To fortify your writing, invigorate your verbs

A writer’s guide to diagnosing and energizing lackluster language.

A writer’s guide to diagnosing and energizing lackluster language


The way to immediately see the biggest improvement in your writing is to choose higher quality verbs. For this reason, I’m suggesting this as your new year’s writing resolution.

First, self-diagnose to find out whether you’re verb-impaired. Then, set out to become verb-talented.


Print a hard copy of a document you wrote, and circle all the verbs. Read them aloud as a list. You may realize without prompting that they’re generic or repetitive. Even worse, your verb choices may be alienating readers. To objectively evaluate the strength of your verbs, ask yourself the following questions and compare with the following lists.

… wimpy ?

… vague?

… overused tech verbs? (fine to use, but other verbs may be more descriptive and precise)

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