Thank You Fearless Followers!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

The Benefits of Using Active Verbs

Avoid using "to be" verbs like is, was, were, am and are. Instead use active verbs like depicts, encourages, recommends, illustrates, embodies, conjures, resembles or typifies. Active verbs offer so much more life to your sentences and ultimately enhance your message. In addition, you use fewer words if you use active verbs. Wordiness serves to confuse your reader while concisely written sentences and paragraphs better communicate your intent.


  • Leonardo Da Vinci's Mona Lisa is one of his most famous art pieces. The woman in the painting has always been in the center of much speculation and analysis.
  • The Mona Lisa, one of Leonardo Da Vinci's most famous art pieces, provokes much speculation and analysis.

  • The author was telling his arduous journey through the jungles of Brazil.
  • The author describes his arduous journey through the jungles of Brazil.

  • There are many reasons why I prefer visiting rural rather than urban areas.
  • I prefer visiting rural rather than urban areas for many reasons.

  • The book is about a family who is spending Christmas together after many years of separation.
  • The author recounts the story of a family who gathers for Christmas after many years of separation.

Do you see and hear the difference?


List of Active Verbs from Boston College
List of Active Verbs from Write Express
List of Active Verbs from Harvard Law School


  1. Yes.

    Your tips-on-writing post is always very helpful ... oops!

    I mean, your tips-on-writing post always gives very helpful ideas.

    Thanks for the tips.


  2. I absolutely, 100% agree with you and thank you for sharing the information. It is so valuable for us to always be reminded of important writing skills.

  3. Actually when I saw the title of this entry I thought I read "Active HERBS"! I'm happy I read this entry, though, and hope it helps benefit the readers of my blog!

    Thank you, as always!

  4. Hey, is this what is meant in Microsoft Word and you get a grammar suggestion to revise due to passive voice? I get that recommendation over and over again, when writing.

  5. Nicely done. The author's lesson on using active verbs challenges the reader to continue the lesson throughout the day. So far, so good.

  6. A thought provoking blog post that stimulates contemplation and broadens the readers writing talents if implemented.

    Of course, prior to reading this I may have said...

    This is an interesting post. I was thinking how much it will improve my writing if I were to use it.


Thank you for visiting and commenting.