Resources › For Students and Parents Powerful Verbs for Your Writing Inventory Your Own Verbs for Powerful Writing Share Flipboard Email Print emalbas/E+/Getty Images For Students and Parents Homework Help Study Methods Homework Tips Learning Styles & Skills Time Management Private School Test Prep College Admissions College Life Graduate School Business School Law School Distance Learning View More by Grace Fleming Grace Fleming has a master's degree in education and is an academic advisor and college enrollment counselor. She lectures and writes about study skills. Updated February 02, 2019 Verbs are action words, right? We all remember that from elementary school. Verbs describe the action that is taking place. But verbs don't have to surrender all the fun and emotional power to adjectives—the words that traditionally paint the pictures in our heads. As a matter of fact, the most powerful writers use verbs quite effectively to illustrate their writing. Review Your Verbs After you complete a draft of your paper, it might be a good idea to conduct a verb inventory. Just read over your draft and underline all your verbs. Do you see repetition? Are you bored? Verbs like said, walked, looked, and thought can be replaced with more descriptive words like mumbled, sauntered, eyeballed, and pondered. Here are a few more suggestions: Looked: gazedstaredsevered (with his eyes) Walked: strolledspideredsashayedskulked Said: suggestedutteredbellowedargued Get Creative With Verbs One way to make verbs more interesting is to invent them from other word forms. Sounds illegal, doesn't it? But it's not like you're printing dollar bills in your basement. One type of noun that works well is animal types, since some animals have very strong characteristics. Skunks, for instance, have a reputation for being stinky or spoiling the air. Do the following statements evoke powerful images? He skunked the party up with his cologne...She snaked the hallways...She wormed her way out of the class... Jobs as Verbs Another noun type that works well is names of occupations. We often use doctor as a verb, as in the following sentence: She doctored the paper until it was perfect. Doesn't that evoke the image of a woman hovering over a piece of writing, tools in hand, crafting and nurturing the paper to perfection? What other occupations could paint such a clear scene? How about police? Mrs. Parsons policed her garden until it was completely pest free. You can get very creative with unusual verbs: bubble-wrapped the insult (to suggest that the insult was surrounded by "softer" words)tabled your idea But you do have to use colorful verbs tactfully. Use good judgment and don't overdo the creativity. Language is like clothing--too much color can be just plain odd. List of Power Verbs abscond accelerate adapt advocate afflict agonize analyze anticipate ascertain aspire assess assimilate barter better bypass calculate challenge champion clarify coordinate define delegate describe detail devalue dispense divert duplicate examine execute exhibit expedite facilitate forge formulate generalize generate halt halve hypothesize illustrate implement inquire labor launch lull manipulate model monitor observe observe orchestrate position procure qualify reconcile refrain regulate restructure revisit secure simplify solve surpass table tabulate taint thwart trigger undervalue undulate utilize value verify verify vex Continue Reading 7 Ways To Use the Spanish "No" 23 Confusing Spanish Words and How To Use Them Correctly Jive, Jibe, and Gibe: How to Choose the Right Word Verbing: The Process of Converting Nouns Into Verbs Practice Identifying Subjects and Verbs Definition and Examples of Perception Verbs in English How and When to Use the French Present Participle Visual Learners Can Absorb Information Easily With 6 Simple Tips Make Use of These Tips for Using Adjectives Correctly in English Should You Feel Insulted to Be Called a Gringo or Gringa? 100 Key Terms Used in the Study of English Grammar Prepositional Verbs in English 9 Reasons for Using the Familiar and Formal Pronouns of ‘You’ in Spanish Three Ways of Using the Spanish Word ‘Cuando’ Great Verbs for Your Research Paper What Are Linking Verbs in English?