How do I explain the difference between weak and strong verbs?
To put it simply to your class, explain that weak verbs are the ‘basic’ forms of a specific action, like ‘ate’ or ‘ran.’
Strong verbs are more specific and induce a tone, like ‘scoffed’ or ‘dashed.’
To say a man ‘ran’ does not infer much meaning, but to say a man ‘dashed’ suggests that dynamic behavior is involved. Perhaps he is running in fear of a monster or is late for work.
Throughout the curriculum, teachers should continue to encourage students to improve their writing abilities and widen their vocabulary. Even at the kindergarten level, young children can begin to understand how to use powerful alternatives to ordinary verbs to inject more interest into their writing.
Strong verbs vs. weak verbs
When thinking up a list of strong verbs for writing, it’s also helpful to know the opposite – weak verbs. Verbs that make your writing sound, well, weaker.
These are examples of verbs that are passive as opposed to powerful:
Make it easier for students to recognize weak and strong verbs by compiling a list to refer to in class.
Banish the boring verbs
One of the most used words in any writing (and the biggest culprit in making your writing boring and monotonous) is the verb ‘said.’
Let’s say goodbye to ‘said.’ Here are some awesome strong verbs to replace it:
|Ordinary verb||Powerful verbs|
This catchy poem is a fantastic way to help your class remember when to use said and when to put it to bed. You could display it on the wall in the reading corner and use it as a fun group activity to recite before writing lessons.
Let’s look at some examples of weak verbs that can be replaced quickly to sound more engaging.
The man was eating his lunch.
The man scoffed at his lunch.
Katy is a lover of cats.
Katy adores cats; she owns seven.
Here are some common verbs that children will regularly use, which can be easily replaced with much stronger ones.
|Run||bolt, dash, jog|
|Walk||slink, wander, meander|
|Make||create, fashion, forge|
Here are some inspirational sentence practices you could use with your class to help them develop the most potent verb alternative to ensure a sentence pops.
- Swap weak verbs for strong verbs
The wizard walked into the bar and looked around.
Ask them questions like ‘how can we portray the wizard’s emotions through his actions?’
- Replace verbs that rely on adverbs
Powerful verbs are strong enough to stand alone.
- The dog ran quickly dashed along the beach.
- He looked menacingly glared at his rival.
- They secretly listened and eavesdropped on the discussion.
- The girl shouted loudly screeched at her mother
- Strengthen verbs with -ing suffixes
The boy was walking.
The boy walked.
The girl was crying.
The girl sobbed.