Another common verb in the English language is 'give'. I'm sure you've heard it a lot. In this lesson, we will learn all there is about it.

How To Use "Give" in English?

'Give' is commonly used among native English speakers. In this lesson, we will discuss how to use and hearn it.

Functions of 'Give'

'Give' as the Main Verb

One of the main functions of 'give' is to be the main verb. Below, we are going to learn all about the different meanings it can take:


  • When we want to hand someone something, we use 'give':

I asked Anna to give her article to me.

Do you mind giving the remote control to me?

'Give the lady what she wants.' demanded the minister.

  • When we want to hand someone a present, we use 'give':

I gave her a single blue rose.

Are you gonna give mother anything for her birthday?

  • When someone wants something and we hand it to them, we use 'give':

They were looking for information so I gave them the address.

Since what you're talking about is too difficult, I want you to give exact details to me.

  • When we want to help someone financially, we use 'give':

If you're giving out of coercion, I don't want it.

The reverend gives regularly to the charity.

  • When we want to pay money to have something, we use 'give':

I'll give ten thousand bucks for that mansion.

It seems that my sister has given five bucks for this bicycle.

  • When someone passes a disease to some other people, we use 'give':

I think you gave me Covid-19.

Unfortunately, one of our coworkers has given a cold to us all.

  • When we punish someone by the law, we use 'give':

The jury decided to give Ms. Heard a six-month sentence.

Sir, I don't think these women should be given any punishment cause they are defending their rights.

  • When we cause someone to have a specific feeling, we use 'give':

All this noise gives me anger.

Living in a city only gives me a headache.

  • When we are grading something, we use 'give':

The professor gave a B to my analysis.

I tend to give top marks to most students.

  • When we want to indicate that something will last for a limited period of time, we use 'give':

The assistant said that she could only give me two weeks to finish this project.

At the very least, they will be given a day to prove themselves right.

  • When we have to accept the fact that we must give up some things in order to gain others, we use 'give':

My friend once told me that you cannot have anything unless you give some things away.

Position in a Sentence

Since 'give' is the main verb here, it mainly comes after the subject. Please note that whenever we have an imperative sentence, we put the main verb at the beginning of the sentence. Look below:

If you give me that book, I promise I'll get you a delicious cake.

Give me that kitty this instant.

'Give' as the Dummy Verb

Another function of 'give' is to be a dummy verb in some cases. Below, we are going to learn all about it:


As you know, dummy verbs come with particular nouns to have specific meanings. 'Give' can sometimes function as a dummy verb. Look at the following list for more clarification:

  • When we want to call someone, we use 'give':

I want you to give me a call as soon as you get home.

He said he'd give me a call later, but nothing.

  • When we are having a celebration, we can use 'give':

John wanted to give a party for his eighteenth birthday, but things got a little messy.

  • We can use 'give' with different nouns to show that we are doing an activity. Look:

I gave my mom a kiss and left.

Here, 'give' has come instead of the verb 'kiss' so it has to be followed by the noun to be meaningful.

The couple gave each other a hug on the platform.

Here, we can also use the verb 'hug'.

Sally gave me a big smile as she got out of the car.

Here, we can also use the verb 'smile'.

The reverend gave his daughter a sad look and nodded his head.

Here, we can also use 'look'.

  • When we want to perform, read, lecture, or do something in front of a group of people, we use 'give':

I think I'll eventually end up giving a performance in the streets of London.

Today, Lily has decided to give a reading of her latest analysis on Kurt Vonnegut's Cat's Cradle.

  • When something/someone is important that we put time to think on it, we use 'give':

I don't know whether to give it a thought or not.

After months of arguing, Helen convinced me to give a thought of the opportunity.

Idioms and Expressions

As you might have heard before, we have several idioms with 'give' in the English language. Below, we are going to learn all about them:

  • Don't give someone that: We use this one when we are disagreeing with someone:

A : I told you mom I had my hands full!

B : Oh, don't give me that little lady.

  • Give as good as one gets: When someone reacts the same way when he/she/ is being attacked, we use this idiom:

It is not always healthy to give as good as one gets.

  • Give it up for someone: When we want to encourage a group of people to clap for someone, we use this idiom:

Ladies and gentlemen, give it up for Johnny Depp.

  • Give or take something: When we want to show something approximately, we use this one:

I will be able to listen to your audio file in two days, give or take a day.

  • Give someone to believe something: When we want show that someone was made to believe something, we use this idiom:

The manager was given to believe that our new employee was not working properly.

We were all given to believe that humans are superior to other creatures.

  • Give someone what for: When we want to punish or scold someone harshly, we use this idiom:

It is not right to give your son what for in this way whenever he misbehaves.

  • Someone will give you that: When we want to admit that something is true, we use this one:

She was wrong to give him a second chance, I'll give you that.


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