Vibrant Verbs and Vocabulary Help Study Guide (page 2)
Practice exercises for this study guide can be found at:
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.
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.
accrue (1) to increase in amount and value, especially over a period of time; (2) to come about as a natural growth or addition
admonish (1) to rebuke or scold someone mildly but sincerely; (2) to give advice to someone to do or not do something
atrophy (1) to waste away or shrink in size, especially a part of the body; (2) the lessening of an ability
beguile (1) to draw notice or interest with charm; (2) to deceive by cunning
capitulate to surrender, usually on terms that have been agreed on in advance
chastise (1) to criticize harshly; (2) to punish severely
delineate (1) to describe in sharp or vivid detail; (2) to indicate through lines or sketching
disseminate (1) to distribute; (2) to spread around as if sowing seeds
embody (1) to give definite form to or make something tangible; (2) to incorporate things into an organized whole
garnish (1) to decorate; (2) to embellish or dress up
[This is another word that can be used as either a noun or a verb. As a noun, it's a spiffy little bit of food, like parsley, added to a plate of food to make it look pretty.]
imbibe (1) to drink something; (2) to receive into the mind and retain
inveigle (1) to win over or persuade through flattery or cleverness; (2) to trick or con
modulate (1) to change sound to a certain key or pitch; (2) to alter or adjust something to the proper proportion
[In the world of electronics, this means varying the quality of an electromagnetic wave for the transmission of information. Most likely, you won't ever use it that way, but there it is. You are more likely to use it to ask someone to lower his or her voice or music.]
officiate (1) to perform a ceremony; (2) to enforce or referee the rules of a game or sport
ostracize (1) to force to leave or exclude, usually in society; (2) to ignore or snub
[This is from the ancient Greek word ostrakon, meaning "a piece of pottery." What does that have to do with anything, you ask? Good question. Pottery fragments were used in ancient Athens as a kind of ballot. Each year citizens would gather to decide if anyone needed to be banished for the "good of the city." If your name was written on the most pieces, you were sent away—ostracized!]
paraphrase (1) to give the same meaning in slightly different words; (2) to summarize
plagiarize (1) to steal, copy, or pass off as one's own work or idea; (2) to bootleg or use illegally
propagate (1) to have offspring or reproduce; (2) to cause an idea or belief to spread out and affect a greater number of people or a wider area
redress (1) to make up for something or set a wrong right again; (2) to even out or equalize
vacillate (1) to hesitate between options or struggle to decide: (2) to swing back and forth
Practice exercises for this study guide can be found at:
- Kindergarten Sight Words List
- First Grade Sight Words List
- 10 Fun Activities for Children with Autism
- Grammar Lesson: Complete and Simple Predicates
- Definitions of Social Studies
- Child Development Theories
- Signs Your Child Might Have Asperger's Syndrome
- How to Practice Preschool Letter and Name Writing
- Social Cognitive Theory
- Curriculum Definition