Dummy Verbs for intermediate learners

Have you ever repeated a word too much that made you think How boring it got! You can use dummy verbs instead of repeated verbs.

"Dummy Verbs" in English Grammar

What Are Dummy Verbs?

Dummy Verbs (also known as delexical verbs) are common verbs like 'go', 'make', or 'take' that have no meaning by themselves and take their meanings from the nouns they are accompanied with.

English Dummy Verbs

Although we use dummy verbs very often in both everyday conversations and academic or formal situations, the number of these verbs is limited.
Here is the list of English dummy verbs:

  1. Have
  2. Take
  3. Make
  4. Give
  5. Go
  6. Do


'Have' as the main verb means possession. But, as a dummy verb, it can commonly appear with these nouns:

  • Have breakfast
  • Have a drink
  • Have a break
  • Have an argument
  • Have a conversation


'Take' as a dummy or delexical verb can also be used with many nouns, such as:

  • Take a shower
  • Take a risk
  • Take care
  • Take a break
  • Take a photo


We can use 'make' as a dummy verb with the following nouns:

  • Make a mistake
  • Make a decision
  • Make a phone call
  • Make an attempt
  • Make a mess


We can also use 'give' as a dummy verb with the following nouns:

  • Give a hug
  • Give a shout
  • Give directions
  • Give evidence
  • Give orders


'Go' as a dummy verb can be used with certain gerunds (-ing forms):

  • Go shopping
  • Go swimming
  • Go skiing
  • Go dancing
  • Go running


Like 'go', 'do' can also be used with certain nouns or gerunds (-ing forms):

  • Do the dishes
  • Do the laundry
  • Do the ironing
  • Do the cooking
  • Do ones hair


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