Most Common Vietnamese Verbs That Every Beginner Must Know

Acquiring vocabulary is a high priority for any language learner. The best place to start is to learn the most common words used by native speakers, especially Vietnamese VERBS.

Verbs are words that we used to talk about actions. They are a very important part to construct complete sentences, even simple ones.

The good news is, unlike many other languages, Vietnamese verbs are not conjugated. That means the verb forms stay the same regardless of the pronouns and tenses. For instance:

  • I eat → Mình ăn
  • He eats → Ảnh ăn
  • She ate → Cổ (đã) ăn

This lesson will introduce you to the most common and basic Vietnamese verbs, with example sentences that you can use in daily conversation.

This list will be updated over time with more verbs and example sentences. So come back every few weeks and check them out!

Skip sentences. Jump to the verbs list ⬇︎

Meaning: to be

The word “là” is equivalent to “to be” verb in English, which also includes am/is/are/was/were.

But unlike English, Vietnamese “là” is mostly used to introduce something or someone's identity or profession. For example:

  • Ảnh là giáo viên
    He is a teacher

where "giáo viên" means teacher

  • Họ là người Mỹ
    They are Americans

where "người Mỹ" refers to American person or American people

When you want to describe someone or something like “she’s beautiful” or “phở is tasty”, you don’t have to use the word "là". For instance:

Cổ đẹp
She’s beautiful

Phở ngon
Phở is tasty

Meaning: to be in/at a location, or to stay

is used when talking about being in/at a location. For example:

  • Mình ở Việt Nam
    I’m in Vietnam / I stay in Vietnam

  • Mình ở nhà
    I’m at home / I stay (at) home

where "nhà" means home or house

Meaning: to have

You probably know that The word “Có” also means “yes”, but as a verb, it means “to have”. For example:

  • Mình có hai anh chị em
    I have 2 siblings

where “anh chị em” means siblings or brothers and sisters


Meaning: to like

  • Ảnh không thích đồ ngọt
    He doesn’t like sweet stuff

where “ngọt” means sweet, and “đồ” refers to stuff in general


Meaning: to do, to make, or to work

The word “làm” has many meanings, but I’ll show you the most common ones. The first meaning of “làm” is “To do”

Bạn đang làm gì?
“What are you doing?” (literally “You are doing what?”)

The second meaning of “làm” is To make

  • Cổ làm đồ ăn cho ảnh
    She makes food for him

where “đồ ăn” means food, “cho ảnh” means for him

Another meaning of “làm” is to work. The word to work in Vietnamese, can either be “làm” or “làm việc". For example:

  • Bạn làm ở đâu?
    Where do you work? (literally “You work where?”)

  • Mình làm việc với John
    I work with John

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Meaning: to know

  • Mình không biết chỗ đó
    I don’t know that place

where “chỗ” refers to a place in general, “chỗ đó” means that place


Meaning: to speak or to say

  • Mình biết nói một chút tiếng Việt
    I know how to speak a little Vietnamese

where “tiếng Việt” refers to the Vietnamese language, and “một chút” means a little, a bit


Meaning: to hear, to listen

  • Mình không nghe rõ
    I didn’t hear clearly

where “rõ” means clear or clearly


Meaning: to understand

  • Mình không hiểu bạn nói gì
    I don’t understand what you say (literally "I don't understand you say what")


Meaning: to go

  • Tuần sau mình đi Sapa
    Next week I’ll go to Sapa

where "tuần" means week, “tuần sau” means next week

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Meaning: to eat

  • Mình không ăn được cay
    I can’t eat spicy things

Note: The word “được” is used to talk about being able to do something. So “ăn được” means can eat or able to eat, “không ăn được” means cannot eat or not able to eat

The word “cay” refers to something spicy.


Meaning: to drink

  • Ảnh không thích uống rượu
    He doesn’t like drinking wine


Meaning: to take or to get

  • Mình lấy cái này I’ll to take this one / I’ll get this one

where “cái này” means this one

So the verb “Lấy” means “to take”, then we have “lấy cho”, which translates to “to take for someone something” or “to get someone something”. For example:

  • Lấy cho mình cái ghế
    Get me a chair


Meaning: to think

  • Mình nghĩ trời sắp mưa
    I think it’s about to rain

The word “mưa” refers to the “rain” or “to rain”. The phrase “trời mưa” means “it rains”, so “trời sắp mưa” would be “it’s about to rain”.

“Sắp” refers to something that is about to happen.


Meaning: to come to, to arrive

The words “Tới” and “đến” have the same meanings, and they can be used interchangeably.

  • Ảnh sẽ tới Việt Nam vào tháng một
    He will come to Vietnam in January

where “tháng một” means “January”, and “vào tháng một” means “in January”.

The word “sẽ” is a tense marker that we place before a verb, to describe a future action if the context is not clear enough.

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Common Vietnamese Verbs List

  1. - to be (am/is/are/was)
  2. - to be in/at a location; to stay
  3. - to have
  4. THÍCH - to like
  5. LÀM - to do, to make, to work
  6. BIẾT - to know
  7. NÓI - to speak, to say
  8. NGHE - to listen, to hear
  9. HIỂU - to understand
  10. ĐI - to go
  11. ĂN - to eat
  12. UỐNG - to drink
  13. LẤY - to take, to get / LẤY CHO - to get someone something
  14. NGHĨ - to think
  15. TỚI / ĐẾN - to come to, to arrive to

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