Learn about the delexical verbs have, take, make, give, go and do and do the exercises to practise using them.
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:
We use have with:
|food and drink
||a meal, breakfast, lunch, dinner, a snack, a cup of tea
||a chat, a conversation, a discussion, a talk
||a bath, a shower, a wash, a scrub
||a break, a holiday, a rest
||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.
- Delexical verbs 1: have
We use take with:
||a bath, a shower, a wash
||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:
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.
- Delexical verbs 2: take
- Delexical verbs 3: have and take
We use give with:
||a cry, a laugh, a scream, a shout, a whistle
||a smile, a grin, a look, a glance
||a kick, a punch, a slap, a push, a knock, a blow
||a hug, a kiss, a stroke
||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.
- Delexical verbs 4: give
We use make with:
|talking and sounds
||a comment, an enquiry, a noise, a point, a promise, a sound, a speech, a suggestion
||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.
- Delexical verbs 5: make
- Delexical verbs 6: give and make
We also use go as a delexical verb:
Shall we go swimming this afternoon? Or shall we go for a walk?
Mum and Dad have gone shopping.
We're going dancing tonight. Do you want to come?
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:
I want to get out of here. Let's go for a walk.
He's gone for a ride on his bike.
- Delexical verbs 7: go
We use do 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?
Have you washed the car?
Have you mended the car?
Have you put petrol in the car?
depending on the context.
- Delexical verbs 8: do
- Delexical verbs 9: go and do