Action Verbs Explained With Examples - Empower Your Writing!

I wrote the best article ever! And I won a prestigious award!

What is an Action Verb?

An action verb is a word that describes… an action! When something happens in a sentence, the action verb is the word that expresses that action.

For example, the words wrote and won in the sentences above are action verbs. They tell you exactly what happened.

You probably use action verbs all the time without realizing it because they’re one of the basic building blocks of communication in English.

action verb examples

Importance of Action Verbs

There are several other types of verbs in English, but these don’t pack as much of a punch in writing. For example, there are stative and linking verbs.

Stative verbs, as the name suggests, report a state of being, rather than something that is actually happening. A linking verb, on the other hand, simply connects the subject and the complement that describes the subject of the sentence.

Types Of Verbs

Compare these verbs, and see if you can identify how they’re different:

Action Verb

  • to finish, to accept, to overcome, to leap, to fix, to sing

Stative Verb

  • to have, to belong, to like, to love, to hate, to resemble

Linking Verb

  • to be, to become, to appear

As you can see from these lists, action verbs have a lot more energy than stative or linking verbs. This makes them essential for good writing.

Whether you’re writing essays, newspaper articles, resumes, or client reports, action verbs bring your ideas to life. In a history paper, action verbs will make your text much more exciting to read. And on your resume, action verbs will highlight all of the hard work you’ve been doing.

Action Verb Tenses

Action verbs are a little different than stative and linking verbs because you can use action verbs in any tense. (Stative and linking verbs are more limited)

So, past, present, and future are all okay!

Here are some examples:

To Eat

  • I eat, I ate, I will eat
  • I am eating, I was eating, I will be eating
  • I have eaten
  • I will have eaten

To Go

  • you go, you went, you will go
  • you are going, you were going, you will be going
  • you have gone
  • you will have gone

To Walk

  • they walk, they walked, they will walk
  • they are walking, they were walking, they will be walking
  • they have walked
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Action Verb Examples

Everyday Action Verbs

Everything you do, every single day, is an action verb! Here are some common action verbs you might come across.

Physical

  • to walk, to jog, to run
  • to skip, to jump, to hop
  • to stop, to go
  • to laugh, to cry, to scream
  • to eat, to gorge
  • to clean, to sweep, to wash
  • to punch, to kick, to bruise
  • to slice, to chop, to cut
  • to sleep, to nap, to toss and turn, to wake
  • to study, to write, to erase, to blot
  • to draw, to paint, to sculpt
  • to play, to climb, to build, to race
  • to take, to give
  • to smile, to frown, to sigh
  • to whistle, to sing, to hum
  • to trip, to fall, to stumble
  • to call, to text, to phone
  • to travel, to visit, to explore

Mental

  • to think, to ponder, to wonder
  • to hope, to dream, to imagine
  • to plan, to organize, to envision
  • to remember, to forget
  • to guess, to estimate, to predict
  • to hesitate, to consider, to dither, to waver

Provoking Emotion

  • to astonish, to amaze
  • to please, to impress
  • to surprise, to scare, to startle
  • to bother, to annoy 
  • to worry, to concern

Action Verbs for Work

Action verbs are a great way to highlight your skills on resumes, job applications, personal bios, and in performance reviews.

With just a word or two, you can quickly explain exactly what you did at work. So, take a look at these verbs to help you describe the work you’ve been doing and show off how good you are at your job!


Management/Leadership

  • to supervise, to lead, to manage
  • to monitor, to inspect
  • to oversee, to spearhead
  • to chair, to head, to direct
  • to coordinate, to organize, to facilitate
  • to authorize, to verify, to enforce

Creation

  • to create, to plan, to produce
  • to develop, to design
  • to found, to form
  • to institute, to pioneer
  • to propose, to build

Improvement

  • to improve, to advance, to move forward
  • to expand, to enhance, to increase
  • to stimulate, to energize
  • to revitalize, to restore, 
  • to modernize, to digitize
  • to standardize, to maximize
  • to gain, to promote
  • to redesign, to overhaul
  • to revamp, to rehabilitate
  • to streamline, to optimize, to refine, to simplify
  • to strengthen, to clarify
  • to restructure, to remodel

Support

  • to support, to motivate
  • to train, to mentor, to teach
  • to cultivate, to foster
  • to recruit, to train
  • to unify, to mobilize, to enable

Research

  • to research, to analyze
  • to evaluate, to examine
  • to qualify, to quantify
  • to compile, to interview, to interpret
  • to discover, to explore
  • to project, to forecast, to model

Communication

  • to write, to author, to draft
  • to document, to outline
  • to edit, to critique, to review
  • to pitch, to sell
  • to acquire, to close
  • to campaign, to convince, to lobby, to persuade
  • to publicize, to present, to promote
  • to partner, to negotiate
  • to forge, to secure

Accomplishing Goals

  • to accomplish, to win, to finish, to attain
  • to overcome, to succeed, 
  • to surpass, to exceed
  • to earn, to reach
  • to demonstrate, to complete

Conclusion

Action verbs are a very easy concept to grasp, but using them in your writing has huge implications. Action verbs are much more exciting than stative or linking verbs, so people will engage better with what you have to say.

So, add passion to your writing with more action verbs!

And for more great grammar resources, check out the other articles on this page. There are many useful tips and tricks for jazzing up your writing!