Vibrant Verbs and Vocabulary Help Study Guide

Updated on Jul 15, 2011

Practice exercises for this study guide can be found at:

Vibrant Verbs and Vocabulary Help Practice Exercises

Ah, verbs. They may just seem like another part of that gloomy world of grammar, but you would be lost without verbs. Well, actually, no, you wouldn't. You couldn't because lost, in one form, is a verb. Verbs are the life force of writing and speaking. They're where the action is; they tell you what's happening. Without verbs, you'd be unable to do anything—or at least, your communication about the things you were doing would be seriously lacking in substance. Being able to use a wide variety of verbs when you talk or write will make it far easier to explain what you mean.

For example, you might write, "The wind blew." That's straightforward, but also rather simple. How about:

      "The wind roared."
      "The wind whispered."
      "The wind bellowed."
      "The wind murmured."

Each of the verbs just listed creates an entirely different picture of what's actually happening. By changing one word—the verb—the entire sentence communicates something new. That's how powerful verbs can be.

Just as you can't communicate clearly without a noun, you can't do so without a verb. For a sentence to be complete, you need both nouns and verbs; they work hand in hand. Remember that message you left for your parents? Well, if you wrote another one with nouns but no verbs, you'd end up with something like the following:

John and I the mall. Dinner too. My job today.

See? Still, there is no clear message. John and you what? What about dinner? What about your job? Without verbs, the message is a complete mystery!

Okay, so you've got it—verbs are important. Using a variety of them is even more important. Learning a lot of verbs and understanding how each has its very own nuance (look it up!) and meaning can help you add spice, flavor, and personality to your spoken or written words. Knowing the different definitions of verbs can also help you better understand the words and meanings in other people's communications.

Some verbs are useful, but they're very overused. One of the best examples is said. It's used so often that it gets old quickly. What are some alternatives to said? Here are just a few.

Beyond Said

whispered shouted uttered stated
commented mumbled demanded mentioned
added declared cried replied
exclaimed pronounced answered articulated

The following are some really fascinating verbs you can learn. As you read each definition, imagine using that word in a sentence to become more familiar with it.

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