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Verbs / Operators

Basic English is an auxiliary language created by Charles Kay Ogden. 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.

Basic English: A General Introduction with Rules and Grammar.
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'."

Empires of the Mind?
"... 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

Rules of Grammar
  7.   Operators and pronouns conjugate in full.

The ABC's, section A.I.a. lists 15 operators:

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."
Towards a World English   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: The first of these words, "be", comes into more statements than any other. It goes like this: Here are the sixteen words. They go like this :
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.
  be   		become
  cause    		make
  do     		have
  is/are able to ... [aux v pres]
  sleep *      	awake  [aj]
  bite *		have sex (with)
  cry out *  	cry *
  drink *      	jump *
  kick * 		kiss *
  laugh *         	run *
  smile *      	sneeze *
  swim * 		taste *
  touch *         	walk *

control     * 	let

give       		reward     *

doubt       * 	guide, lead  *
hate         * 	hope       *
love          *	act        *
regret      * 	look for   *
desire      *

talk about  *	be a sign of

measure     *

come       		come across
go         		go into
slip         *  	fly (move thru air)  *

start       *  	stop       *

blow        * 	burn        *
burst       * 	crush       *
fold         *
pull		push
shake       * 	wash        *


hear   *       	whistle    *

attack      *

attack      *	make
damage      * 	attempt    *
support     *
Starred (*) verb forms are, strictly speaking, used only as nouns:
instead of "I attempted to come", say, "I made an attempt to come."
Links : isl2a1 , isl2c1 , isl121 , isl124 , be1 , be2 , be3 , be4* , be23 , be26 , beas , begr , bewords, dictionary , ebe , isl111 , isl112 , isl113 , lbe1 , nearer , psyche35 , sbe110
be25, beweb, booksum1, ckobio, dictintro, ep2, isl132, isl211, isl2b1, isl530, islabc, meaning, ramble, sbetoc, wordthere, wordwheel
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About this Page: Verbs-- Basic English is a simplified version of the English language created by Charles Kay Ogden. A key to simplification is to limit the number of verbs to necessary and regular forms. The language is intended for quick learning and practical use in commerce and as a step into full English.
Last updated June 8, 2004 - add English Thru Pictures tables
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