He did well on the examination.
  • Does the trolley make a stop at the capital?

4. To Say

To say is the infinitive form of the verb that means to speak or convey meaning. This is yet another irregular verb with the following verb tenses:

  • Simple past: said
  • Present tense: say/says
  • Future tense: will say
  • Past participle: said
  • Gerund: Saying

Examples:

  • He says that he loves her, but his behavior is saying something different.
  • The principal said it was time for the high school students to settle down.

5. To Go

To go means to move from one place to another. This verb has the following forms:

  • Simple past: went
  • Present tense: go/goes
  • Future tense: will go
  • Past participle: gone
  • Gerund: going

Examples:

  • I had gone to my new apartment, only to find the key didn't work.
  • We will go out for ice cream after the concert.

6. To Get

To get means to receive something. This is an irregular verb and can often be used as a helping verb.  

  • Simple past: got
  • Present tense: get/gets
  • Future tense: will get
  • Past participle: got/gotten
  • Gerund: getting

Examples:

  • Getting ready for the day took all of her energy.
  • The team members get approval when they exceed the coach's expectations.

7. To Make

To make means to form or cause something. This commonly used verb is an irregular verb with these conjugations:

  • Simple past: made
  • Present tense: make/makes
  • Future tense: will make
  • Past participle: made
  • Gerund: making

Examples: 

  • He will make a mess with all of that scrap paper.
  • We make friends easily when we smile at others.

8. To Think

This verb refers to the act of having an opinion or thought. This verb can get confusing because some forms can be used as other parts of speech, like nouns. In verb form, its conjugations include:

  • Simple past: thought
  • Present tense: think/thinks
  • Future tense: will think
  • Past participle: thought
  • Gerund: thinking

Examples:

  • The girl thought it was a good idea to grab a snack before heading to play practice.
  • I will think about it before making a decision.

9. To Take

To take means to remove or lay hold on something. This is a very common verb because of the many ways it gets used in sentences. Its conjugations are:

  • Simple past: took
  • Present tense: take/takes
  • Future tense: will take
  • Past participle: taken
  • Gerund: taking

Examples:

  • The photographer will take your school picture at lunchtime.
  • She took her time getting ready for the dance number.

10. To See

This verb means to use your eyes to take in information about the world around you visually. Its conjugations are irregular: 

  • Simple past: saw
  • Present tense: see/sees
  • Future tense: will see
  • Past participle: seen
  • Gerund: seeing

Examples:

  • The cat saw the dog in the neighbor's yard and ran.
  • Can you see the danger approaching?

11. To Come

To come means to move or travel toward a new place. This verb can also mean to take place. Conjugations include:

  • Simple past: came
  • Present tense: come
  • Future tense: will come
  • Past participle: come
  • Gerund: coming

Examples:

  • Will you please come here, so I can show you the picture?
  • I came quickly when I heard the news.

12. To Want

This verb means to desire or crave something. It can also mean lack. It is one of the first regular verbs on the list with these conjugations:

  • Simple past: wanted
  • Present tense: want/wants
  • Future tense: will want
  • Past participle: wanted
  • Gerund: wanting

Examples:

  • The little boy wanted more of the dessert.
  • We want for nothing in our affluent society.

13. To Know

This verb means to have knowledge or understanding of a thing. It has the following irregular conjugations:

  • Simple past: knew
  • Present tense: know/knows
  • Future tense: will know 
  • Past participle: known
  • Gerund: knowing

Examples:

  • Even though she knew she was wrong, she made the statement anyway.
  • You will know the truth in time.

14. To Look

This verb means to turn your gaze toward something or to think of something in a specific way. It has these conjugations:

  • Simple past: looked
  • Present tense: look/looks
  • Future tense: will look
  • Past participle: looked
  • Gerund: looking

Examples:

  • Look at the idea from a different point of view, and you may change your opinion.
  • When the dog looked at his owner, the owner knew he wanted some breakfast.

15. To Use

To use is the base form of the verb that means to take or consume something. It has these conjugations:

  • Simple past: used
  • Present tense: use/uses
  • Future tense: will use
  • Past participle: used
  • Gerund: using

Examples:

  • The executive will use the correct terminology when referring to his brand.
  • We used up all the milk when we made cookies.

16. To Find

This verb means to locate or discover something. It has the following irregular conjugations:

  • Simple past: found
  • Present tense: find/finds
  • Future tense: will find
  • Past participle: found
  • Gerund: finding

Examples: 

  • The children found the presents under the tree on Christmas morning.
  • We will find a way to succeed in life.

17. To Give

This verb means to provide or offer something to another person. Its conjugations are:

  • Simple past: gave
  • Present tense: give/gives
  • Future tense: will give
  • Past participle: given
  • Gerund: giving

Examples:

  • Every holiday season, we give thanks for our blessings.
  • She gives her all in everything she does.

18. To Tell

To tell means to communicate information. It can also mean to decide something. It conjugates like this:

  • Simple past: told
  • Present tense: tell/tells
  • Future tense: will tell
  • Past participle: told
  • Gerund: telling

Examples:

  • Can you tell by our sunburns that we spent the weekend in the sun?
  • The supervisor told his team that they would get the holiday off with pay.

19. To Work

This verb means to engage in physical or mental activities. When referring to a machine or system it can mean to operate properly. Conjugation examples include:

  • Simple past: worked
  • Present tense: work/works
  • Future tense: will work
  • Past participle: worked
  • Gerund: working

Examples:

  • The public transit system worked well to get us to our destination.
  • Dad will work late during the company's busy season.

20. To Call

To call means to cry out or to give someone a name. This is a regular verb with the following conjugations:

  • Simple past: called
  • Present tense: call/calls
  • Future tense: will call
  • Past participle: called
  • Gerund: calling

Examples:

  • The doctor called with the test results.
  • She calls her child's name when it's time to eat dinner.

21. To Try

To try is a verb that means to make an attempt. It is a regular verb but does have a spelling change when adding an ending that starts with “e.” Here is how it conjugates:

  • Simple past: tried
  • Present tense: try/tries
  • Future tense: will try
  • Past participle: tried
  • Gerund: trying

Examples:

  • He tried to explain his feelings, but his attempt fell short.
  • The little boy tries every day to make his father proud.

22. To Ask

The verb to ask means to make a request or petition. It is a regular verb with the following conjugations:

  • Simple past: asked
  • Present tense: ask/asks
  • Future tense: will ask
  • Past participle: asked
  • Gerund: asking

Examples:

  • The student will ask for permission before changing his research paper topic.
  • They asked you to please dress up for the concert.

23. To Need

To need is another regular verb that means to require something. Needing implies that without the item, the person cannot survive or have success. The conjugations are:

  • Simple past: needed
  • Present tense: need/needs
  • Future tense: will need
  • Past participle: needed
  • Gerund: needing

Examples:

  • You will need a permission slip in order to go on the trip.
  • The singer needed a drink to soothe her throat during the intermission.

24. To Feel

This verb can mean to handle or touch in order to experience the texture of something. It can also mean to think or to believe something. This irregular verb has these conjugations:

  • Simple past: felt
  • Present tense: feel/feels
  • Future tense: will feel
  • Past participle: felt
  • Gerund: feeling

Examples:

  • She will feel bad when she finds out how much her words hurt her best friend.
  • The jacket felt warm and cozy on the cold fall evening.

25. To Become

This irregular verb means to come into existence or to undergo a change. It is an irregular verb with these conjugations:

  • Simple past: became
  • Present tense: become/becomes
  • Future tense: will become
  • Past participle: become
  • Gerund: becoming

Examples:

  • Becoming a teacher was the best decision I made.
  • It becomes apparent that today's youth is more tech-savvy than their parents.

26. To Leave 

This verb means to depart or get away from. It can also mean to quit. It has these irregular conjugations:

  • Simple past: left
  • Present tense: leave/leaves
  • Future tense: will leave
  • Past participle: left
  • Gerund: leaving

Examples:

  • The argument left a bad taste in her mouth as she tried to decide what to do next.
  • We will leave after the encore. 

27. To Put

To put means to place or set down. It can be literal or figurative, such as “to put down roots.” This verb is unique because it barely changes with its conjugations.

  • Simple past: put
  • Present tense: put/puts
  • Future tense: will put
  • Past participle: put
  • Gerund: putting

Examples:

  • We will put out our best effort to impress the new client.
  • Savannah put her hat on top of the coat rack before heading into the restaurant.

28. To Mean

This verb means to represent an idea or to be an indication of something. It is irregular and has these conjugations:

  • Simple past: meant
  • Present tense: mean/means
  • Future tense: will mean
  • Past participle: meant
  • Gerund: meaning

Examples:

  • Please say what you mean, not what you think I want to hear.
  • The sign meant that we had to use the back door instead of the front door.

29. To Keep

To keep means to have or retain possession of something. it can also mean to continue in a specific course of action. The irregular conjugations are:

  • Simple past: kept
  • Present tense: keep/keeps
  • Future tense: will keep
  • Past participle: kept
  • Gerund: keeping

Examples:

  • To keep watch, the soldier paced in order to stay awake.
  • They keep looking over here like we are doing something wrong.

30. To Let

This final verb on the list means to allow or give permission to something. It is an irregular verb that changes little in its conjugations.

  • Simple past: let
  • Present tense: let/lets
  • Future tense: will let
  • Past participle: let
  • Gerund: letting

Examples:

  • They let a few more people in to use the standing room only section during the concert.
  • When you RSVP, it lets us know how many people to plan for as we order food.

A Final Word on Common Verbs List

People who are learning English must know how to identify verbs in order to use them well. This common verbs list will make that easier. 

By taking the time to study these verbs and their basic combinations, you will be better prepared to read, write and understand English writing.

FAQs about a Common Verb List

What are the 10 most common verbs?

The 10 most common verbs are:
1. To be
2. To have
3. To do
4. To say
5. To go
6. To get
7. To make
8. To know
9. To think
10. To take

What are the common linking verbs?

1. am
2. is
3. are
4. was
5. were 
6. be
7. being 
8. been

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