The Ultimate Guide to Activity Verbs Part 2: Explanations and Activities

Now for a simple explanation of the difference and functions of the activity verbs, namely the verbs of Do, Have, Make and Take. Before doing that, you should do the activity in Part 1, yet if you are not sure of the difference, you can look at the information table below before going back to Part 1.

In either case, click here. And as for the explanations on the difference, have a look at the following tables below:

Even when looking at the conjugations, one can see the differences based on verb tenses. As a bonus, have and do also function as helping verbs (a.k.a. auxilliary verbs)- verbs that assist the main verbs (regardless of whether they are passive or active):

Yet the differences among the four activity verbs that we “enjoy mixing up” go beyond the verb tenses. Let’s have a look at:

While these two verbs are easy to differentiate, the last two verbs are the ones that students have the most difficulty in understanding. They are:

This word is often mixed up with its counterpart…..

While we a better explanation of the four activities, let’s do the following exercises to better understand the differences.


Activity 1: Look at the following words below and determine which of the four verbs best fits. Keep in mind, some of them may have more than one answer.

1. Housework

2. Breakfast

3. Pictures with a camera

4. Test (writing the test)

5. Repairs on the car

6. Sweater (as a gift)

7. Training (for sports)

8. A glass of hot cocoa

9. A pan of bars (Kuchen in German)

10. A party at your house

11. A break (from your job)

12. Your job

13. A risk

14. A shower (after a long day of work)

15. A wedding


Activity 2: Complete the following sentences using the correct activity verb. Pay attention to the verb tenses in some of them.

  1. Chris ___________ the cut and is now a football player.
  2. __________ you find out who tried to call you?
  3. __________ you tried to contact your neighbor about the broken window?
  4. I ____________ a vacation for the next three weeks and ____________ a trip to Hawaii. (2x Future tense)
  5. Why don’t you __________ a few minutes and get some fresh air? You really need a break.
  6. You have the right to __________ a statement about this incident.
  7. Just ________ what I tell you and don’t complain!
  8. We ___________ a nice delicious meal tonight. (present continuous).
  9. What have you ____________? My TV is broken!
  10. I will _____________ a party on Friday night. Will you _________ it that day?
  11. Carrie _______________ a big birthday cake for Tina. (present continuous)
  12. He ___________ 100 sit-ups a day and his abs are solid as a rock.
  13. She ___________ with her daughter yesterday about her problems in school.
  14. They _______________ the train to Berlin. We’ll meet them at the station. (future tense)
  15. We can ________ it!

Any questions about the difference? If you are still unsure, try and do the photo exercises in Part 1 again and see if you can tell the difference. If you figured them out, then you will never mix them up again……

Right? 🙂