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100 Cantonese Verbs Just for You!

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Verbs are essential in a language—they describe actions or talk about something that happens. 
The more Cantonese verbs you know, the easier it will be for you to master the Cantonese language as a whole. Can’t wait to learn the most common Cantonese verbs? Check out our short guide to verbs in Cantonese below, study our Cantonese verbs list, and let CantoneseClass101.com give you a helping hand!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Useful Verbs in Cantonese Table of Contents
  1. Cantonese Verbs Overview
  2. Action Verbs
  3. Helping Verbs
  4. Linking Verbs
  5. Conclusion: How CantoneseClass101.com Can Help You Learn More Cantonese

1. Cantonese Verbs Overview

a woman holding magnifying glasses

Unlike many other languages around the globe, Cantonese verbs by themselves indicate no tense. Generally, the timing of a particular event is expressed through the addition of time-establishing adverbs, though there are some situations when the timing is expressed largely through contextual clues and other indicators reliant on the interpretation of the meaning. By adding particles to the sentence, it can be turned into a question or more clearly demonstrate the mood, attitude, and intention of the speaker.

Note that there are written and spoken Cantonese verbs. We’ve used symbols to help you identify which ones are written (w), spoken (s), or applicable to both (ws).

2. Action Verbs

Top verbs
#MeaningChinese CharactersRomanizationExample
1go(ws)heoi3直去

zik6 heoi3

go straight ahead
2eat(s)sik6一家人食早餐。

jat1 gaa1 jan4 sik6 zou2 caan1

The family eats breakfast.
3(w)hek3一家人吃早餐。

jat1 gaa1 jan4 hek3 zou2 caan1

The family eats breakfast.
4drink(s)jam2飲樽裝飲品

jam2 zeon1 zon1 jam2 ban2

drink from a plastic bottle
5(w)hot3喝樽裝飲品

hot3 zeon1 zon1 jam2 ban2

drink from a plastic bottle
6walk(s)haan4女孩行近攝錄機。

neoi5 haai4 haan4 kan5 sip3 luk6 gei1

The girl walks towards the video camera.
7(w)zau2女孩走近攝錄機。

neoi5 haai4 zau2 gan6 sip3 luk6 gei1

The girl walks towards the video camera.
8sleep瞓覺 (s)fan3 gaau3BB喺氈上瞓覺。

bi4 bi1 hai2 zin1 soeng6 fan3 gaau3

The baby sleeps on the blanket.
9睡覺 (w)seoi6 gaau3嬰兒在氈上睡覺。

jing1 ji4 zoi6 zin1 soeng6 seoi6 gaau3

The baby sleeps on the blanket.
10understand(s)ming4我明。

ngo5 ming4

I understand.
11理解 (w)lei5 gaai2我理解。

ngo5 lei5 gaai2

I understand.
12ask(ws)man6大學生問教授問題。

daai6 hok6 sang1 man6 gaau3 sau6 man6 tai4

The university student asks the professor a question.
13run(ws)paau2我跑。

ngo5 paau2

I run.
14think(s)lam2女人諗答案。

neoi5 jan2 lam2 daap3 on3

The woman thinks about the answer.
15(w)soeng2女人想答案。

neoi5 jan2 soeng2 daap3 on3

The woman thinks about the answer.
16know認識 (ws)jing6 sik1認識自己

jing6 sik1 zi6 gei2

know yourself
17help(ws)bong1我幫媽媽洗碗。

ngo5 bong1 maa4 maa1 sai2 wun2

I help my mum wash the dishes.
18take(s)ling1啲人拎咗士多啤梨。

di1 jan4 ling1 zo2 si6 do1 be1 lei2

The people took the strawberries.
19(w)naa4人們拿了士多啤梨。

jan4 mun4 naa4 liu5 si6 do1 be1 lei2

The people took the strawberries.
20use(ws)jung6程式設計員用電腦。

cing4 sik1 cit3 gai3 jyun4 jung6 din6 nou5

The programmer uses the computer.
21work做嘢 (s)zou6 je5女人喺辦公室做緊嘢。

neoi5 jan2 hai2 baan6 gung1 sat1 zou6 gan2 je5

The woman is working at the office.
22工作 (w)gung1 zok3女人正在辦公室工作。

neoi5 jan2 zing3 zoi6 baan6 gung1 sat1 gung1 zok3

The woman is working at the office.
23give(s)bei2老豆畀硬幣個仔。

lou5 dau6 bei2 ngaang6 bai6 go3 zai2

The father gives coins to his son.
24(w)kap1父親給兒子硬幣。

fu6 can1 kap1 ji4 zi2 ngaang6 bai6

The father gives coins to his son.
25talk(s)gong2你講咩?

nei5 gong2 me1

What are you talking about?
26(w)syut3你說甚麼?

nei5 syut3 sam6 mo1

What are you talking about?
27begin開始 (ws)hoi1 ci2重新開始

cung4 san1 hoi1 ci2

begin again
28watch(s)tai2遊客睇日落。

jau4 haak3 tai2 jat6 lok6

The tourists watch the sunset.
29(w)hon3遊客看日落。

jau4 haak3 hon3 jat6 lok6

The tourists watch the sunset.
30leave離開 (ws)lei6 hoi1離開公司

lei6 hoi1 gung1 si1

leave a company
31become變為 (ws)bin3 wai4變為蝴蝶

bin3 wai4 wu4 dip2

become a butterfly
32hear(s)*

*same character but different pronunciation
teng1我聽到。

ngo5 teng1 dou2

I heard.
33(w)*

*same character but different pronunciation
ting3我聽見。

ngo5 ting3 gin3

I heard.
34wait(ws)dang2遊客等火車。

jau4 haak3 dang2 fo2 ce1

The traveler waits for the train.
35play(s)*

*same character but different pronunciation
waan2我要玩。

ngo5 jiu3 waan2

I need to play.
36(w)*

*same character but different pronunciation
wun6我要玩。

ngo5 jiu3 wun6

I need to play.
37call(ws)daa2打電話

daa2 din6 waa2

make a phone call
38remember記得 (ws)gei3 dak1我記得你。

ngo5 gei3 dak1 nei5

I remember you.
39believe相信 (ws)soeng1 seon3我相信你。

ngo5 soeng1 seon3 nei5

I believe you.
40like鍾意 (s)zung6 ji3我鍾意睇日落。

ngo5 zung1 ji3 tai2 jat6 lok6 

I like watching the sunset.
41喜歡 (w)hei2 fun1我喜歡看日落。

ngo5 hei2 fun1 hon3 jat6 lok6

I like watching the sunset.
42cancel取消 (ws)ceoi2 siu1取消會議

ceoi2 siu1 wui6 ji5

cancel the meeting
43arrive(ws)dou3到了公園

dou3 liu5 gung1 jyun2

arrive at the park
44die(s)sei2佢舊年因為意外死咗。

keoi5 gau6 nin2 jan1 wai6 ji3 ngoi6 sei2 zo2

He died in an accident last year.
45去世 (w)heoi3 sai3他去年在意外中去世。

taa1 heoi3 nin4 zoi6 ji3 ngoi6 zung1 heoi3 sai3

He died in an accident last year.
46rest休息 (ws)jau1 sik1我要休息。

ngo5 jiu3 jau1 sik1

I need to rest.
47cook(ws)zyu2廚房煮食

cyu4 fong2 zyu2 sik6

cook in a kitchen
48feel覺得 (ws)gok3 dak1男孩覺得難過。

naam4 haai4 gok3 dak1 naan4 gwo3

The boy is feeling sad.
49draw畫畫 (ws)waat6 waa2我要畫畫。

ngo5 jiu3 waat6 waa2

I need to draw.
50answer回答 (ws)wui4 daap3回答問題

wui4 daap3 man6 tai4

answer questions
51receive(ws)sau1男人收錢。

naam4 jan2 sau1 cin2

The man receives money.
52plan計劃 (ws)gai3 waak6計劃預算

gai3 waak6 jyu6 syun3

plan the budget
53explain解釋 (ws)gaai2 sik1教授解釋圖表。

gaau3 sau6 gaai2 sik1 tou4 biu2

The professor explains the diagram.
54jump(ws)tiu3能跳過

nang4 tiu3 gwo3

can jump over
55teach(ws)gaau3老師教英文。

lou5 si1 gaau3 jing1 man2

The teacher taught English.
56close(s)saan1大學生閂門。

daai6 hok6 saan1 saan1 mun4

The university student closes the door.
57(w)gwaan1大學生關門。

daai6 hok6 saan1 gwaan1 mun4

The university student closes the door.
58buy(ws)maai5情侶買衣服。

cing4 leoi5 maai5 ji1 fuk6

The couple buys clothes.
59read(ws)duk6讀雜誌

duk6 zaap6 zi3

read a magazine
60wake up(s)*

*same character but different pronunciation
seng2我醒啦。

ngo5 seng2 laa1

I woke up.
61(w)*

*same character but different pronunciation
sing2我醒來。

ngo5 sing2 loi4

I woke up.
62return(s)faan2我返屋企。

ngo5 faan2 uk1 kei2

I return home.
63(w)wui4我回家。

ngo5 wui4 gaa1

I return home.
64kick(ws)tek3踢波

tek3 bo1

kick the ball
65sell(ws)maai6賣電腦

maai6 din6 nou5

sell the computer
66invite邀請 (ws)jiu1 cing2我想邀請你。

ngo5 soeng2 jiu1 cing2 nei5

I want to invite you.
67write(ws)se2我寫。

ngo5 se2

I will write.
68study(ws)hok6我學廣東話。

ngo5 hok6 gwong2 dung1 waa2

I learn Cantonese.
69find(s)wan2我搵你。

ngo5 wan2 nei5

I will find you.
70(w)zaau2我找你。

ngo5 zaau2 nei5

I will find you.
71solve解決 (ws)gaai2 kyut3解決問題

gaai2 kyut3 man6 tai4

solve problems
72introduce介紹 (ws)gaai3 siu6介紹廣東話

gaai3 siu6 gwong2 dung1 waa2

introduce Cantonese
73share分享 (ws)fan1 hoeng2分享意見

fan1 hoeng2 ji3 gin3

share one’s view
74sit(s)*

*same character but different pronunciation
co5我坐。

ngo5 co5

I will sit.
75(w)*

*same character but different pronunciation
zo6我坐。

ngo5 zo6

I will sit.
76participate參加 (ws)caam1 gaa1參加比賽

caam1 gaa1 bei2 coi3

participate in a competition
77sing(ws)coeng3唱歌

coeng3 go1

sing a song
78smile(ws)siu3我笑緊。

ngo5 siu3 gan2

I am smiling.
79cry(s)haam3我喊緊。

ngo5 haam3 gan2

I am crying.
80(w)huk1我在哭。

ngo5 zoi6 huk1

I am crying.
81make(s)zing2我整鞋。

ngo5 zing2 haai4

I make shoes.
82製造 (w)zai3 zou6我製造鞋。

ngo5 zai3 zou6 haai4

I make shoes.
83lie(s)aak1我知道你呃我。

ngo5 zi1 dou3 nei5 aak1 ngo5

I know you lied to me.
84欺騙 (w)hei1 pin3我知道你欺騙我。

ngo5 zi1 dou3 nei5 hei1 pin3 ngo5

I know you lied to me.
85hate(ws)zang1我憎你。

ngo5 zang1 nei5

I hate you.
86afraid(ws)paa3我怕你。

ngo5 paa3 nei5

I am afraid of you.

3. Helping Verbs

More Essential Verbs
#MeaningChinese CharactersRomanizationRomanization
87have(ws)jau5我有三隻狗。

ngo5 jau5 saam1 zek3 gau2

I have three dogs.
88not have(s)mou5我冇錢。

ngo5 mou5 cin2

I don’t have money.
89沒有(w)mut6 jau5我沒有錢。

ngo5 mut6 jau5 cin2

I don’t have money.
90can(s)sik1我識彈琴。

ngo5 sik1 taan4 kam4

I can play the piano.
91need(ws)jiu3我要去夏威夷。

ngo5 jiu3 heoi3 haa6 wai1 ji4

I need to go to Hawaii.
92want(ws)haan4我想飲咖啡。

ngo5 soeng2 jam2 gaa3 fe1

I want to drink coffee.
93do(ws)zou6做功課 

zou6 gung1 fo3

do homework
94should應該 (ws)jing1 goi1我應該問問題。

ngo5 jing1 goi1 man6 man6 tai4

I should ask questions.
95willing to(s)hang2我肯講廣東話。

ngo5 hang2 gong2 gwong2 dung1 waa2

I am willing to speak Cantonese.
96願意 (w)jyun6 ji3我願意講廣東話。

ngo5 jyun6 ji3 gong2 gwong2 dung1 waa2

I am willing to speak Cantonese.

4. Linking Verbs

Negative verbs
#MeaningChinese CharactersRomanizationExample
97be(s)hai6我係Olivia。

ngo5 hai6 Olivia

I am Olivia.
98(w)si6我是Olivia。

ngo5 si6 Olivia

I am Olivia.
99not be唔係 (s)m4 hai6我唔係男人。

ngo5 m4 hai6 naam4 jan2

I’m not a guy.
100不是 (w)bat1 si6我不是男人。

ngo5 bat1 si6 naam4 jan2

I’m not a guy.

5. Conclusion: How CantoneseClass101.com Can Help You Learn More Cantonese

With CantoneseClass101.com, you can have your daily dose of Cantonese whenever and wherever you want, through mobile apps, desktop software, and our website. We offer entertaining, engaging, and effective lessons on various aspects of the Cantonese language and culture.

Until now, we’ve delivered more than 750,000,000 lessons to thousands of happy students from all around the globe. You can learn Cantonese with over 1060 audio and video lessons delivered by our knowledgeable and energetic hosts, detailed PDF lesson notes, an abundance of vocabulary learning tools, spaced repetition flashcards, and a lively community to discuss the lessons with fellow learners. What are you waiting for? Download our lessons, enjoy our audio and video files, and start learning now!

And keep in mind that if you prefer a one-on-one learning approach and want to further accelerate your Cantonese learning, you can take advantage of our MyTeacher program

Before you go, let us know in the comments if there’s a verb in Cantonese you still want to know, or if you’re still struggling with anything we covered in this article. We look forward to hearing from you!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Useful Verbs in Cantonese