This lesson is for advanced students.
So what's so special about empty / light verbs?
- do - He's doing the washing up / the dishes - (he's washing up)
- give - She gave him a hug - (she hugged him)
- have - They're having lunch - (they're lunching)
- make - He made a complaint to the manager. - (he complained)
- take - She took a shower. - (she showered)
What about get?
Do empty verbs have no meaning at all then?
- She took a bath (take = She bathed herself)
- She gave the child a bath (give = She bathed somebody else)
Lists of collocations with empty verbs
Make or do?
- If you're not doing anything today, we could go to the beach.
- He is doing everything he can to help.
- She does nothing all day except complain.
- Could you do something for me?
Make or do?
Exercise 1a - choose the correct option
|1.||... up your jacket / shoes (fasten)|
|2.||... an exception|
|3.||... 60 kph|
|4.||... some good|
|6.||... (the) arrangements|
|7.||... your hair / nails|
|8.||... the accounts (add up figures)|
|9.||... an enquiry (ask for information)|
|10.||... up your mind|
|11.||... an attempt (to do sth)|
|12.||... a dance (eg on stage)|
|13.||... a promise|
|14.||... a mess|
|15.||... a university degree|
Exercise 1b - choose the correct option
|1.||... the ironing / washing etc|
|2.||... a fuss|
|3.||... fun of somebody|
|4.||... a lot of damage / harm|
|5.||... a move|
|6.||Let's play ... believe (pretend)|
|7.||... your apologies to somebody|
|8.||... up a room (decorate)|
|9.||... time (= spend time in prison)|
|10.||... an effort (to do sth)|
|11.||... a difference|
|12.||... the best of sth (for example a bad situation)|
|13.||... your best|
|14.||... somebody a good turn / a favour|
|15.||... a start|
Have, take or both?
Exercise 2a - Choose the correct option
|1.||... breakfast / lunch / dinner|
|2.||... sth into consideration|
|3.||... a sniff / a taste of sth|
|4.||... a quarrel / row / an argument|
|5.||... a break / nap / rest|
|6.||... fun (i.e. enjoy yourself)|
|7.||... a drive|
|8.||... a seat|
|9.||... a party|
|11.||... a read (of sth)|
|12.||... a think (about sth)|
|13.||... a lie-down|
|14.||... a look (at sth)|
|15.||... responsibility (for)|
Exercise 2b - Choose the correct option
|1.||... a (good) cry|
|2.||... sb out for a drink|
|3.||... a swim|
|4.||... a chat / talk / conversation / discussion|
|5.||... a bath / shower|
|6.||... care of sth|
|7.||... it easy|
|8.||... a meeting|
|9.||... a walk / stroll|
|10.||They've decided to ... the plunge|
|11.||... a smoke|
|12.||... a rest|
|13.||... a haircut|
|14.||... a photo|
|15.||... a peep (a quick and/or secret look)|
Make, take or both?
Exercise 3 - Choose the correct option
|2.||... an appointment|
|3.||... an attempt|
|4.||... certain / sure|
|5.||... a complaint|
|6.||... the lead|
|7.||... a decision|
|10.||... a list|
|12.||... a picture / photo|
|13.||... a point|
|14.||... somebody's point|
|15.||... a test|
Have or give?
Exercise 4 - Choose the correct option
|1.||... a bath|
|2.||... somebody a bath|
|3.||I'll ... you an example|
|4.||Do you ... any examples?|
|5.||... somebody a kiss|
|6.||... birth to a baby|
|7.||... a haircut|
|8.||... a shout / yell / scream|
|9.||... somebody a haircut|
|10.||These ... priority over those.|
|11.||Could you ... this priority, please.|
|12.||I don't ... a damn / a toss.|
|13.||... a read of this.|
|14.||I think I'll ... it a miss.|
On the phone
Exercise 5a - Enter a verb from the box to complete each sentence
|1.||I'll just be a minute. I need to a phone call.|
|2.||My phone credit could with a top-up.|
|3.||That's the phone ringing, can you it? I'm busy.|
|4.||Call me tomorrow and we'll a chat.|
|5.||Why don't you me a call tomorrow.|
Exercise 5b - Complete each sentence with a suitable verb in a suitable form
|A.||Hi, Betty, do you (1) a moment to talk.|
|B.||Sure Angie, what can I (2) for you?|
|A.||I was wondering if you'd (3) up your mind yet about the weekend.|
|B.||Yes. I've (4) a talk with Dave, and we'd love to come. I'm sure it will (5) us all a lot of good to (6) out into the country for a few days. We were beginning to (7) on each others' nerves being all cooped up in two rooms while they're (8) alterations to the flat. And it'll (9) a nice change not to have to (10) the cooking for once.|
|A.||Yes, I can imagine. We're (11) a bit bored here ourselves. It will (12) a nice break. I'm sure we'll all (13) a lot of fun on the farm. And we'll be able to (14) lots of cycling and (15) for lots of walks. It will certainly (16) amends for all those weeks of hard work. It's been really (17) my head in!|
|B.||Quite! I think I'll (18) crazy if I don't (19) away for a few days. Don't (20) me wrong, I love this job, but there (21) a time when you need a break. And it would be a shame not to (22) advantage of this lovely weather. By the way, I was thinking we could (23) you a hand with the arrangements if you like.|
|A.||No, that's fine, we can manage. I'll (24) back in touch with you once I've (25) the reservation|
An office meeting
Exercise 6 - fill gaps with suitable forms of the verbs in the box.
|OK, everyone, I'd like to (1) this meeting under way now, so could you all (2) your seats please. And Peter, could I ask you to (3) the minutes, please.|
|We're (4) this meeting today to discuss next month's product launch. Now, I can't stress how important it is that nothing (5) wrong with this, and I'd like you all to (6) me a big favour and (7) a huge effort to ensure that everything (8) smoothly. And if I could (9) a suggestion - try and (10) all your staff behind you on this one.|
|The good news is we've (11) a deal with a local printers for publicity material. Sammy, could you and your people (12) a think about what's to go into the brochures and (13) something ready for us to (14) a look at before you (15) the final arrangements with the printers.|
|We'll be inviting the press to the launch of course. Pat, could you (16) responsibility for that side of things. We want to (17) (create) a good impression, of course, but I think we'll (18) the Champagne a miss this year, what with funds being so limited.|
|Now we need to (19) into consideration that there's still a little work to be (20) on the product itself, and we may need to (21) some last-minute changes. Mike will be (22) us some examples of possible changes later. But so far, everything (23) the impression of being under control.|
|Next week, Dave's department will be (24) an overall progress review and we can (25) another chat about everything then.|
|The only other thing I'd like to say at the moment, is to ask you all to (26) this top priority and (27) your best to (28) this launch a great success.|
|So, now's the time to (29) any comments , and then we'll take a short break for coffee. After that, Sue will (30) us a short presentation on expected sales of the new product.|
Exercise 7a - Complete the second sentence so it has a similar meaning to the first, using the word(s) given. Don't change the word given. Use between two and five words, inclusing the words given.
|1.||I'm going to lie down for a bit.|
I'm going for a bit.
|2.||He got very rich from his business.|
He from his business
|3.||That noise is really annoying me. Can't you turn it off?|
That noise is really Can't you turn it off?
|4.||Can you wipe the table for me?|
Can you for me?
|5.||I think we should start right away.|
I think we should right away.
|6.||They were relaxing by the pool.|
They by the pool.
|7.||Have you decided yet?|
Have you yet?
|8.||We've made a mistake somewhere.|
|9.||They've been redecorating their house.|
They've been their house.
|10.||They formally agreed to get married last week.|
They last week.
Exercise 7b - Complete the second sentence so it has a similar meaning to the first, using the word(s) given. Don't change the word given. Use between two and five words, inclusing the words given.
|1.||The pianist performed very badly last night.|
The pianist last night.
|2.||They were quarreling loudly when I passed.|
They were when I passed.
|3.||Look after yourself now.|
|4.||I'll just stir the sauce first.|
I'll just first.
|5.||Did you contact Helen?|
Did you Helen?
|6.||I'll call you when I return home.|
I'll call you when home.
|7.||Now go off and enjoy yourselves at the party.|
Now go off and at the party.
|8.||He sat down and waited.|
He and waited.
|9.||They had a stroll in the afternoon.|
They in the afternoon.
|10.||The child hugged her father and laughed happily.|
The child and laughed happily.
The verb give with two objects
Exercise 8 - Enter a noun from the box to complete each sentence.
|1.||Can you give me a moving this sofa?|
|2.||He gave the coffee vending machine a sharp .|
|3.||When it wouldn't start, we all helped to give the car a .|
|4.||The little girl looked at him and gave him a shy .|
|5.||We need to give this room a good before my parents arrive.|
|6.||She gave him a final as the train pulled out of the station.|
|7.||I think I'll give this film a . I've seen it before.|
|8.||I'll just give this shirt a quick so you can wear it this evening.|
|9.||Give me a tomorrow and we'll talk about it then.|
|10.||We could go to that new restaurant. - Good idea. Let's give it a .|
|11.||Can you give the carpet a quick with the hoover?|
|12.||My wife gave me a quick in the ribs to shut me up.|
|13.||Go and give your hair a good before we go out.|
|14.||And give your shoes a while you're at it.|
|15.||When I saw her at work the next day, she gave me an encouraging .|
Take and have - British American differences
See a selection of collocations with do, get, give, have, make, take etcSelect a verb
- Teaching English (British Council) - delexicalised verbs
- Wiktionary - collocations of do, have, make, take
- New Headway Upper intermediate - exercise
- New Headway Pre-intermediate - exercise
- Folkuniversitet - exercise
- English Result - exercise