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Important notice

Good news! We have updated our writing tools. Writing Tips and The Canadian Style have been combined to create a new tool called Writing Tips Plus.

Don’t forget to update your bookmarks. Within a few weeks, Writing Tips will no longer be available.

To begin your search, go to the alphabetical index below and click on the first letter of the word you are searching for.

action verbs

Action verbs are the most common type of verb. In a sentence with an action verb, the subject does (or did, or will do) something.

The action taken by the subject often involves visible motion: 

  • Martina danced the night away.
  • The horse jumped over the fence and galloped toward us.
  • When I threw the ball, it fell into the creek.

But some action verbs (called “mental action” verbs) express mental activity rather than physical motion: 

  • I think you will enjoy the book.
  • Rudi wants to borrow your ski poles.
  • The Steins plan to travel to Hawaii this summer.
  • Liette likes to talk about her grandchildren; she loves it when they visit. 

Sentences with action verbs can be very short, because they may contain only a subject and a verb:

  • Jean-Marc hiccupped.

In the case of a command, the sentence may consist solely of an action verb, with the subject you understood:

  • Run!