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


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.



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:


a turn


a chance

a decision

care of


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.




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.




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.




go and do

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.



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.






Hello,I am a little bit confused of something.I noticed that when making a sentence about topics that have to do with resting (holiday to be more specific)in the theory it says that we should use the delexical verb "have" and after I took the test ,apparently it is correct to also use take,so both "have a holiday" and "take a holiday" are correct or it depends?Thank you in advance :)

Hello Mirela S,

Both 'take a holiday' and 'have a holiday' are used and in most contexts are interchangeable.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Please clarify the below.

1) I did not consider it.
2) I have not considered it.

Is there any change of meaning or way of speaking. I feel the same between them.

Hello suryachaitanya,

There is a difference, depending on the context. However, this is a large question which I cannot answer properly in the comments section like this. What you are asking is the different between the past simple (sentence 1) and the present perfect (sentence 2). We have a number of pages on each of these, which you can find in the verbs section of our grammar section. Please take a look at the information there and work through some of the exercises and I think you will be able to see the difference.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Hi, all,

Please, help me answer this question as I can't find a satisfying answer any where.
Does the word "ringtone" collocate with both: send - record??

Thanks a lot.

Hello Inas,

Yes, it does. If you do an internet search for 'send ringtone' and 'record ringtone' I expect you'll find some examples.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hi team learnEnglish
I have a question about "have to" and "will have to ".

Can I use the sentence " I have to work tomorrow." to replace " I will have to work tomorrow." ?

My english teacher told that " I have to work tomorrow." is not correct.
But I don't agree with my teacher.

Could I get the answer from the LearnEnglis Team. Thanks.

Hi s41154,

We do not get involved in discussions between teachers and their students like this. It's not appropriate, for a number of reasons. First, the context is very important. A structure may be possible in a sentence but sound very unnatural in the broader context. In addition, a teacher may wish to restrict the range of possible answers in order to ensure a certain structure is practised.

In general terms, without referring to this particular example, I can tell you that 'have to' can have a future meaning without 'will'. For example, it is quite correct to say 'I have to work tomorrow'. That said, there is a subtle difference between the two examples you give. If the sentence is '...I have to...' then the assumption is that the speaker already knows the answer (i.e. they already know their work schedule). If the sentence is '...I will have to...' then the speaker may not know (i.e. they may only find out later that day). It is a subtle difference, as I said, but it may be key in the context.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Sorry, the complete sentences is " Alice want to know whether I will have to work tomorrow."

There are two examples for verb "do" in "go" section