What Are Dummy Verbs?
These verbs are called dummy verbs (also known as delexical verbs) because the primary meaning of the verb is derived from the accompanying noun.
Common Dummy Verbs in English
The most common dummy or delexical verbs in English are:
Dummy Verb: Take
'Take' as a dummy verb can be used with different nouns, such as:
- take a shower/a bath/a wash
- take a break/a rest
- take a breath
- take care/care of
- take turn
- take a seat
- take a chance/a risk
- take a photograph
Dummy Verb: Make
'Make' as a dummy verb can be used with different nouns, such as:
- make a mistake
- make a decision
- make a phone call
- make an effort
- make a suggestion
- make a point
- make a mess
- make a start
Dummy Verb: Have
'Have' as a dummy verb can be used with different nouns, such as:
- to have a meal/a breakfast/a lunch/a dinner/a cigarette/a drink
- to have a chat/a conversation/a discussion/a talk
- to have a bath/a shower/a wash
- to have an argument/a dispute/a fight/a quarrel
- to have a meeting/a party/a concert
- to have a baby
Dummy Verb: Give
'Give' as a dummy verb can be used with different nouns, such as:
- to give a cry/a laugh/a punch/a slap
- to give a hug/a kiss/a stroke
- to give advice/information/a lecture/a speech/a warning
- to give a permission/a chance
- to give examples/directions
Don't move until I
Take & Have
We use 'take' and 'have' with some nouns that have the same form as verbs, such as:
- to take a look/a walk/a swim
- to have a look/a bite/a listen/a swim
Dummy Verb: Go
'Go' as a dummy verb, is used most commonly with -ing verbs that represent common everyday activities:
- to go shopping
- to go swimming
- to go walking
- to go dancing
- to go running
With verbs that indicate 'movement and 'motion' such as (jog, ride, swim, run, stroll, a walk, etc.), we use this structure:
Go for a ...
Dummy Verb: Do
'Do' as a dummy verb, is used most commonly with -ing verbs that represent chores (especially house chores), such as cooking, drying, washing, cleaning, etc.
'Do' can also be used nouns when it is obvious what the action is, such as:
- do a job/one's homework/exercise/business
- do one's hair/teeth
- do one's car
- do the dishes
In English, there are some verbs that are used next to some other nouns and they make a complete meaning, which sometimes is related to the meaning of the verbs and sometimes is perfectly different. These kinds of verbs are called 'dummy verbs.'
a Quick Look Over Dummy Verbs
I have to
Ross is supposed to
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