30 Most Common English Verbs

Many students ask which words they should learn first. On strategy is to focus on the most commonly used words. Check out this list of the 30 most common verbs in the English language! The verbs are listed in their base form, present tense, past tense, and perfect forms.

Words that are more common will generally be more useful, so it's a good idea to learn more common verbs first! Get to know these verbs first to make the most of your new vocabulary as you learn English

What patterns do you notice in the list of verbs?

There is a general rule in languages (sometimes called Zipfโ€™s Law or The Principle of Least Effort) that predicts that more commonly used words will tend to be shorter. And, as you might expect from that, the first 20 most common verbs are all only one syllable.

You may also notice that 19 of the verbs on the list are irregular verbs.

Note that verbs that work only as auxiliaries and modals (such as can and will) have been removed from this list. Verbs that act as both auxiliaries and main verbs have been left in. Data for this table came from the Corpus of Contemporary American English (COCA).

List of 30 Most Common English Verbs Conjugated

30 Most Common Verbs in English
# Infinitive Present Past Perfect
1 to be am, is, are was, were been
2 to have has, have had had
3 to do do, does did done
4 to know know, knows knew known
5 to think think, thinks thought thought
6 to go go, goes went gone
7 to get get, gets got gotten
8 to say say, says said said
9 to want want, wants wanted wanted
10 to see see, sees saw seen
11 to mean mean, means meant meant
12 to let let, lets let let
13 to make make, makes made made
14 to come come, comes came come
15 to take take, takes took taken
16 to look look, looks looked looked
17 to thank thank, thanks thanked thanked
18 to tell tell, tells told told
19 to put put, puts put put
20 to like like, likes liked liked
21 to talk talk, talks talked talked
22 to need need, needs needed needed
23 to believe believe, believes believed believed
24 to give give, gives gave given
25 to try try, tries tried tried
26 to call call, calls called called
27 to find find, finds found found
28 to feel feel, feels felt felt
29 to happen happen, happens happened happened
30 to ask ask, asks asked asked

If you like this, check out these other English grammar posts!