The number of verbs is limited. The language is intended for quick learning and immediate practical use in commerce and as a step into full English. The subject of verbs in Basic English is often asked. Here is a brief summary of what Ogden said on the subject and the list of verbs organized as the Universal Language Dictionary project saw them.
Ogden states his logic on verbs: "Too much attention is given to fixed forms of words, certainly the dead weight of unnecessary words, chiefly 'verbs' whose behavior is not regular." "But the chief reason why it is possible to do so much with the limited word-list is because Basic has been able so completely to do without 'verbs'."
"... some months ago I persuaded the Ministers to study and report upon Basic English. Here you have a plan. There are others but here you have a very carefully wrought plan for an international language capable of a very wide transaction for practical business and interchange of ideas. The whole of it is composed of about 650 nouns and 200 verbs or other parts of speech no more indeed than can be written on one side of a single sheet of paper." -- 5 September 1943 Winston Churchill
7. Operators and pronouns conjugate in full.
be become cause make do have
The ABC's, lists 15 operators:
be , have , come - go , put - take , give - get , make , keep , let , do , say , see , send , cause and because are occasionally used as operators;seem was later added.
And 60 other verb forms are, strictly speaking, used only as nouns: instead of "I attempted to come", say, "I made an attempt to come."
act , attack , attempt , awake , base , be a sign of , bite , blow , burn , burst , control , cook , cry out , crush , cry , damage , desire , doubt , drink , fly , fold , give , go , go into , guide , hate , have sex , hear , hope , jump , kick , kiss , laugh , lead , let , love , look for , measure , pull , push , regret , reward , roll , run , see, shake , sleep , slip , smile , sneeze , start , station , stop , support , swim , talk about , taste , touch , walk , wash , whistle.What Ogden did was this : he selected a minimal set of verbs, come, get, give, go, keep, let, make, put, seem, take; be, do, have; say, see, send; may, will, which could -- in conjunction with other words in Basic -- take the place of all the other verbs in the language.
English Through Pictures, Book II
Every statement or questions in this book has one or more of these sixteen words in it:
be have do seem come go put take give get keep let make send see say
The first of these words, "be", comes into more statements than any other. It goes like this:
|He She | It||was||is||will be|
|We You | They||were||are||will be|
Here are the sixteen words. They go like this :
|I We You They|
|He She It|
The Universal Language Dictionary project had a useful arrangement of the rest of the verbs. These add color and complexity, if desired, that allow Basic English seem what we consider normal English with a limited number of words.
is/are able to ... [aux v pres]
sleep* awake [aj]
bite* have sex (with)
cry out* cry*
doubt* guide, lead*
regret* look for*
talk about* be a sign of
come come across
go go into
slip* fly (move thru air)*
Starred (*) verb forms are, strictly speaking, used only as nouns : instead of "I attempted to come", say, "I made an attempt to come." The Jingulu language (Aborigine) is said to have only three verbs and all other actions are made from a verb and a noun. To sleep is "do a sleep." The Basic person will recognize this technique. What are the three verbs? Two sources have been found which differ a bit: Wiki says do, make, run. While "The Story of Human Language" says : do, go, come. Because do and make are similar, and go and come are opposites with the idea of move, which is similar to run, one may suspect the minimum number of verbs could be reduced to two -- with senses of create and move.