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Common verbs with stronger alternatives

When writing, and especially when writing creatively or persuasively, the use of strong verbs will make your work more impactful. But what exactly is a strong verb? Strong verbs not only convey a meaning or name the action, but they also tell the manner in which the action occurs, and they often generate a vivid picture in the reader’s mind of what is happening. Consider the three sentences below:

  • He pushed his way through the crowd.
  • He pushed his way strongly through the crowd.
  • He bulldozed his way through the crowd.

Pushed is a relatively weak verb. It does its job as it describes the action, but it needs an adverb to add any further understanding about the nature of the push, as the second sentence demonstrates. When you find yourself using an adverb, you might be better off looking for a stronger verb as the third sentence exemplifies. Using bulldoze gives a clear and descriptive picture for the reader to imagine.

Note: The list below of alternative, stronger verbs should not necessarily be used interchangeably. Context is of course important and only certain alternatives will be appropriate in certain circumstances.

This is the first of two similar lists. You'll find the second list of 24 powerful verbs here.

  • ask
  • inquire
  • probe
  • query
  • request
  • begin
  • commence
  • initiate
  • launch
  • open
  • bend
  • arch
  • bow
  • curve
  • warp
  • believe
  • accept
  • consider
  • trust
  • understand
  • bite
  • chew
  • chomp
  • munch
  • nibble
  • break
  • crumble
  • fracture
  • ruin
  • smash
  • change
  • adjust
  • amend
  • modify
  • transform
  • cover
  • cloak
  • conceal
  • mask
  • screen
  • cut
  • chop
  • clip
  • split
  • trim
  • drink
  • gulp
  • guzzle
  • sip
  • swallow
  • eat
  • devour
  • feast
  • gorge
  • snack
  • fall
  • collapse
  • plummet
  • plunge
  • topple
  • feel
  • deem
  • experience
  • perceive
  • sense
  • fight
  • battle
  • brawl
  • clash
  • scuffle
  • fill
  • cram
  • jam
  • load
  • pack
  • find
  • detect
  • discover
  • uncover
  • unearth
  • give
  • dispense
  • furnish
  • present
  • provide
  • help
  • aid
  • assist
  • facilitate
  • support
  • hit
  • belt
  • cuff
  • smack
  • thump
  • hurt
  • harm
  • injure
  • torment
  • wound
  • know
  • comprehend
  • realise
  • recognise
  • understand
  • laugh
  • chortle
  • chuckle
  • giggle
  • howl
  • leave
  • abandon
  • depart
  • exit
  • quit
  • lie
  • con
  • deceive
  • fabricate
  • falsify
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  • like
  • admire
  • fancy
  • rate
  • relish
  • look
  • gaze
  • glance
  • inspect
  • peer
  • make
  • compose
  • concoct
  • formulate
  • prepare
  • mean
  • imply
  • indicate
  • insinuate
  • signify
  • move
  • budge
  • nudge
  • relocate
  • shift
  • need
  • crave
  • demand
  • necessitate
  • require
  • push
  • bulldoze
  • nudge
  • prod
  • shove
  • reach
  • achieve
  • attain
  • extend
  • stretch
  • run
  • dart
  • scurry
  • sprint
  • trot
  • say
  • declare
  • exclaim
  • pronounce
  • utter
  • shine
  • burnish
  • gleam
  • glow
  • sparkle
  • stop
  • cease
  • foil
  • stall
  • stymie
  • surprise
  • astonish
  • shock
  • stagger
  • startle
  • talk
  • blether
  • chat
  • converse
  • discourse
  • take
  • acquire
  • grab
  • purloin
  • seize
  • think
  • cogitate
  • contemplate
  • ponder
  • reflect
  • throw
  • chuck
  • pitch
  • shy
  • toss
  • tie
  • bind
  • knot
  • lace
  • tether
  • touch
  • glance
  • grope
  • skim
  • stroke
  • try
  • attempt
  • endeavour
  • strive
  • undertake
  • walk
  • march
  • saunter
  • stride
  • stroll
  • want
  • covet
  • crave
  • desire
  • fancy
  • work
  • endeavour
  • labour
  • slog
  • toil
  • worry
  • agonise
  • fret
  • pester
  • unnerve
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