Humanities › English How to Use Verbs Effectively in Your Research Paper Share Flipboard Email Print Westend61 / Getty Images English Writing Writing Research Papers Writing Essays Journalism English Grammar 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 June 10, 2018 When you conduct a research project, one part of your job is to assert your own original thesis with an effective argument. There are a few ways to enhance your research paper so it sounds more impressive. One method to sound convincing as an authority is to elevate your vocabulary by using great verbs. Remember, verbs are action words. The verbs you select for your writing should represent a specific action. This means you should avoid generic verbs like the following to keep your writing interesting and sharp. Don't bore your teacher or audience to tears! Stale and boring verbs to avoid: See Is/wasLookedDidGo/wentSaidTurned Be the Authority No matter what your grade level, you must do your best to come across as an authority on your topic. Think about the noticeable difference in these statements: I saw more mold on one piece of bread.I observed a distinct difference between the two pieces of bread. Most importantly, one piece of bread displayed a greater density of mold. The second statement sounds more mature, because we replaced "saw" with "observed" and "had" with "displayed." In fact, the verb observe is more accurate. When carrying out a scientific experiment, after all, you use more than mere eyesight to scrutinize your results. You may smell, hear, or feel some results, and those are all part of observing. Now consider these statements when writing a history essay: Historian Robert Dulvany says there were three main causes for the war.Historian Robert Dulvany asserted that three events prompted the war. The second phrase just sounds more authoritative and direct. The verbs make all the difference! Also, make sure to use active rather than passive structure with your verbs. Active verbs make your writing clearer and engaging. Review these statements: The war on terror was launched by the United States.The United States launched the war on terror. The subject-verb construction is a more active and powerful statement. How to Sound Like an Authority Each discipline (like history, science or literature) has a distinct tone with certain verbs that appear frequently. As you read over your sources, observe the tone and language. While reviewing the first draft of your research paper, conduct an inventory of your verbs. Are they tired and weak or strong and effective? This list of verbs may provide suggestions to make your research paper sound more authoritative. affirm ascertain assert cite claim clarify communicate concur contribute convey debate defend define detail determine develop differ discover discuss dispute dissect document elaborate emphasize employ engage enhance establish estimate evaluate examine explore express find focus highlight hold hypothesize identify illuminate illustrate imply incorporate infer inquire invest investigate involve judge justify limn observe ponder predict proclaim proffer promote provide question realize recap reconcile refer reflect regard relate relay remark report resolve respond reveal review sanction seek show simplify speculate submit support surmise survey tangle test theorize total transpose underestimate underline underscore understand undertake undervalue usurp validate value verify vex wander Verb of Perception Powerful Verbs for Your Writing Question Stems for Each Level of Bloom's Taxonomy Light Verbs in English Grammar How to Narrow the Research Topic for Your Paper Words to Use Instead of "Said" Hidden Verbs in Grammar The Writer's Voice in Literature and Rhetoric What Is a Research Paper? What Does Critical Reading Really Mean? Conciseness for Better Composition College Essay Style Tips 6 Steps to Writing the Perfect Personal Essay Six Steps of the Scientific Method active verb (action verb) What Is a Research Paper?