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

Level: beginner

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:

  have ...
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.

Delexical verbs 1: have



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 of
a turn
the trouble
a chance
a risk
a decision
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.

Delexical verbs 2: take


Delexical verbs 3: have and take



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.

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
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.

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:

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.

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?

could mean

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


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Submitted by Inas Elshinnawy on Fri, 13/05/2016 - 22:08

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.

Submitted by Kirk on Sat, 14/05/2016 - 09:44

In reply to by Inas Elshinnawy


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

Submitted by s41154 on Thu, 14/04/2016 - 17:28

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

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

Submitted by RichardMcConnell on Wed, 30/03/2016 - 12:45

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

Hello Richard,

Thanks for pointing this out to us. I've changed the headings a bit so that the organisation of the page is clearer.

Thanks again!

Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by inkyiris on Wed, 20/01/2016 - 16:52

Hi everyone, I would like to know why I have to remove the to in the following sentence: People's excitement gave to the dull Monday a second chance. Thank you

Hello inkyiris,

When it has the meaning of 'offer' or 'provide', as in this sentence, there are two typical word orders that follow it:

  1. give + indirect object (receiver) + direct object (thing given)
  2. give + direct object (thing given) + to + indirect object (receiver)

In your sentence 'the dull Monday' is the indirect object and 'a second chance' is the direct object, so 'to' would only be used when 'the dull Monday' comes second.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by mabirendra on Fri, 20/11/2015 - 12:18

Hello BC Team! I would be glad to know how to make an indirect speech of: "John ! Where are you? I've been looking you around. Can you come here?" Patrick said. I feel difficult as it includes multiple set of sentences , moreover of the questionnaire type. Regards.

Hello mabirendra,

Please read through our reported speech 1 and 2 pages to see how it works. Then, on one of those pages, please tell us what you think the indirect version ('indirect speech' and 'reported speech' are the same here) of this sentence is and we'll be happy to correct any errors and understand them.

Best wishes,
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Ilariuccia on Sun, 31/05/2015 - 07:37

Hi! Is it more correct to say take photos or make photos? Thanks....

Submitted by Kirk on Tue, 02/06/2015 - 07:43

In reply to by Ilariuccia


Hello Ilariuccia,

As you can see in the example sentence for 'photo' in the dictionary, 'take' is used with 'photo'. Although 'make' is comprehensible, it's not typically used by native speakers.

Best regards,
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by hamadbaghdadi on Tue, 26/05/2015 - 08:37

dear please i need to know why we use the past simple "had" instead of past perfect "I'd had "with the following sentence I had a good breakfast before I left home.

Submitted by Kirk on Tue, 26/05/2015 - 14:32

In reply to by hamadbaghdadi


Hello hamadbaghdadi,

You could in fact say 'I'd had a good breakfast' here. In that case, the past perfect would put a bit of emphasis on the fact that I breakfasted before leaving, as if clarifying it due to some confusion. If you're simply describing what you did that morning, though, the simple past is the most appropriate choice in most situations.

Best wishes,
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by thanhphuong251 on Thu, 07/05/2015 - 07:55

Hello The LearnEnglish Team, I have a double about the correction of this sentence: Tom and Mary go to take two glasses of water. As I heard somebody said that the verb "take" includes the meaning of "go". It is better to remove the verb "go". Please tell me whether the above sentence is right or wrong. If it is right, please tell the difference between using "go" and not using "go" in this case for more understand. Thank you so much.

Hello thanhphuong,

'take' has several different meanings and many, many uses. Have you looked it up in our dictionary search box on the lower right side of this page? There you can see that one of its primary meanings involves the idea of movement from one place to another.

Your sentence sounds a bit unnatural, but I'm not sure what to recommend because I'm not sure what you want to say. If, for example, Tom and Mary go to a place where there are glasses of water, pick up two waters and then go to another place, your sentence would be correct. But if Tom and Mary are sitting in a room and someone brings some water into the room, sets it on a table and invites them to drink, I'd recommend something like 'Tom and Mary went to get two glasses of water'. (This implies that they got up from their seats, went to the table, picked up glasses of water and returned to their seats.

If you had something else in mind, please describe it and we'll help you understand how to say it.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Nandishchandra on Wed, 29/04/2015 - 21:57

Hi LearnEnglishTeam, Does adding helping verb 'do' with main verb 'have' in sentences become different from sentences having main verb 'have' without any helping verb at all? Example: 1.I do have friends. 2.I have friends. 3.I do have friends sometimes. ->this with adverb 'sometimes' 4.I have friends sometimes. ->this with adverb 'sometimes' Can we make out any difference between these sentences? Thanks and regards, Nandish

Hi Nandish,

We can add the auxiliary verb in this way when we want to emphasise that what we are saying is true, particularly if it has been questioned in some way. For example:

I have friends.

No, you don't! You haven't got any friends.

I do have friends!

We would not use 'sometimes' in this context, however, as we assume that friendship, by its nature, is constant rather than temporary or fleeting.

Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team


Submitted by andeo on Fri, 24/04/2015 - 00:00

Hello dear BC Team, this lesson is one of the best here for me and really helpfull one. I learnt a lot from it. Thank you for clear explanations!! Anyway I have some doubts and hope you will help me. First, why should we use delexical verbs when, sometimes, there is a verb that can stand without a noun. For example a) "We had a long talk about the problem" Could we say b)"We talked a lot about the problem". Is the first sentence just to stress that we had a long conversation? Second, I saw this sentence on internet and it appeared as correct "Do you mind taking a photo for us?" I think it should be "Do you mind taking a photo of us?" -it refers to a question when you ask someone to do a favor for you. Third, am I right about this. 1) I’m thirsty. I’m going to have a drink of water. (=I am going to drink it) 2)I'm thirsty. I'm going to have a glass of juice. (=I am going to order it, and then I will drink it) Sory for many questions, these days I practise grammar so I have some doubts to clear it out. If I bother you, please let me know. All the best.

Hello swxswx,

Languages always have several ways of expressing things. Variety allows us to change emphasis, use different styles and avoid sounding repetitive, so it's no surprise that there are different ways of saying the same thing. However, sometimes there is also a difference in meaning. As you say, 'We had a long talk about the problem' suggests one conversation, while 'We talked a lot about the problem' could mean one or multiple conversations.

In your second question, '...for us' would mean helping us, but not necessarily taking a photo with us in it. It could be that the other person is better at taking photos, or is taller, or has a camera and we do not, and so we ask them. If we say '...of us' then we mean that we are to be in the photo.

The third pair of sentences have the same meaning. Both could mean ordering or simply drinking; it depends on the context.

Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Nandishchandra on Mon, 20/04/2015 - 11:57

Hi Team learnenglish, i have learnt that in english there are state verbs,and action verbs. Please explain this a bit. I have read that 'have' itself is a state verb,can we use it for expressing actions. In this example below, "I have been studying english since a year". what is the form of 'have' here,action or state?.Also 'studying' may mirror action,but 'have been'? Please explain it. thanks,and regards, Nandish

Hi Nandish,

Some verbs can have various meanings, and can be both state and dynamic depending on the meaning. 'Have' is an example of this:

I have a car. [possession; state]

I'm having a coffee now. [drink; dynamic]

However, in your example 'have' is not a main verb but an auxiliary verb. The main verb is 'stay'; the form is present perfect continuous, which means using 'have been + verbing' - 'have been staying.

Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Hi Mr.Peter, Firstly,thanks for the reply. And i believe 'have been' represents state as an auxiliary verb here in 'have been studying' as would 'am' as an auxiliary verb in 'i am having coffee'. Also is this construction valid? have been + participle=have been + studying,for the above example. Please correct if am wrong. Thanks,and regards, Nandish BC

Hello Nandish,

'State' and 'dynamic' refers to the whole verb form, not to individual components. The verb 'study' is a dynamic verb; what form it is in does not change this.

We form the present perfect continuous with [have been + the present participle/verb-ing].

Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Bhuwaneshwar Prasad on Fri, 13/03/2015 - 13:27

Hello, I have already had a dinner just now. Do you know I have been known him since 5years.? Did you get my point? Please have a wash your foot before go to bed. When I was young, there was a park over here where we used to play with my friend and enjoyed a lot there. I was born in 1980. I have a daughter whose age is 10year old. Are these correct sentences. Waiting your reply

Submitted by Peter M. on Sat, 14/03/2015 - 16:25

In reply to by Bhuwaneshwar Prasad


Hello Bhuwaneshwar Prasad,

The LearnEnglish team is really here to help users with problems they have with our materials, or to deal with questions which are related to those materials, not to check sentences which are not related to anything on the page (have, take, make and give). For this, you need to find a teacher, really. It's not that we do not wish to help but rather a question of time: if we try to offer this kind of service then we won't have time for anything else as we have many many thousands of users!

Of those sentences two do not have errors:

Did you get my point?

I was born in 1980.

Best wishes,



The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Piya Ghosh on Sun, 21/09/2014 - 07:33

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,



The LearnEnglish Team


Submitted by Rahul Paul on Wed, 13/08/2014 - 17:56

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

Submitted by thuynt.ntk on Wed, 06/08/2014 - 10:41

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, ' 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,
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by tagrapankaj on Sun, 03/08/2014 - 13:54

Pack it. Get it pack. Get it packed.. Do all have same meaning? Plz explain this get.

Submitted by Kirk on Mon, 04/08/2014 - 07:25

In reply to by tagrapankaj


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,
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Nuras on Tue, 22/07/2014 - 17:58

Hi! I have a question about the exercise of verb DO (delexical verbs 8, clause 3). In the clause "whenever we have a big family dinner, my mum cooks and my dad ... afterwards". The answer you have chosen is: "does the dishes"; My question is: why is not possible "does the washing-up"? (and so the answer "both: they're the same"). Because I have searched the meaning of both expressions and in the dictionary it seems to be the same meaning, but the only difference that appears is that the expression "washing-up" its informal. Thank you very much for the answer. Best wishes, Nuras Ps: If I make lots of mistakes, please, feel you comfortable to correct my phrases and expressions (I'm trying to learn the English language correctly)

Submitted by Peter M. on Wed, 23/07/2014 - 21:15

In reply to by Nuras


Hi Nuras,

Thank you for pointing this out to us. The correct answer should indeed be 'both' for this question and I have edited the exercise to make it so.

Best wishes and thanks again,



The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Nuras on Mon, 28/07/2014 - 14:48

In reply to by Peter M.

thank you too for all your help!! best wishes

Submitted by baaz on Tue, 15/07/2014 - 19:22

sir thanks for adding me to the world of real english language . i m new to this site and as-well to the english language . sir i have doubt in my mind regarding be+infinitive . why we use them ? how one can proper use them ? your suggestion will really help me . thanks again for your support

Hello baaz,

It would be easier to reply to your question if you provided an example sentence, as otherwise I have to rather guess at what you mean.  I guess you mean something like the following example:

He is to start work on Thursday.

The 'be + infinitve with to' form is a future form.  It is generally used in official or formal contexts to express intentions or arrangements, particularly those decided by some other authority.

I hope that answers your question.  Please let me know if my guess was wrong and your question was about something else.

Best wishes,



The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Sridhar_45 on Fri, 11/07/2014 - 16:46

Hi, I have a doubt in these sentences, I’m thirsty. I’m going to have a drink of water. (you mentioned) I’m thirsty. I’m going to take a drink of water. would you like to take a cup of tea? would you like to have a cup of tea?

Submitted by Peter M. on Sat, 12/07/2014 - 17:51

In reply to by Sridhar_45


Hi Sridhar_45,

It is possible to use 'take' in these sentences but it would have a rather different meaning: that you are taking it from somewhere, or take it with you. Generally speaking, if we are talking just about eating or drinking without any other meaning then we use 'have'.

Best wishes,



The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Question on Mon, 07/07/2014 - 13:32

Someone could please explain what's different between 'have done sth' and ' have done with sth ' such as I could not have done with a cup of coffee this morning. But we say, i have done my teeth?

Hi Question,

have done something is the verb do used in the present perfect, and can mean a lot of different things depending on the context. to do with is an expression that you can find in our dictionary (see the search box on the lower right), where you'll also find an entry for could do with, which I think might be the meaning you're wondering about.

This expression, which is used with could or could have, is another way of saying that you really want something. For example, "I could really do with a coffee!" or "I could really have done with a coffee!" mean that you want (or in the second sentence, wanted) a coffee.

I hope this helps you.

Best wishes,
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by qandeel on Wed, 12/03/2014 - 11:31

thanks to the learnEnglish Team

Submitted by lexeus on Tue, 11/03/2014 - 02:10

Hi, Could you explain the rules regarding the use of 'to' before a verb? Compare the following two sentences, for example: The man told the children to play outside. The man made the children play outside. Why do we use 'to' before the verb 'play' in the first sentence but not the other? Best wishes, Lexeus

Submitted by Peter M. on Tue, 11/03/2014 - 09:46

In reply to by lexeus


Hi lexeus,

Some verbs (such as 'make') are followed by an infinitive without to; other verbs are followed by an infinitive with to.  I'm afraid there is no rule which will enable you to work out which verbs are which; you simply have to learn and remember them.

There are some tendencies which can be helpful.  For example, verbs related to thinking, feeling and saying are often followed by an infinitive with to.  Examples include: choose, decide, expect, forget, hate, hope, intend, learn, like, love, mean, plan, prefer, remember, want, would like, would love, agree, promise, refuse, advise, ask, encourage, invite, order, persuade, remind, tell, warn, expect, intend, would prefer, want and would like.

For more information on and examples of which verbs are followed by this pattern, take a look at this page and this page.

I hope that helps to clarify it for you.

Best wishes,



The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by franciellas on Mon, 10/03/2014 - 00:31

hello. i want to ask you about the sentence " i'd like to... ". i mean, why we use 'do' before the verb 'like'?

Hello franciellas,

In the phrase "I'd like to", the 'd is not a contraction of do but rather of would. "I would like to" is a polite way of saying "I want to".

Best wishes,

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by birds on Wed, 15/01/2014 - 14:29


Hello Learn English Team,this exercise are very intersting and helpful for learners but still i want to ask you like have is use with a meal,breakfast,a bath etc etc..and make is use with a comment,a choice,an appointment etc etc and others as same as.i want to know that these are complusory to use with these words..and tell me is these sentences are correct for eg :

1)Make a cooment on my pic.

2)you should make an enquiry of the time of train.

3)I made a promise for best result.

4)I am confused,you make a choice.

thanks in advance and i hope you get that what i wanna ask to you..