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 Education Expert M.Ed., Education Administration, University of Georgia B.A., History, Armstrong State University Grace Fleming, M.Ed., is a senior academic advisor at Georgia Southern University, where she helps students improve their academic performance and develop good study skills. our editorial process Grace Fleming 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 Using the Past Participle in Italian I Like It! Using the Spanish Verb ‘Gustar’ Verbing: The Process of Converting Nouns Into Verbs A Guide to Asking Subject and Object Questions in English How Spanish Past Participles Can Be Verbs or Adjectives 4 Ways to Use the Passive Voice in Italian How Can a Bilingual Dictionary Help When Learn French? Great Verbs for Your Research Paper 27 Ways to Use the Verb Fare in Italian How to Use the Italian Verb Piacere Verb Conjugation Instructions for ESL Students How Is "Employer" (to Use) Conjugated in French? What Are Verbs of Being? What Are the Differences Between Auxiliary Verbs in Spanish and English? How Do You Edit an Essay? More Descriptive Words to Use Instead of "Said"