LearnSigns 16: Basic Verbs


Share this Podcast



MyCast Subscription


David Peach


Description: Helping you learn American Sign Language in simple easy lessons.

Now Playing

LearnSigns 16: Basic Verbs

Play Download media

Along with the scattered verbs you have learned in previous lessons, here is a lesson with some of the more common verbs. As you will learn, many verbs can be guessed at by doing the action that accompanies the verb. This won’t work in all cases, but many times it does. And if the word you are mimicking isn’t exactly the right sign, it may be close enough for your friends to guess what you are trying to communicate.

Words learned in this lesson:

  • Speak or Talk
  • Tell or Say
  • Hear or Listen
  • See
  • Look
  • Eat
  • Drink
  • Smell
  • Walk
  • Sit
  • Stand
  • Fall
  • Run
  • Play
  • Silly
  • Like
  • Want

If you need the captions for the video be sure to click the [CC] button on the video player.

View the episode transcript.

Hello! Welcome again to LearnSigns.com lesson number 16. Sixteen. You can do 16 like this also. You can do 10-6, or rub the 6 with your thumb. 16. Just touching it once is the number 6. Remember you have 6, 7, 8, 9, 10. This is rub it for 16, 17, 18, 19 and 20. Or my preference is to do 16 by doing 10-6, 10-7, 10-8, 10-9 and 20.

This is lesson I am going to talk about basic verbs. Verbs. And sometimes you will see the sign VERB like that. VERB. VERBS.

SPEAK. This is to SPEAK or to TALK. You can use it for SPEAK or TALK. Or you can use SAY or to TELL. To SAY. This can also be TALK. SPEAK or TALK and then SAY or TELL. If you want to make some kind of distinction between those.


HEAR – And this is like you’ve got the sound coming in. You are HEARING. LISTEN also. LISTEN or HEAR.

There are a couple of different ways to do many of these signs, but the nice thing about VERBS is that many times what you would consider to be the natural action is a perfectly fine sign to use. So HEAR or LISTEN.


SEE – This is your 2 fingers–your eyes–of your V-hand and you are going to casually lay it out. SEE. This is something that does not require any effort. SEE.

Now, LOOK you will take and touch right up here with either finger and then you are going to turn it out. And this is more like you take notice of something. It is more of an active thing. To LOOK. Again, that is the distinction between the two, but one is an English word. The other one is an English word. Both of them when you sign them can be signed interchangeably because it is not tied necessarily to the English. However, there is the visual distinction that to SEE is more casual. Oh, I saw it happen yesterday. But to LOOK at is more active. You see how the hand makes more of an active–I’m putting my attention on it. To LOOK.


EAT – You’ve seen this when we did HOME. EAT. Just take all your fingers together and then you stick the food in your mouth. EAT.


DRINK – Now this is DRINK like you are holding a cup. Then you turn it up and take a drink like water. Now to DRINK alcoholic type drinks you do it with the Y. The Y makes the distinction. An alcoholic type beverage and then just any other beverage. DRINK.

SMELL – Now this is SMELL as in to use your nose to sniff something. SMELL. If something STINKS, something SMELLS then you do STINK. SMELL or STINK. But this is the verb to SMELL and you just take like your wafting the rose SMELL right up to your nose. SMELL. And something can SMELL good or it can SMELL awful. SMELL. That would come to the idea of STINK it would be more of an adjective. It is telling you how it smells as opposed to the verb of [sniff sniff sniff] SMELLING something.


WALK – It is kind of odd. Do it with your 3 fingers like duck feet. And you are going to WALK. You will also see it done with the whole hand. But most of the time you will see it with the three fingers. To WALK. Back and forth. WALK.

SIT – We talked about this in the last lesson when we talked about CHAIR. SIT. SIT, you just SIT down. Take the little fingers, the little legs there and you are going to sit on the chair.


STAND — STAND. This is the person. This is a generic sign for a two-legged thing, in this case a person, and he is going to STAND. STAND. If you were sitting and you stand up you kinda do the motion up like that. STAND.


FALL – The person is STANDING and he FELL down. FALL.


RUN – Now there’s–this is the text-book sign for RUN. You take your Ls, both your Ls and you are going to lock the barrel of 1 L onto the trigger of the other L. And you will move them forward. Wiggle all four fingers and move them forward. RUN. Or you could do RUN. Like you are running. RUN


PLAY – This is the Ys and you are going to shake them. This is over to the side. PLAY. This is the word SILLY. SILLY. And this is PLAY. PLAY is with your hands to the … you can do PLAY with 1 hand, though most of the time you see it with 2. But it needs to be to the side. Not right in front of the face. OK? Because that is SILLY and this is PLAY.

LIKE – We’ve talked about LIKE before. You are going to 5-8. You are going to start here at your chest and you will pull your heart’s string. LIKE. To pull the heart’s string. LIKE.


WANT – I believe we have covered this before too. You take your 5-hands and you are going to turn them palms up and then you pull back towards you into the claw. WANT.

OK? Basic VERBS again.




SEE – This is casual and then LOOK is more active.


EAT – Put the food in your mouth. EAT.

DRINK – A normal beverage.


WALK – With either the 3s or the whole hand. WALK.





PLAY – And though this isn’t a verb, SILLY.

LIKE – Now LIKE is to enjoy something. That kind of LIKE. It’s not, this book looks LIKE that book. Not that kind of LIKE. It is not a comparison word. This is LIKE as in to enjoy something. LIKE.

WANT – It is the palms up with open 5-hands and then you come back to the claws. WANT

I want to welcome the many YouTube…or the iTunes subscribers. I just recently got the podcast listed in iTunes and several people have subscribed to the podcast through iTunes. I appreciate that. If you are subscribing through iTunes or some other podcast directory that allows you to leave comments, I would appreciate you rating the show and leaving comments. Tell other people what your thoughts are about LearnSigns.com. Also you can go to LearnSigns.com/16 and you can put comments right at the bottom of the video. And also the videos are available at YouTube. So any of those places that allows you to leave comments that will help other people who are curious about the podcast. They can let others know what it is about and how it works. You can perform a service for them as well.

Thank you for watching. Again this is LearnSigns.com/16. Episode 16.

Subscribe & Follow