delexical verbs like have, take, make and give

 

Delexical verbs:
have, take, make, give, go and do

We often use common verbs like have and take with nouns like a shower, a drink:

I took a shower. = I showered.
She had a drink. = She drank something.

We call these delexical verbs because the important part of the meaning is taken out of the verb and put into the noun.

We often put adjectives in front of the noun:

I took a cold shower.
She had a nice, refreshing drink.

The verbs used most frequently in this way are:

have     take     make     give


have

We use have with:

Food and drink: a meal, breakfast, lunch, dinner, a snack, a cup of tea
Talking: a chat, a conversation, a discussion, a talk
Washing: a bath, a shower, a wash, a scrub
Resting: a break, a holiday, a rest
Disagreeing: an argument, a dispute, a fight, a quarrel

I had a good breakfast before I left home.
We had a long talk about the problem.
The kids should have a bath before they go to bed.
She generally had a short holiday in July or August.
They had a serious quarrel about their father’s will.

We also use have with nouns formed from verbs:

I think you should have a look at this.
She had a bite of the cake.
I’m thirsty. I’m going to have a drink of water.
I had a listen to that new CD in the car.
They are going to have a swim.
 

Exercise

take

We use take with:

Washing: a bath, a shower, a wash
Resting: a break, a holiday, a rest

I always take a cold shower in the morning.
You look tired. You need to take a break.

and with these words:

care

a turn

trouble

a chance

a decision

care of

turns

the trouble

a risk

a photograph

We took hundreds of photographs on holiday.
Jane always takes a lot of trouble with her homework.

We also use take with some nouns formed from verbs:

I think you should take a look at this.
Let’s take a walk.
They are going to take a swim.

Exercise

Exercise

give

We use give with:

Noises: a cry, a laugh, a scream, a shout, a whistle
Facial expressions: a smile, a grin, a look, a glance
Hitting: a kick, a punch, a slap, a push, a knock, a blow
Affectionate actions: a hug, a kiss, a stroke
Talking: some advice, an answer, some information, an interview,
a lecture, some news, a report, a speech, a talk, a warning

She gave a loud laugh.
John gave a happy smile.
He gave me a nasty kick on the leg.
She gave the children a goodnight kiss and put them to bed.
I have to give a speech at the meeting tomorrow.

 

Exercise

make

We use make with:

Talking and sounds: a comment, an enquiry, a noise, a point,
a promise, a sound, a speech, a suggestion
Plans: arrangements, a choice, a decision, a plan, plans, an appointment, a date

Try not to make a noise.
They made arrangements to meet the next day.

 

Exercise

Exercise

go

We also use go and do as delexical verbs:

Shall we go swimming this afternoon? Or shall we go for a walk?
It’s your turn to do the cooking.
I’ll have to do my hair before the party.

We use go with –ing verbs for common activities:

We usually go walking at the weekend.
He goes running every evening after supper.
Mum’s out. She’s gone shopping.

We use go for a with verbs to do with moving:

a jog     a ride     a swim     a run     a stroll     a walk

I want to get out of here. Let’s go for a walk.
He’s gone for a ride on his bike.

Exercise

do

We use do the with –ing nouns to do with work, especially work in the house:

It’s your turn to do the cooking.
You do the washing up and I’ll do the drying.

and with other nouns to do with work:

I need to do a few jobs around the house.
I can’t come out this evening. I have a lot of work to do.

We use do with nouns when it is obvious what the action is:

I’ll have to do my hair before we go out. = I’ll have to brush my hair.
Have you done your teeth? = Have you cleaned your teeth?

A question like

Have you done the car?

could mean

Have you washed the car?
Have you mended the car?
Have you put petrol in the car?

depending on the context.

 

Exercise

Exercise

Comments

Sir, Is this sentence grammatically correct?
''It is my humble submission to you that, due to non cooperation of my partner, the project submission has been delayed."

Hello Piya Ghosh,

To be grammatically correct you would need to change it a little:

It is my humble submission to you that, due to the non-cooperation of my partner, the project submission has been delayed.

However, the sentence does sound extremely formal - perhaps overly so. In modern English a less florid style is preferred and I would suggest something like this would be more natural:

I am very sorry to have to inform you that, due to a lack of cooperation on the part of my partner, the project submission has been delayed.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

 

sir, on this page, it is written that "take" is used with "washing and resting". But I have seen "take" to be used with "food and drink" also. Like, He took a meal at a restaurant.

Hello,

If you look up 'take' in our online dictionary on the right hand side of this page, you will see that it has a lot of different uses. The most common and important ones are listed on this page, but there are others. Your example of 'take a meal' is possible, but rare, which is why it isn't listed here.

Best wishes,

Adam
The LearnEnglish Team

when we say: After doing the washing you need to do the drying
Does the phrase "do the drying" mean "hanging clothes" in this context?

Hello thuynt.ntk,

This sentence sounds a little unnatural to me. You could say 'After doing the washing, you need to hang it out', or, if you have a clothes dryer, '...you need to put it in the dryer.

Just in case it's not clear, please note that 'washing up', as in the example sentence above ('You do the washing up and I’ll do the drying.'), refers to washing the pots and dishes that get dirty when you prepare and eat food, not to washing clothes.

Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Pack it.
Get it pack.
Get it packed..

Do all have same meaning? Plz explain this get.

Hi tagrapankaj,

The first and third phrases are grammatical, but the second one is not. Without context, it's difficult to say for sure, but the first one appears to be a simple command for someone to do something whereas the third one appears to be a causative form. 'get' or 'have' + object + past participle means 'persuade or order someone to do something'.

Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

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