Teaching Kids About Descriptive Verbs

Descriptive Verbs Definition

Verbs are the action words in a sentence. They show an action done by or to a person, place, or thing. Descriptive Verbs (also known as solid verbs) are more colorful versions of verbs, which include an action that is more detailed or interesting than we might typically use. For example, you might say, ‘The boy ran home, but that sounds quite plain. So why not say, ‘the boy sprinted home, instead?

Weak verbs like ‘ran’ are very common and act as the base version of an action.

Not to be confused with adjectives (which describe a noun) or adverbs (which represent a verb, adjective, or another adverb), a descriptive verb includes the descriptive element in the word itself.

Why should we use descriptive verbs?

Descriptive verbs can add excitement and intrigue to our writing. The reader can better picture the action taking place if the words used include more detail; this can make your writing stand out on the page, which will keep them wanting to read more. It might even help them connect more with the characters being written about.

Adjectives and adverbs are valuable kinds of descriptive words that provide similar detail. What makes descriptive verbs worthwhile compared to these other words is that they can be used in a shorter sentence.

Instead of saying, ‘Mark strolled into the room,’ we can say, ‘Mark ambled into the room.’; this describes the casual nature of his action and allows us to write a more snappy sentence. We’ve conveyed more information with fewer words!

Sometimes, using the base form of a verb can be the most direct way of writing, but descriptive verbs can give more mood and personality for creative writing.

Three types of descriptive verb

Verbs come in all shapes and sizes, describing different actions, events, and states of being. These helpful categories will help you think about when you should replace a verb in a sentence and will be beneficial to teach your children, so they have a better grasp of their communication using verb forms.

  • Verbs of movement. These are the first thing you think of when you think of a verb. These verbs describe the action made by a person, animal, or object. In creative writing in primary school, a movement verb can help a child tell what a character wants, how they feel about it, and how challenging this activity is for them.
  • Verbs of thought. Thinking can be as active as doing when it comes to verbs. These words show the inner workings of action, like the terms ‘imagine,’ ‘reflect,’ and ‘wonder.’ These words can be as helpful for informational texts as when describing a character’s thoughts in creative writing.
  • Verbs of speech. These words will be handy to teach during a lesson on dialogue, as these are the words that can describe how a character said something. Of course, the term ‘said’ is valuable and could be used independently. But in those cases, when you want to emphasize something, words like ‘shouted,’ ‘cried,’ or ‘whispered’ can be helpful.

What are some examples of descriptive verbs?

Looking for examples of descriptive verbs? Here’s a handy list of descriptive verbs to simplify things, including the word’s root meaning.

Walk Stroll, march, stomp, amble, plod, hike
Eat Munch, nibble, gobble, devour, slurp
Think Conceive, imagine, ponder, brood
Speak Whisper, shout, demand, question, natter
Smile Grin, smirk, beam, leer, chuckle
Frown Scowl, glare, pout, grimace, wince
Hit Punch, smack, wallop, jab, clip
Look Stare, glance, gaze, eye, peek, examine
sit Slump, perch, freeze, squat


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