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Action Verbs

What are Action Verbs?

Action Verbs are verbs that express action. Ex: run, walk, drive, cough, talk etc. Action verbs are something that a person or thing can do, it can also be actions you can't see such as 'thought' or 'wanted'. Action verbs tell when something takes place - in the present, in the future or in the past.

Read the following sentences and focus on the underlined words:
  • Reena sings beautifully.
  • Alister drives well.
  • Barney replied as he sat at the breakfast table.
  • I’ll do my homework when I get home.
  • In the library and at church, Michele giggles inappropriately.
  • She danced across the stage with poise.

You’ll notice that the words that have been underlined above have something in common. They all denote some action performed by the subject (doer of action) involved these sentences. Thus, we see that there are certain words in English Language which are used to demonstrate action performed by the subject in a given statement. These words which denote action are known as Action Verbs. The power of the action verb lies in the meaning and intention that they contain and how they bring direction and force to the sentence.

In a nutshell, an action verb is a word that demonstrates an action performed by the subject in a given sentence. A sentence like "The orchestra appeared on the scene" sounds much less impressive than the sentence "The orchestra erupted onto the scene."


List of Action Verbs

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The list of action verbs is endless, just as the actions that make the world go round! But still, here is some commonly used action verbs listed below in their base form-

Eat, sing, draw, drive, drink, move, jump, dance, paint, go, rise, fly, sit, stand, speak, write, work, do, see, hear, touch, smell, hear, fight, sing, study, run, walk, give, take, send, borrow, buy, sell, shop, laugh, cry, weep, smile, pull etc.

We must also remember that it is not necessary that an action verb is only to be used in its base form in a given sentence. The form of an action verb would eventually depend upon the time and status of action it denotes. An action done in past would be denoted by its action verb in the past tense, and an action in present would be denoted by its action verb in the present tense. The past participle and present participle forms of action verbs can also be used, if required in a sentence, to show the status (completion or continuity factor) of their action in respect with tense.

The following list will further clarify the various forms of action verbs that can be used in a given situation as required -

 Action Verbs in their various forms 
        Base Form                Past Tense             Present Participle              Past Participle         
 Eat  ate  eating  eaten
 Sing  sang  singing  sung
 Draw  drew  drawing  drawn
 Drive  drove  driving  driven
 Drink  drank  drinking  drunk
 Move  moved  moving  moved
 Jump  jumped  jumping  jumped
 Go  went  going  gone
 Pray  prayed  praying  prayed

We add ‘s’ or ‘es’ to the base form of the verb when the subject is third person singular. For instance, pray becomes prays and go becomes goes.
Action verbs give more color, more impulse and more emotion to your words. They help you create content that is more compelling, your readers are more engaged and interested in what you write. Action Verbs have two voices. Verbs can be in the active voice or passive voice. The active voice stresses the doer of an action, is more forceful than the passive voice, which stresses the receiver. In the active voice, the subject is the doer of the verb’s action. In the passive voice, the receiver of the action becomes the subject.

Example of Active Voice:
  • Cassie is on the chair.
  • They rushed the little boy to the hospital.
  • “Somebody” has robbed the bank on the corner.

Example of Passive Voice:
  • Cassie collapses into the chair.
  • The little boy was rushed to the hospital.
  • The bank on the corner has been robbed.

Examples of Action Verbs

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The following sentences will serve as good examples to show you the usage of some action verbs in their various enlisted forms-
  1. I eat some chocolates before I sleep.
  2. I ate a banana yesterday.
  3. The lunch break is not over and I am still eating my food.
  4. She has eaten only a pack of chips since morning.
  5. The monkey has jumped inside the well.
  6. The boys are jumping in the playground.
  7. Nobody would jump from such a great height.
  8. She prays early in the morning.
  9. He went to the market with his sister.
Underline the Action Verb in the following sentences:
  1. I go to the temple every day, but my sister goes only once a week.
  2. She baked a tasty cake for the kids.
  3. I will study hard for the exams.
  4. The best way to fulfill our dreams is to wake up.
  5. We must keep on trying until we succeed.
  6. My parents have taught me to behave well with others.
  7. He gobbled his food down as fast as he could.
  8. Mary thought about her homework. She wanted a good grade.
  9. A lion will run down its prey.
  10. The wind blows constantly in North Carolina.
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