50 Verbs That Will Strengthen Your Writing Immediately

50 Verbs That Will Strengthen Your Writing Immediately

People tell us to use strong, descriptive verbs, but what does this mean? In this post, we look at 50 verbs that will strengthen your writing immediately.

One of the first exercises we’ve given Writers Write students for the past 20 years is this one:  Find a selection of verbs to replace commonly used verbs, like sitting, walking, and talking.

If you have these on hand, you can always find a way to show (and not tell) how your character is performing these actions. This will help you with characterisation and body language.

Remember that you can use the original verb most of the time, but it is good to show when a character is doing something in a specific way.

I have put together a selection of strong, descriptive verbs to help you become a better writer.

50 Verbs That Will Strengthen Your Writing Immediately

5 Verbs To Describe Walking

  1. Stroll – When you stroll, you walk in a leisurely way. Characters who stroll are taking their time to get somewhere.
  2. Stride – When you stride, you walk with long, decisive steps in a specified direction. A character who strides is walking with a purpose.
  3. Traipse – When you traipse, you walk reluctantly or casually. Characters who traipse are reluctant, or indifferent, to reach their destination.
  4. Plod – When you plod, you walk doggedly and slowly with heavy steps. Characters who plod are not eager to move.
  5. Patrol – When you patrol, you look out for something by repeatedly walking around an area. Characters who patrol are worried about something and their walking has a specific purpose to it.

5 Verbs To Describe Talking

  1. Chat – When you chat, you talk in a friendly, informal way. Characters who chat are relaxed. They are talking to people they trust.
  2. Orate – When you orate, you are making a speech. Characters who orate love to hear themselves speak and they generally end up making pompous monologues.
  3. Enunciate – When you enunciate, you pronounce every word clearly. Characters who enunciate want to make sure that every word they say is understood. It could also be an affected way of talking peculiar to a character.
  4. Babble – When you babble, you speak quickly, continuously, and excitedly without making much sense. Characters who babble are often foolish people, or they could just be nervous in a certain situation.
  5. Blather – When you blather, you talk in a long-winded way without making any sense. Characters who blather are either incompetent or trying to distract people from something or someone.

5 Verbs To Describe Sitting

  1. Perch – When you perch, you look like you are sitting on something high and narrow. Characters who perch are generally anxious or alert.
  2. Collapse – When you collapse, you sit down as a result of exhaustion or amusement. Characters who collapse should have been doing something that required exertion, or they could be large and generally collapse when they sit down.
  3. Plant – When you plant yourself somewhere, you sit down purposefully in a particular position. Characters who plant themselves somewhere are generally not easy to move.
  4. Settle down – When you settle down, you sit in a comfortable position. Characters who settle down are usually somewhere familiar when they relax like this.
  5. Flump – When you flump, you sit down heavily. Characters who flump generally don’t have much energy.

5 Verbs To Describe Standing

  1. Rise – When you rise, you move from a lower position like a squat or a sitting position to a standing one. Characters who rise are those who have been sitting, lying down, or squatting before they stand up.
  2. Straighten – When you straighten up, you stand erect after bending. Characters who straighten up are those who are in the presence of somebody they respect.
  3. Position – When you position yourself, you stand in a particular place or way. Characters who position themselves are taking a stand for tactical or dramatic purposes.
  4. Rear up – When you rear upright, you stand upright. A character who rears up, is generally startled into an upright position.
  5. Find one’s feet – When you find your feet, you stand and become able to walk. Characters who find their feet have generally not been upright for a while.

5 Verbs To Describe Running

  1. Sprint – When you sprint, you run at full speed over a short distance. A character who sprints usually has to get somewhere for a reason, like sprinting over a field to get out of the rain.
  2. Dash – When you dash, you have to run somewhere in a great hurry. A character who dashes somewhere needs to move quickly.
  3. Jog – When you jog, you run at a steady, gentle pace. A character who jogs is in no hurry to get anywhere.
  4. Tear – When you tear, you run very quickly in a reckless or excited manner. A character who tears along the road paints a vivid picture.
  5. Dart – When you dart, you run suddenly. A character who darts is usually startled into doing so.

5 Verbs To Describe Laughing

  1. Chuckle – When you chuckle, you laugh quietly or inwardly. A character who chuckles could be introverted or shy.
  2. Guffaw – When you guffaw, you laugh loudly and heartily. A character who guffaws is usually extroverted and loud.
  3. Cackle – When you cackle, you laugh in a loud, harsh way. A character who cackles is usually being mean to somebody.
  4. Snigger – When you snigger, you laugh in a half-suppressed, typically scornful way. Characters who snigger usually do it behind somebody’s back.
  5. Roar – When you roar with laughter, you laugh loudly. Characters who roar with laughter are often really happy and uninhibited when they laugh.

5 Verbs To Describe Shouting

  1. Yell – When you yell, you shout in a loud, sharp way. Characters who yell have usually lost their tempers.
  2. Bellow – When you bellow, you shout in a deep roar. Characters who bellow are often enraged.
  3. Yelp – When you yelp, you make a short, sharp cry. Characters who yelp are usually in pain.
  4. Squawk – When you squawk, you shout in a harsh, loud tone. Characters who squawk are often complaining or protesting.
  5. Wail – When you wail, you make a prolonged high-pitched shout. Characters who wail are usually feeling sorrow.

5 Verbs To Describe Drinking

  1. Slurp – When you slurp, you drink with a loud sucking noise. Most characters who slurp are drinking through a straw.
  2. Gulp – When you gulp, you drink quickly or in large mouthfuls, often audibly. Characters gulp when they are extremely thirsty.
  3. Swill – When you swill a drink, you drink it greedily or in large quantities. Characters who swill drinks are often very thirsty or drunk.
  4. Sip – When you sip, you drink taking small mouthfuls. Characters often sip very cold or hot drinks. They also sip when they don’t want to be heard.
  5. Drain – When you drain a drink, you drink the entire contents of (a glass or other container). Characters who drain a beverage are often ready to leave, or ready to have another drink.

5 Verbs To Describe Eating

  1. Devour – When you devour food, you eat quickly and hungrily. Characters who devour something are often starving or haven’t eaten for a while.
  2. Gobble – When you gobble, you eat hurriedly and noisily. Characters who gobble are usually in a hurry.
  3. Wolf – When you wolf food, you eat it greedily. Characters who wolf something are enjoying it immensely or are eating out of pure hunger.
  4. Chew – When you chew, you are biting and working the food in your mouth with your teeth. Characters who chew usually take their time eating.
  5. Munch – When you munch, you eat steadily and audibly. Characters who munch are often happily eating something. They could also be distracted and be eating mechanically.

5 Verbs To Describe Writing

  1. Jot – When you jot something down, you write quickly. Characters who jot words on paper are usually in a hurry.
  2. Scribble – When you scribble, you write carelessly, hurriedly, and illegibly. Characters who scribble are not expecting anybody else to read their writing.
  3. Scrawl – When you scrawl, you write in a careless way. Characters who scrawl when they write are often doctors.
  4. Pen – When you pen, you compose a piece of writing. Characters who pen a document usually take their time doing it.
  5. Draft – When you draft something, you are writing a preliminary version of it. Characters who draft a document do not worry if it is perfect.

If you are looking for more posts like this, read:

  1. 106 Ways To Describe Sounds
  2. 20 Words Used To Describe Specific Tastes And Flavours
  3. 209 Words To Describe Touch
  4. 75 Words That Describe Smells
  5. 204 Words That Describe Colours
  6. 155 Words To Describe An Author’s Tone
  7. 140 Words To Describe Mood In Fiction
  8. 350 Character Traits – A Fabulous Resource For Writers
  9. 60 Words To Describe Writing Or Speaking Styles

TIP: If you want help writing a book, buy The Novel Writing Exercises Workbook.

 by Amanda Patterson
© Amanda Patterson

If you liked this blogger’s writing, you may enjoy:

  1. What Is Subtext & How Do I Create It?
  2. 6 Differences Between A Novel & A Memoir
  3. Isn’t It Time To Invest In Your Writing?
  4. What Is A Literary Trope & Why Should I Use One?
  5. The Romantic Heroine
  6. What Is An Epistolary Novel? & Tips For Writing One

Top Tip: If you need practical help with your grammar, buy The Complete Grammar Workbook.

Posted on: 20th October 2020

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