Verbs examples for kids
A Helpful Guide And List
What’s the most effective way to begin teaching verbs to kids? If you’ve been asking yourself this question, you’ve come to the right place!
We know how challenging it can be to come up with fun and effective ways to help your child learn verbs.
You may have turned to online resources for inspiration, but some activities you found are duds, while others just require too much time and effort for a busy parent like you.
So what can you do? Turn to HOMER, of course!
Our learning experts have been creating fun and engaging educational activities for kids for years and have learned a thing or two about effective ways to teach verbs.
In this detailed guide, we’ll share a few methods to practice verbs at home and a list of action words you can start introducing to your child today.
Let’s get started!
What Are Verbs?
Before we begin teaching verbs for kids, it’s essential that we first refresh our own memories. What are verbs again?
The Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines a verb as “a word that characteristically is the grammatical center of a predicate and expresses an act, occurrence, or mode of being…”
In much simpler terms, many verbs can be described as “doing words” because they are the words in a sentence that express what the subject is doing. They help explain what is taking place — Tom runs away, Maria jumps up and down, Susan drives very fast.
Action verbs are special because they can be used in simple sentences (“Tom sings.”), and a single verb can also be a sentence (“Dance!”). They’re very versatile.
While the most common type of verbs are action verbs, like those shared above, there are also two other types your child will learn about as they get older. These are helping verbs (or auxiliary verbs) and linking verbs.
As you probably guessed, helping verbs help! They appear in front of the action and give information about when that action happened. For example, in the sentence, “I am reading a book,” the helping verb “am” helps to express the action verb “reading.”
Linking verbs, on the other hand, don’t express any sort of action. Instead, they connect or “link” the subject to a word that describes it, which can be an adjective or noun.
For example, in the sentence “The sky is blue,” the linking verb “is” links the subject “sky” to the predicate adjective “blue.” It connects the two parts and helps the listener or reader understand what’s being said.
There are only three main linking verbs in the English language: “to be,” “to become,” and “to seem.” These linking verbs can also take on different forms, such as “is,” “are,” “was,” “were,” etc.
You probably use all three types of verbs daily without even thinking about it. Now, it’s time to help your child do the same.
It’s important to note that your child is likely too young to go into detail about what the different verb types are or what they’re called. So don’t spend time explaining the differences or expecting them to know what a linking verb is.
They’ll pick it up naturally when they’re ready. Instead, focus on using verbs correctly.
How To Recognize Verbs
There are a few ways to help your child recognize verbs in a sentence. One of the most common is to look closely at its location compared to the subject of a sentence. Often, verbs come after nouns and pronouns (i.e., the subject).
So, from one of the examples above — “Maria jumps up and down” — the verb (jumps) comes directly after the noun (Maria).
Another way to help your child recognize a verb (without having to think about the sentence structure) is to encourage them to ask “Can I…?” Can I jump, dance, scream, eat, laugh, run, etc.? If the answer is “yes,” then the word is a verb.
Why Is It Important To Teach Kids About Verbs?
Every single sentence needs a verb. Without one, the sentence is incomplete.
If your child doesn’t use verbs, they’ll have difficulty expressing themselves orally. In addition, other people might not understand what they’re saying since verbs are integral to our language.
And as they get older and start writing, this foundational knowledge about verbs will help them have a better sense of grammar so they can write more clearly.
When Will Your Child Use Verbs In Their Speech?
It’s challenging to explain how many verbs kids should use when they are toddlers. That’s because many factors can influence a child’s language development. These include gender, environment, and genes, among others.
While there might be a few variables, at 24 months, most toddlers can say around 40 verbs. If your child is on the lower end, you can assist them by actively introducing new verbs regularly through different games and activities.
There are many types of verbs (action, auxiliary, regular, irregular, etc.). As children get older and are exposed to more words in the English language, they will naturally start introducing a variety of verbs into their speech.
Here’s a look at what you can expect from your growing child.
19 – 28 Months Old
- Present Progressive
- These verbs help express an activity that’s presently or was recently happening. They are instantly recognizable with their “-ing” ending. For example: driving, eating, swimming, etc.
3 – 4 Years Old
- Irregular Past-Tense
- These verbs express what happened in the past without the use of an “-ed” ending. For example: went, hurt, hit, etc.
- Children at this age use some irregular verbs correctly and begin to use “-ing” words
- They also learn how to use a regular past tense verb with an “-ed” ending (played, liked, etc.), which helps describe what has already happened.
4 Years And Older
As children enter kindergarten and preschool, they may have a basic understanding of verbs as they learn new vocabulary and action words. They should be able to recognize common verb endings and use them correctly most of the time.
At this age, your child may still struggle with irregular verbs. We’ll talk more about this later, but, for now, know that it’s normal for kids to use “ed” endings on all verbs, even if they’re supposed to end differently.
In fact, it’s not just normal; it’s a step in the right direction! It shows that they are generalizing grammatic rules, which is proof of their internalizing this basic grammatic principle.
The more they listen to and use language, the better their grasp of verbs will be. Before you know it, they won’t be making the same mistakes anymore.
Even though preschoolers have a lot of verbs in their vocabulary, the word “verb” might not be. They probably won’t be able to identify which word is a verb if you ask them to find one. Classifying words is a more advanced skill that they’ll tackle as they progress in school.
For now, the important thing is using verbs when they speak to identify what someone, or something, is doing. This will prepare them for future language development.
After all, language development is an essential part of a child’s growth. Helping your child understand verbs now will benefit them as they learn about other parts of speech.
How To Practice Verbs For Kids
Now that you know what verbs are and why it’s vital to teach verbs for kids, let’s look at some engaging activities to help your child use these action words.
There are so many benefits to learning through play, especially for young kids.
1) Action Charades
What You’ll Need:
- Pen or marker
- Pieces of paper
- Hat or bowl
- List of verbs (cook, jump, wiggle, shake, nod, etc.)
What To Do:
Playing charades is one of the simplest ways to help your child practice verbs. All you need to do is write verbs on pieces of paper (one verb per paper), drop them into a hat or bowl, and then mix them up.
If your child isn’t yet a reader, assign a partner who can read for them or opt for picture clues instead of written ones. These simple rule changes help make the game accessible for everyone in the family.
Once you’re set up, players will take turns pulling the verbs from the hat or bowl and proceed to act them out. You can also add a timer for 30 seconds. How many words can you guess in half a minute?
This activity can be great for the whole family on game night. To keep things fresh and exciting, change the verbs each time you play (this might require you to have a thesaurus nearby!).
In addition to learning verbs, your child has the opportunity to build their vocabulary by playing this game. They’ll be exposed to new words, understand their meaning as they are acted out, and learn synonyms as others guess the action that is taking place.
2) The Verb Game
What You’ll Need:
- Marker or pen
What To Do:
Most children understand verbs as the “doing words” in a sentence. But what happens when you replace one verb with another? How does that affect the sentence as a whole?
You can help your child answer these questions by playing the verb game. All you need to do is write down a sentence with an action. For example, “I can jump 10 times.” Next, read your sentence aloud to your child. Once they hear it, challenge them to do what it says.
Then, players take turns changing the action verb. It might look like this: “I can shout ten times, I can wiggle ten times, I can stick my tongue out ten times,” etc.
Don’t be too concerned about which verb you choose to add. The sillier the better!
This is a great activity to help emphasize that verbs are the action words in a sentence and changing them will change the meaning of that sentence.
3) A Verb Time Machine
What You’ll Need:
- Construction paper
- Two blank sheets of other paper
- Plastic arrow game spinner
What To Do:
Encourage your child to draw a time machine on a blank sheet of paper and color it in. They don’t have to be the best artist here — just a simple rectangular shape with an antenna at the top will be fine.
On the construction paper, assist your child in drawing a single road in the center. This road can have numbers from one (at the bottom) to seven (at the top).
After doing so, help your child cut out the time machine and paste it onto the construction paper at the end of the road they’ve drawn.
Lastly, help your child draw a large circle on your second blank sheet of paper. Divide this circle into three sections: Right Now, Yesterday, and Tomorrow. Then place your spinner at the center.
The concept of this activity is simple: Your child will race to get to the time machine at the end of the road.
Here are the steps to get there:
- Start by saying a verb (for example: jump)
- Spin the plastic arrow game spinner
- Whoever is playing will say the verb in the tense of where the spinner lands. For instance, if it lands on “yesterday,” the player needs to say jumped.
- If you get it right, move from one to two on the road to the time machine. Who will make it to the time machine first?
This is a great activity to help your child practice their verb tenses. You can even ask them to create a sentence with that verb tense for an extra point!
If you notice that your child is struggling with irregular verbs, simply point out the correct ending. As you include that specific verb in gameplay, they’ll have more opportunities to learn how to conjugate it correctly.
4) The Action Verb Alphabet
What You’ll Need:
What To Do:
This game is for slightly older kids who are familiar with letters and sounds. Otherwise, your child’s brain will have a hard time focusing on the verb component while also trying to think about the letter sounds. If that happens, it might become too frustrating.
Tell your child that the two of you will try to brainstorm a verb for each letter of the alphabet. Let them know it’s just for fun and not a competition.
Start with “A.” Say the “A” sound and ask your child if they know anything you can do that starts with that sound.
If they don’t, that’s OK. You can prompt them by saying, “Ask is something we can do that starts with an ‘A’ sound. Can you ask me a question?”
Then, move on to the letter “B.” Try the words bounce, bake, bark, and bray, or any other “B” verbs you can name.
Remember to have your child act out the verb if possible. When they hear the word and do something with their body, it activates more areas of the brain, and they’re more likely to remember it.
If you suggest a word your child doesn’t know, take time to explain what it means. It’s a fun way to expand your child’s vocabulary.
Continue thinking of verbs for each letter of the alphabet. If you get stuck, you can check out our cheat sheet below or agree to skip the letter and move on. Either way works!
If you do get stuck, here is an idea or two for each letter:
- A – add, act
- B – blend, build
- C – catch, crawl
- D – drink, dream
- E – eat, explore
- F – find, fly
- G – growl, grumble
- H – hop, howl
- I – itch, inspect
- J – jump, jingle
- K – kick, kite
- L – lick, listen
- M – milk, mow
- N – nap, neigh
- O – open, order
- P – play, peek
- Q – quack, question
- R – run, roar
- S – skip, slide
- T – talk, trade
- U – unzip, use
- V – vroom (like a car), vacuum
- W – walk, wag
- X – X-ray, Xerox
- Y – yawn, yodel
- Z – zigzag, zip
You’ll probably think of many more. You could even create your own ABC Verb book with some paper and crayons with all these verbs you’ll name.
To extend this game even more, pull out your HOMER Explore Letters Kit and get the magnet letters. Stick up a random letter and ask your child to name a verb that starts with it. This activity is a fun way to review what you’ve been working on.
5) The Verb Toss
What You’ll Need:
- Pen or marker
- Index cards
- A pair of socks for each player (or a small, soft ball)
What To Do:
Roll up a pair of socks for each player into a tight ball. Then, use the pen to draw a simple verb action on each index card. Don’t worry about making it fancy. You could even have your child help with this part.
Here are a few words you can include:
Once the cards are ready, flip through them quickly with your child to make sure they can identify each one. If they can’t, explain what the picture is supposed to be.
Then, spread the verb cards face up on the floor. Ask your child to back up several feet and toss their sock ball onto the words. You can judge the distance of the toss by their age and throwing ability. They can always take a step closer if needed.
When they’ve successfully thrown the sock ball, let them walk over and see which card their ball landed on. Ask them to say the verb and do the action.
For example, if the card had a picture of someone eating, your child would pretend to eat. If it had “dance” on it, they would dance around the room.
After your child finishes the action, have them pick up both the card and their sock ball, give you the card, and stand back at their starting point to play again.
Continue throwing, saying the verb, and doing the action until the cards are all picked up.
Verbs For Kids
To get started with some of the activities above, you’ll need a list of verbs for children to practice.
Here are some examples you can use:
One of the activities above (A Verb Time Machine) helps children practice their verb tenses. Games like this are essential because, as mentioned above, kids often have trouble grasping the concept of different tenses because they tend to generalize rules.
For example, a child might say, “I maked a picture” instead of, “I made a picture.” Or, “I goed to school” instead of, “I went to school.”
Therefore, it’s important to continue practicing verb tenses (past, present, future, and ongoing) so they get comfortable with them.
While doing so, remember to emphasize the words that help the verbs. For example, change the sentence, “I wash my clothes” to, “I am washing my clothes” or, “I will wash my clothes.”
You don’t necessarily need to explain the process of changing the verbs in detail. Children learn best through repetition, so the more practice they get the easier it will be to grasp this concept.
Here are a few examples of verb tense changes that you can add to the activities above:
- I walk to school — I walked to school — I will walk to school
- I eat some food — I ate some food — I will eat some food
- He laughs — He laughed — He will laugh
- He runs fast — He ran fast — He will run fast
After you’ve practiced for a bit, listen to your child talk and praise them for using verb tenses correctly. For instance, if they typically say, “I eated my food,” congratulate them if they say, “I ate my food.”
Noticing what your child is doing right can be a big encouragement, so watch for those “I did it!” moments.
It’s Time For Verbs!
Verbs are an essential part of our speech because they help us express what action is, was, or will take place. The activities above will help your child practice verbs for kids while also having fun.
Language development is important and helps children become confident communicators. Check out the HOMER Learn & Grow app to learn more about how you can help your child continue developing this essential skill.
Verbs for Kids
by Craig Shrives
This Page Includes...
- Printable & Sendable Test
What Are Verbs? (for Kids)
Verbs are "action" words. Here are five sentences with the verbs highlighted:
- The cat chased the mouse.
- Simon jumped in the pool.
- Jane swims every morning.
- My uncle drives a bus.
- The mayor's daughters will sing after the break.
Can you spot a verb?
Notice how the verbs describe actions. In these examples, the verbs all describe physical actions. They tell us what the subject of the sentence is doing.
Get Smart about Verbs
Verbs can also describe mental actions or even actions about just existing.
- John guessed the right number.
- Claire thinks she is clever.
- Mark will consider your idea.
- Grimaldi was at the party.
- Aliens exist in far away galaxies.
- The mascot will be at the game.
Can you spot verbs describing mental actions?
Can you spot state-of-being verbs?
More about Verbs
Verbs are very important. Every sentence has a verb.
Look again at the examples above. Did you notice that each one describes an action from the past, the present, or the future? This is called the tense of a verb.
So, as well as telling us what the action is, a verb also tells us whether the action was in the past, present, or future.
- The cat chased the mouse. ("Chased" is the past tense.)
- The cat chases the mouse. ("Chases" is the present tense.)
- The cat will chase the mouse. ("Will chase" is the future tense.)
- Simon jumped in the pool.
- Simon jumps in the pool.
- Simon will jump in the pool.
- Jane swam yesterday morning.
- Jane swims every morning.
- Jane will swim tomorrow morning. (Notice that the future tense requires the help of "will.")
So far, we have looked only at the simple tenses. As you learn more about tense, you will see other tenses. Just like the simple future tense ("will chase," "will jump," "will swim"), the other tenses also need helping verbs (like "will"). These "helping verbs" are more commonly called auxiliary verbs.
The most common auxiliary verbs are:
- was, were (for the past tense)
- am, is, are (for the present tense)
- will be (for the future tense)
- My uncle was driving a bus when he met my auntie.
- My uncle is driving a bus around Europe.
- My uncle will be driving a bus to Paris next year.
All the auxiliary verbs are in bold. Did you notice that "to drive" changed to "driving" in every example?
- The mayor's daughters were singing before the break.
- The mayor's daughters are singing now.
- The mayor's daughters will be singing after the break.
Did you notice that "to sing" changed to "singing" in every example?
Get Smart about Verbs
- Words ending "-ing" formed from verbs are called present participles.
- When a verb is preceded with "to" (e.g., "to drive," "to sing"), it is called the infinitive form of the verb.
- The main verb and any accompanying auxiliary verbs are called a verb phrase. (The highlighted texts in all the examples on this page are verb phrases.)
More about Auxiliary Verbs
After "was," "were," "am," "is," "are," and "will be" (all from the verb to be), the next most common auxiliary verb is the verb to have. It has the following forms:
- had (for the past tense)
- has, have (for the present tense)
- will have (for the future tense)
- My uncle had driven a bus before he became an astronaut.
- My uncle has driven for twenty years.
- My uncle will have driven for thirty years when he retires.
Did you notice that "to drive" changed to "driven" in every example?
Get Smart about Verbs
- Words used with "to have" to form verb tense are called past participles. (Past participles usually end "-ed," "-d," "-t," "-en," or "-n.")
- The word in a verb phrase that tells you whether the action was in the past, present, or future is called a finite verb. The participles are called non-finite verbs.
- The mayor's daughters were singing before the break. ("Were" tells us the action was in the past, so "were" is the finite verb. The present participle "singing" is a non-finite verb.)
- My uncle will have driven for thirty years when he retires. ("Will have" tells us the action will be in the future, so "will have" is the finite verb. The past participle "driven" is a non-finite verb.)
Modal Auxiliary Verbs
There is another type of auxiliary verb called a modal auxiliary verb. The main modal verbs are:
- can, could, may, might, shall, should, will, would, and must.
- The cat might chase the mouse. ("Might" helps to express possibility.)
- Simon must jump in the pool. ("Must" helps to express obligation.)
- Jane can swim for hours. ("Can" helps to express ability.)
When a verb links the subject of a sentence to a description, it is called a linking verb.
- The cat is hungry. ("Is" links "The cat" to "hungry.")
- My ancestor was a pirate. ("Was" links "My ancestor" to "a pirate.")
- Your dog smells awful. ("smells" links "The dog" to "awful. ")
Here is a video summarizing this lesson on verbs:
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Games for Learning Verbs
Here are three games for learning about verbs:
- Find the verb game)
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How do verbs affect the development of speech?
When a baby starts talking, it's always so exciting! If you are a parent yourself or just had the pleasure of watching the development of the child, you may have noticed that the first words of the child are usually the names of people or things (nouns), such as “mother”, “dad”, “ball”, “car” , "cat" or "bear". But by the age of two, the child should already be trying to use verbs in his speech. Verbs are words that denote the actions of objects, for example: “go”, “eat”, “run”, “read” and states, for example: “want”, “love”, etc.
Examples of verbs that are usually taught first:
Bite, blow, break, bring, crash, clean, close, cry, dance, paint, drink, drive, eat, fall, feed, finish, receive , give, go, help, beat, hug, hurry, jump, kick, kiss, watch, love, open, play, pull, push, put, read, ride, run, talk, see, show, sing, sleep, smile , splash, stop, swim, swing, take, throw, tickle, touch, walk, wash, look, wipe, write.
Why are verbs important?
A recent study found that two-year-olds who use more different verbs in their speech develop more advanced grammar skills over the next six months.
Verbs are very important in the development of speech, because a child who knows them begins to compose simple sentences from an early age. After all, every sentence needs a verb. And the choice of the verb determines the set of grammatical forms in the sentence. Fun fact: A recent study showed that two-year-olds who use more different verbs in their speech develop more advanced grammar skills over the next six months.
When should a child start learning verbs?
How many verbs does a toddler need to know? Opinions differ, but a two-year-old child should know at least a few simple verbs. Many two-year-olds know at least forty verbs. A two-year-old child who knows only three or four verbs is already far behind his peers in development, but this will not be a cause for concern if he learns several verbs every month for the next six months.
However, two-year-olds who do not know any verbs and do not even begin to learn them may encounter problems associated with delayed speech development. Such children cannot form sentences, since it is impossible to construct a sentence without a verb. If there are other factors that can lead to delayed language development, it may be worth contacting a speech therapist who can determine if a child needs help building their vocabulary.
How to help your child learn new verbs
Make and regularly update a list of verbs that your child understands and uses. In order for a child to use a verb, he must understand its meaning. Knowing which verbs your child already understands, you can repeat them regularly to help your child learn to pronounce them. And by keeping a record of already learned verbs, you will be sure that the child is not behind the schedule and learns a lot of verbs every month.
Consider your child's best interests. Think of your child's toys, food, and other hobbies and think of the verbs associated with those hobbies. For example, if your child loves to swim, teach him verbs like “pour”, “wash”, “splash” and repeat them with him every time he bathes. If your child loves to play with cars, teach him to say "push", "crash", or "drive" when you play with cars together.
Visually show what each verb means. Verbs are action words, so if possible, try to show the verb as an action by using it in a simple sentence. For example, while learning the word "push", push the car and say "I'm pushing the car." This will help the child understand and remember the new word.
Repetition is the mother of learning. The child will need to hear the word many times before he starts using it himself. When playing with your child, try to use the word you are learning many times. Repeat this word every day, for several weeks, in different situations. For example, you can start learning the word "pour" while bathing a child in the bath, and then show him that the same verb can also be used during meals, pouring milk into a glass. Thus, the child will hear the verb regularly and many times and associate it with different situations.
In order to speak, a child must learn many different types of words.
Verbs are especially important because they help the child describe situations in sentences.
Using the helpful tips above, you can help your child learn verbs and pave the way for the development of their speech skills.
The child is already 4 years old, but still no speech? He needs classes in the neurological online FAST FORWORD method!
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How to determine the perfect and imperfect form of a verb?
Free Introductory Russian Lesson
Harry Potter's girlfriend used the time-wheel to be in two places at the same time. Different types of verbs will help to describe the actions of Miss Granger. There are only two of them: perfect and imperfect. Let's talk about them in more detail.
First, let's remember what a verb is.
The verb is a part of speech that designates an action or state as a process and expresses this meaning using the categories of aspect, voice, mood, tense and person.
Verbs answer questions: what to do? what to do? what have you been doing? What did you do? what do they do? what will do?
Examples of verbs:
The form in Russian is a constant grammatical feature of verbs, which is possessed by conjugated verbs, infinitives, gerunds and participles. It shows how some action of the verb proceeds in time:
completed and one-time (read, passed)
unfinished and repeatable (lives, does).
What are the types of verbs in Russian:
Now we will learn what the perfect and imperfective form of the verb is and give examples of perfect and imperfective verbs.
Demo lesson in Russian
Take the test at the introductory lesson and find out what topics separate you from the "five" in Russian.
Perfective verbs in the indefinite form answer the question: what to do?
Perfective verbs have two tense forms:
In any tense form they call:
an action that is limited by some limit;
result, completion of an action or a separate stage.
Examples of perfective verbs:
what did you do? sat down - past tense, the action is completed and was done once, that is, it was not repeated;
what will they do? they will talk - the future simple tense, the action will be done and will not be repeated.
what to do? close, pay, perform;
what to do? identify, answer, simplify.
Perfective verbs can also denote actions that have already begun or are about to begin: I spoke, I will speak.
Imperfect verbs in the indefinite form answer the question: what to do?
Imperfective verbs have three tenses:
In any tense, they denote a repeated or continuing action, without indicating whether the action has been completed.
Examples of imperfective verbs:
what did you do? jumped - the past tense, the action could be repeated several times and it is not known whether the result was achieved;
what are they doing? they are watching - the present tense, the action continues and it is not known how long the action has been going on and how long it will continue;
what will I do? I will dance - the future is a difficult time, the action can be repeated and there are no signs that it will be completed.
what to do? talk, paint, run;
what to do? drag, go.
Imperfective verbs can also denote actions that have begun, are beginning or will begin: I watched, I look, I will light.
Now we know what questions are answered by perfective and imperfective verbs. And here is a cheat sheet to fix and learn the difference of two types:
Formation of verb types
Perfective verbs can be formed from imperfective verbs in different ways.
Methods of formation:
Adding a prefix: read - read, sit - sit out.
Dropping suffixes: give - give, save - save.
Replacement of suffixes: decide - decide, jump - jump.
Replacement of suffixes and alternation of letters in the root: forgive - forgive, wither - wither.
When forming imperfective verbs, the alternation of consonants and vowels is possible at the root: be late - be late, state - state, protect - protect.
Learn Russian at the Skysmart online school with attentive teachers and interesting examples from modern texts.
Determine the form of the verb
If you are in doubt how to understand what kind of verb you have: perfect or imperfect - use these methods:
How to determine the aspect of a verb
Now you can easily tell your classmates how to determine the form of a verb in Russian.
Examples of pairs of perfective and imperfective verbs
The aspectual pair are verbs that have a perfective and imperfective form.
Some verbs of the Russian language have the same lexical meaning, but differ in the grammatical meaning of the form. For example: what to do? decide what to do? decide.
Such aspectual pairs differ in the way of word formation:
Through the suffix: throw - throw, meet - meet, offend - offend, reach - achieve, decide - decide.
Through the prefix: cook - cook, call - name, work - process, speak - talk, read - finish reading.
The aspectual pairs of verbs can differ:
fall asleep - fall asleep, cut - cut.
what to do? catch - what to do? to catch;
put - put;
invest - invest;
take - take;
search - find.