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March 2015

Top verbs to study in English

Learn the most frequently used verbs in English with these lists!

Verbs make the linguistic world go round. As fundamental elements of any language, building a knowledge base of verbs is essential for developing mastery over a new tongue. It’s no wonder that there are books dedicated solely to verbs in language learning. One skilled with conjugating verbs can get very far in fluency with a target language. Today we’ll take a look at the top verbs to learn.

Frequency lists are collections of words based on the frequency of their use. As we described in our post “3 Free English Frequency Lists and How to Use Them” in 2013, they are useful tools for more efficient learning. We’ll take this a step forward today and discover several frequency lists for verbs.


According to Linguasorb, a site devoted to the study of the English language, the top twenty verbs are: be, have, do, say, go, get, make, know, think, take, see, come, want, use, find, give, tell, work, call, and try. The site also offers useful columns describing the simple past and the past participle for each of these top 100 verbs, as well as audio describing how the words are pronounced.

The Academy of Modern English

AcME lists the top 331 most common English verbs according to the Macmillan Essential Dictionary. The list draws from the top 3500 most common words in native English. The most common verbs are emboldened. AcME’s frequency list provides an interesting visualization of the most common verbs in the English language.

ESL Lounge

ESL Lounge provides a useful list of 50 irregular verbs for students to study. Irregular verbs are the most challenging verbs because their simple past and past participle forms differ from the original verb. Going through this list and working with the different forms can help greatly for those studying the English language. According to the list, the top irregular verbs are as follows: say, make, go, take, come, see, know, get, give, find, think, tell, become, show, leave, feel, put, bring, begin, and keep.

Talk English

Finally, Talk English provides not only the top 1000 verbs in the English language; it also provides the frequency of their use. Clicking on the verbs brings up a page with examples of how to utilize them. When using this verb frequency list, be sure to scroll down as the verbs are sorted also by type.

According to Talk English, is is the most frequently used verb with 2699 occurrences within the sample set of their data. Are is close behind at 1843 mentions. Be ranks in third with 1145 occurrences.

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