Verbs, a part of speech, refer to

  • words that show
    • actions (Action Verbs)
    • feelings, states of being (Nonactive (aka Inactive) Verbs).

Action Verbs

Action verbs are words that denote specific actions in a sentence.

Because actions tend to be concrete and sensory, sentences that employ action verbs tend to be more accessible, readable, understandable than sentences that employ nonactive (aka Inactive) verbs

Nonactive (aka Inactive) Verbs

Nonaction verbs

Key Concepts: Coordination & Subordination; Organizational Schema; Sentences; Writer-Based vs. Reader-Based Prose;


Why Do Verbs Matter?

The use of action verbs becomes essential when you’re tasked with representing a large amount of information with few words, such as in a resume or cover letter.

Examples: Action Verbs

Using action verbs is easy once you get used to writing with them. Search your document for forms of the verbs to be, to have, and to do. Notice that these kinds of verbs generally don’t generate the types of clear pictures that action verb convey. Here is a list of action verbs for your consideration:

Management/Leadership Skillsadministered, analyzed, appointed, approved, assigned, attained, authorized, chaired, considered, consolidated, contracted, controlled, converted, coordinated, decided, delegated, developed, directed, eliminated, emphasized, enforced, enhanced, established, executed, generated, handled, headed, hired, hosted, improved, incorporated, increased, initiated, inspected, instituted, led, managed, merged, motivated, organized, originated, overhauled, oversaw, planned, presided, prioritized, produced, recommended, reorganized, replaced, restored, reviewed, scheduled, streamlined, strengthened, supervised, terminated
Communication/People Skills
addressed, advertised, arbitrated, arranged, articulated, authored, clarified, collaborated, communicated, composed, condensed, conferred, consulted, contacted, conveyed, convinced, corresponded, debated, defined, described, developed, directed, discussed, drafted, edited, elicited, enlisted, explained, expressed, formulated, furnished, incorporated, influenced, interacted, interpreted, interviewed, involved, joined, judged, lectured, listened, marketed, mediated, moderated, negotiated, observed, outlined, participated, persuaded, presented, promoted, proposed, publicized, reconciled, recruited, referred, reinforced, reported, resolved, responded, solicited, specified, spoke, suggested, summarized, synthesized, translated, wrote
Research Skillsanalyzed, clarified, collected, compared, conducted, critiqued, detected, determined, diagnosed, evaluated, examined, experimented, explored, extracted, formulated, gathered, identified, inspected, interpreted, interviewed, invented, investigated, located, measured, organized, researched, searched, solved, summarized, surveyed, systematized, tested
Technical Skillsadapted, assembled, built, calculated, computed, conserved, constructed, converted, debugged, designed, determined, developed, engineered, fabricated, fortified, installed, maintained, operated, overhauled, printed, programmed, rectified, regulated, remodeled, repaired, replaced, restored, solved, specialized, standardized, studied, upgraded, utilized
Teaching Skillsadapted, advised, clarified, coached, communicated, conducted, coordinated, critiqued, developed, enabled, encouraged, evaluated, explained, facilitated, focused, guided, individualized, informed, instilled, instructed, motivated, persuaded, simulated, stimulated, taught, tested, trained, transmitted, tutored
Financial/Data Skillsadministered, adjusted, allocated, analyzed, appraised, assessed, audited, balanced, calculated, computed, conserved, corrected, determined, developed, estimated, forecasted, managed, marketed, measured, planned, programmed, projected, reconciled, reduced, researched, retrieved
Creative Skillsacted, adapted, began, combined, conceptualized, condensed, created, customized, designed, developed, directed, displayed, drew, entertained, established, fashioned, formulated, founded, illustrated, initiated, instituted, integrated, introduced, invented, modeled, modified, originated, performed, photographed, planned, revised, revitalized, shaped, solved
Helping Skillsadapted, advocated, aided, answered, arranged, assessed, assisted, clarified, coached, collaborated, contributed, cooperated, counseled, demonstrated, diagnosed, educated, encouraged, ensured, expedited, facilitated, familiarize, furthered, guided, helped, insured, intervened, motivated, provided, referred, rehabilitated, presented, resolved, simplified, supplied, supported, volunteered
Organization/Detail Skillsapproved, arranged, cataloged, categorized, charted, classified, coded, collected, compiled, corresponded, distributed, executed, filed, generated, implemented, incorporated, inspected, logged, maintained, monitored, obtained, operated, ordered, organized, prepared, processed, provided, purchased, recorded, registered, reserved, responded, reviewed, routed, scheduled, screened, submitted, supplied, standardized, systematized, updated, validated, verified
More Verbs for Accomplishmentsachieved, completed, expanded, exceeded, improved, pioneered, reduced (losses), resolved (issues), restored, spearheaded, succeeded, surpassed, transformed, won

Authors use different types of verbs in different contexts. As always, consider your purpose and audience when crafting the message you are writing.

Why is Grammar Important? NCTE Position Statement (National Council of Teachers of English. 7/1/2002.