Use more powerful verbs in descriptive writing
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  • Introduction
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The words we use in descriptive writing can have a powerful effect on our readers. This is particularly true of verbs (action words).

 

For example, there is nothing wrong with the first sentence below, but the second one creates a more vivid impression by using the verb hurtled.

 

The train left the station at top speed.

The train hurtled from the station.

 

In this worksheet you can practise replacing everyday verbs with more powerful ones. You may find a dictionary helpful.

  • Question 1
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Read the sentence below and choose the best verb from the list to replace the one in bold.

 

As the storm approached, the cattle ran to shelter in the barn.

fled

ambled

jogged

strolled

  • Question 2
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Read the sentence below and choose the best verb from the list to replace the words in bold.

 

The elderly lady went slowly up the stairs, stopping every few steps to put down her shopping bag and catch her breath.

ran

walked

struggled

climbed

  • Question 3
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Read the sentence below and choose the best verb from the list to replace the words in bold.

 

The baby cried loudly all night.

whimpered

bawled

whined

sobbed

  • Question 4
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Read the sentence below and choose the best verb from the list to replace the words in bold.

 

Alex threw the ball hard at the window and it broke with a loud smash.

chucked

flung

tossed

dropped

  • Question 5
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Read the sentence below and choose the best verb from the list to replace the words in bold.

 

Katie walked home slowly. She didn't want to face her brother after what she had done.

dawdled

went

strolled

ambled

  • Question 6
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Read the sentence below and choose the best verb from the list to replace the words in bold.

 

Jamie ate his tea quickly and hurried out to meet his friends.

gulped

gobbled

chewed

swallowed

  • Question 7
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Read the sentence below and choose the best verb from the list to replace the words in bold.

 

Mr Jones doesn't like groups of teenages to wait around outside his shop.

loiter

stay

stand

meet

  • Question 8
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Read the sentence below and choose the best verb from the list to replace the words in bold.

 

The young man walked confidently along the road, looking at his reflection in the shop windows as he went.

strolled

ran

strutted

ambled

  • Question 9
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Read the sentence below and choose the best verb from the list to replace the words in bold.

 

The wind blew loudly down the chimney, making Sarah shiver with fright.

gasped

rattled

whispered

roared

  • Question 10
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Read the sentence below and choose the best verb from the list to replace the ones in bold.

 

The puppy was so excited it barked in a high-pitched way and wriggled its whole body.

whimpered

yelped

growled

screamed

Progress