Empty verbs

Empty verbs are verbs that have little meaning alone but that can be joined together with many other words, so generating a wide variety of new meanings.

It is almost impossible to see empty verbs by themselves. They must be seen with other words that form around them.

Let’s have a look at some very common collocations:

  • have a bath
  • take a taxi
  • make money
  • do your homework

If we look at this list, where is the main part of the meaning? Is it in the word ‘have’ or in the accompanying word(s)? That’s right, it is the second word that carries most of the meaning. 

Some of the most common verb collocations are:

Do Make Give
do business
do nothing
do someone a favour
do the cooking
do the housework
do the shopping
do the washing up
do your best
do your hair
do your homework
make a difference
make a mess
make a mistake
make a noise
make an effort
make furniture
make money
make progress
make room
make trouble make friends make a decision make a meal
Give a hand

Give a ring

Give my regards to

Give an answer

Give something a try

Have Take
have a bath
have a party have a drink
have a good time
have a holiday
have a problem
have a relationship
have a rest
have lunch
have sympathy
take a break
take a chance
take a look
take a rest
take a seat
take a taxi
take an exam take a photo take a decision take a bus/taxi…
take notes take risks
take someone’s place
take someone’s temperature

Now, give it a try and complete this exercise

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This entry was posted in Face2face Intermediate, Speak Out Intermediate, Textbook, Vocabulary. Bookmark the permalink.

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