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

5 Comments


  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.

Comment Policy

We welcome comments from readers, but like most websites, we have some guidelines for commenting. Above all, avoid comments that are filled with profanity and aim simply to insult. When we receive such comments, we publish them after redacting the profanity, and then we reply, usually with a critique of your use of language and sometimes with some grammar tips. In addition, we might share your email address publicly in the event that you leave a comment that does not conform to our comment policy (see above). We do this as a service: if you are leaving such comments, you likely need help with your writing (how to express anger without using profanity) and/or your social skills (knowing when a comment needs to be shared and when it needs to stay inside your own thoughts). We will sometimes publish your email in the response to your comment so that other readers can email you to offer their help as well. Some visitors might find that this makes them look foolish. Readers who wish to avoid looking foolish, therefore, should not submit such comments.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *