Specific Verbs

Specific verbs (also called “action verbs”) add vitality to writing.  They not only tell what’s going on but also give indications of how.

“Walk” is a boring verb. It could be used to describe any number of movements. “Shuffled” is a specific action verb. Someone who shuffles is someone who is tired, perhaps bored.

We define two elements in class. Specific verbs:

  • show a specific (not general) action;
  • include information about how the action is completed.

For single boring verbs, there are countless action verbs.

Boring Verbs
Specific Action Verbs
walk/go march, strut, shuffle, goosestep, amble, pace, stomp, stride, mope, trudge
talk/say explain, mumble, murmur, yell, scream, pronounce, confess, admit


  1. Nice explanation

  2. what are more specific verbs for “give”

  3. whats a good word for in love?

  4. Not sure off the top of my head. Try dictionary.com’s thesaurus feature.

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