Learn to Write English Clearly and Correctly

 Set 5 - Lesson 28

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Lesson 28: Common Actions

One of the laws of science says, "For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction."  This is usually true in language, also.  There are many pairs of action words - verbs - that name actions that are opposite each other.  Other pairs of words name actions that are almost the same, but not quite.  Words can have many shades of meaning that determine which ones can replace which others and which ones are truly opposite.  This lesson will present many such pairs and will use each of the words in one or more sentences to help you get a feel for the correct usage of each word.

buy 1. I buy gas for my car every week.

2. Mrs. Garcia buys groceries at the supermarket.

3. Tom bought a used car yesterday.

sell 1. I sell English lessons on my website.

2. Mr. Hong sells fish in his store.

3. Mahmoud sold his car to Tom yesterday.

I

run 1. I run to school when the weather is nice.

2. Marika runs with me sometimes.

3. John ran home last Monday.

walk 1. Many old people walk in the park.

2. Mr. Smith walks around the park every day.

3. My dog walked all the way to school this morning.

I

stand 1. The students stand by their desks each morning.

2. Miss Williams stands in front of her desk.

3. The old man stood at the bus stop last night.

(Stand means to be in an upright position with one's weight supported on one's feet and being relatively motionless.)

sit 1. We sit in the back of the bus.

2. The driver sits in the front of the bus.

3. I sat beside Nadia yesterday during the play.

(Sit means to have one's weight supported by one's buttocks on a horizontal surface, with the torso vertical, the upper legs horizontal, and the lower legs more or less vertical with the feet resting on the floor or ground, relatively motionless. There are, of course, many variations to this position.)

I

stand up 1. Everyone in the courtroom must stand up when the judge enters the room.

2. George stands up to give his book report.

3. When the teacher called her name, Mary stood up.

(Stand up has the sense of being in motion, changing from a sitting position to a standing position.)

sit down 1. "Sit down before I knock you down!" shouted the bully.

2. The old hiker sits down on a rock when he gets tired.

3. Mabel sat down on the back seat of the bus.

(Sit down also has the sense of changing from a standing position to a sitting position.)

m

sleep 1. I like to sleep in my own bed.

2. The cat sleeps under the bed.

3. Fred slept during the lecture.

wake 1. Most farmers wake before dawn.

2. Gloria wakes as soon as the alarm goes off.

3. Mr. Jones woke when he smelled smoke.

M

 

eat 1. Do you eat in the cafeteria every day?

2. Sally eats too many potato chips.

3. I ate roast beef and mashed potatoes for supper last night.

chew 1. You should chew your food well before swallowing it.

2. Tom's dog chews the telephone wire when nobody is home.

3. Walter chewed bubble gum in class last week.

swallow 1. It is difficult for some people to swallow a large pill.

2. The bird swallows its food without chewing it.

3. The large snake swallowed a rat for breakfast this morning.

M

speak 1. Children often speak before they think.

2. The president speaks to the press every week.

3. My mother spoke to her minister this morning.

talk 1. Young girls often talk to each other in class.

2. Britta talks all the time.

3. Mr. Taylor talked for two hours on the telephone last night.

say 1. Some experts say the earth is getting warmer.

2. Philip says the experts are crazy.

3. My teacher said the temperature is always changing.

M

drink 1. I drink a lot of iced tea.

2. My friend drinks much coffee.

3. My father drank a lot of beer.

 

look 1. I look carefully at all the road signs when I drive.

2. Janice looks in the mirror all the time.

3. Aisha looked for the missing puppy last night.

see 1. Can you see the stars from your bedroom window?

2. Tommy sees his mother when he comes to town.

3. I saw a flock of wild turkeys last week.

watch 1. Many children watch cartoons Saturday mornings.

2. Tony watches football games on television.

3. Ruth watched five soap operas yesterday.

M

listen (to) 1. Many young people listen to rap music, but I can't understand why.

2. Gino often listens to classical music.

3. I listened to the president's speech last night.

hear 1. We hear many warnings about smoking cigarettes.

2. The store manager hears many complaints each day.

3. Nora heard her favorite song on the radio yesterday.

M

write 1. Many students write notes in class.

2. Sergeant Harris writes to his wife every day.

3. I wrote a story for my grandchildren.

draw 1. Most children draw stick figures.

2. My son draws pictures of dragons.

3. Tyler drew pictures of cartoon characters last year.

sign 1. You must sign your name on a check.

2. Bruce signs autographs everywhere he goes.

3. John Hancock signed the Declaration of Independence.

M

go 1. The children go to school every day.

2. Harvey goes to work at midnight.

3. I went to Florida last month.

come 1. My children come to visit each summer.

2. The mailman comes to our house each morning.

3. My friend came to my house last evening.

M

want 1. I want a new job.

2. Robert wants to retire soon.

3. Billy wanted a CD player for Christmas, but he was disappointed.

have 1. The policemen have new patrol cars.

2. Officer Stein has a motorcycle.

3. I had steak for supper.

M

hit 1. The golfers hit many balls for practice.

2. John hits the tennis ball against the wall for practice.

3. Mrs. Garner hit her head against the door frame yesterday.

kick 1. I usually kick the wall to shake the snow from my boots.

2. Henry kicks many goals for his soccer team.

3. The angry boy kicked his bedroom door last night.

 

 

 

push 1. Please push the button to ring the doorbell.

2. Angela pushes her bicycle up the hill.

3. The bully pushed Anna into the swimming pool yesterday.

pull 1. The horses pull the cart to town each Saturday.

2. The magician pulls a rabbit out of his hat as his first trick.

3. The strongman in the circus pulled two cars with a rope.

M

open 1. I always open doors for women.

2. Marcus opens his book for English class.

3. The little boy opened his mouth for the dentist.

close 1. The students must close their books before taking the test.

2. Michael always closes the bathroom door.

3. The woman closed the refrigerator door after putting the milk in.

M

put 1. We put our coats on the hooks every day.

2. The rude man puts his boots on the table every night.

3. I put my dirty dishes in the sink last night.

take 1. I take a bus to work most days.

2. Sam takes his lunch to school in a paper bag.

3. Nicholas took his girlfriend to the concert last weekend.

M

 

enter 1. Customers usually enter the store by the front door.

2. Ellen enters her house by the back door.

3. I filled out the form and entered the contest.

leave 1. The janitors are the last ones to leave the building.

2. Mr. Murphy leaves work every day at 5 o'clock.

3. Mary left a tip on the restaurant table.

M

order 1. I order something different every time I eat out.

2. The boss always orders his men to work faster.

3. Mr. Sanchez ordered his wife to cook supper last night.

demand 1. Some parents demand instant obedience from their children.

2. The law demands that we pay taxes.

3. Professor Archer demanded that the class pay attention.

request 1. Most charities request donations from the public.

2. The invitation requests our presence at the party.

3. The student requested permission to go to the bathroom.

M

ask 1. Some parents ask their children to clean their rooms.

2. The bum always asks pedestrians for their spare change.

3. Otto asked Greta to go out with him.

answer 1. People who answer every question may go home.

2. Caroline always answers the telephone.

3. Paul answered the letter as soon as he read it.

M

This is a list of the action words (verbs) used in this lesson:

buy - sell ; run - walk ; stand - sit ; sleep - wake ; eat - chew - swallow ; speak - talk - say ; drink ; look - see - watch ; listen - hear ; write - draw - sign ; go - come ; want - have ; hit - kick ; push - pull ; open - close ; put - take ; enter - leave ; order - demand - request ; ask - answer.

 

 

Exercise:   Circle the word in parentheses ( ) in the sentences below that best completes the sentence.  Use the example sentences above as a guide to the correct uses of the words.

1. The little girl (run, runs, ran ) home from school last Friday.

2. The owner of the drugstores ( buy, buys, bought ) suntan lotion from a salesman who came to his office.

3. It is important that you ( say, talk, speak, spoke, said ) clearly when you answer the telephone at work.

4. Most employers ( demand, demands, ordered, ask ) firmly that their workers arrive at work on time.

5. For some reason, Mr. Smith ( wake, wakes, woke ) this morning before the alarm rang.

6. In most buildings, you must ( push, pull, pulled, pushed, pulls ) the door to enter the building and ( push, pull, pulled, pushed, pulls ) the door to ( leave, left, leaves ) the building.

7. Most of my friends (watch, watches ) football games on television in the Fall.

8. Before the new shopping mall (come, came, comes ) to town, people had to ( go, went, goes ) many miles to do their shopping.

9. Everyone in the class (sit, sits, sat ) quietly whenever the principal ( come, comes, came ) into the room.

10. The three men (look, looks, looked ) carefully for the trap, but they ( see, sees, saw ) nothing strange.

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