This article will focus on powerful verbs. For the other parts of speech, click here.
Verbs – What are they?
Verbs are the part of speech that show action or state of being. This includes words like ‘run’, ‘propose’, ‘was’, ‘drank’, and ‘been’. Verbs can show what the subject (or in some cases direct object) is, does, or feels. For example, ‘she is a runner’; ‘she ran the marathon’; ‘she felt exhausted’, etc.
When turned into verbals, verbs can function as nouns, adverbs, or adjectives. A gerund (pronounced jair-und) or gerund phrase functions as a noun but is or starts with a verb with the suffix ‘-ing’ at the end of it. Gerunds fill in the blank in ‘___ is (adjective like fun, slow, boring, etc.)’. For example: ‘Reading in the afternoon is a good practice’.
A participial phrase is a verbal phrase that functions as an adjective in a sentence. Also ending with the suffix ‘-ing’, participles can be distinguished from gerund by seeing if they are modifying a noun; they should be able to fill in the phrase ‘the ___ man’. For example, ‘The grinning trickster ran away’.
Functioning as a noun, adjective, or adverb, an infinitive phrase is the last of the verbal phrases. This verbal always starts with the word ‘to’ right before the verb. In this case, this verbal (like all adverbs) is movable within the sentence. For example: ‘To have good grammar, one must study the language first’ means the same as ‘One must study the language first to have good grammar’.
Weak verbs and their issues
Unlike powerful verbs, Verbs that are weaker don’t explain situations well and are inaccurate, leading to reader frustration. Many aggravating instructions and descriptions are guilty of using these words. For those of you who had the misfortune of running into these before, see if any on this list seem familiar:
Powerful Verbs List
To increase accuracy and precision of articulating information and data, use powerful verbs that help readers understand what is going on and keep them engaged.
Instead of ‘Cut’ use:
- Slice, dice, hash (or whatever the kind of cut it is)
Instead of ‘Bring’ use:
Instead of ‘Mix’ use:
- Fold (together)
Instead of ‘Put’ use:
- Estimate/reckon (instead of ‘I’d put the number around…’)
Instead of ‘Talk or said’ use:
Instead of ‘Eat’ use:
Instead of ‘Went/ or go’ use:
Instead of ‘Show’ use:
Instead of ‘Build’ use:
Instead of ‘Let’ use:
Instead of ‘Think’ use:
Instead of ‘Look’ use:
Instead of ‘Do’ use:
Verbs are the part of speech that show action or state of being. When turned into verbals, verbs can function as nouns, adverbs, or adjectives. Verbs that are weaker don’t explain situations well and are inaccurate, leading to reader frustration. To increase accuracy and precision of articulating information and data, use powerful verbs that help readers understand what is going on and keep them engaged.