Action Verb


We can define it as, “An action verb is a verb that expresses physical or mental action. The action verb tells us what the subject of our clause or sentence is doing-physically or mentally”.


“A word belonging to the parts of speech, that is the center of the predicate, which describes an act or activity”.


Action verbs are verbs expressing or describing action in the sentence such as run, walk, do, smile, drive, jump, cough, drink, kick, eat, break, cry, think, etc. They are used in the sentence to specifically describe what the subject of the sentence is doing.

It carries important information in a sentence which can convey emotion, sense of purpose, etc. The effect of action verbs lies in their true meaning and intention of expressing action in the sentence. It is very necessary to understand the use of action verbs in the sentence very well to be a good writer and communicator.

Action verbs alone can make one word sentence (such as, Stop!) but nouns, adjectives, adverbs, or any other parts of speech cannot make a one word sentence. Identifying the action verbs in the sentence is really pretty easy. Such as:

  • I’ll do my homework when I get home. (action verbs are ‘do and get’)

Without action verbs, we cannot make a sentence as they are required to show some kind of action like what a person, animal, or object can do. They are named as so according to their purpose in the sentence.

List of Action Verbs

Any word expressing the action of person, animal or object becomes the action verb. Some of the action verbs are:

Accelerate, eat, go, do, jump, dance, accomplish, achieve, acquire, activate, adapt, adjust, administer, advise, allocate, analyze, apply, arrange, assign, attain, change, collect, communicate, construct, deliver, demonstrate, derive, design, develop, educate, effect, estimate, evaluate, examine, exchange, run, walk, smile, cough, drink, kick, break, cry, think, etc.

Examples and Use in the Sentence

Following are some examples showing the use of action verbs in the sentence:

  • Seema talks at inappropriate times. (Talking is action which Seema can do.)
  • It is raining outside. (Raining is something done by the nature.)
  • Jennifer watched the movie on TV (Watching is something that Jennifer can do.)
  • The fireworks exploded in the mine. (Exploding is something that fireworks can do.)
  • The water is boiling for last ten minutes. (Boiling is something that water can do.)
  • Farmers start working before the sunrise. (Working is something that farmer can do.)


Some of the action verbs are used with direct object however some do not need direct object. On the basis of use of action verbs and their meaning in the sentence, action verbs are divided into two types such as:

  • Transitive Verb
  • Intransitive Verb

Transitive Verb

Transitive verbs are those verbs that always need a direct object.

List of Transitive Verbs

Owe, buy, show, tell, check, get, wash, annoy, lay, lend, offer, make, phone, contain, verify, finalize, edit, send, bring, take, etc.

For example:

  • Mohan annoys his mother so much. (Mother is the direct object of word annoys.)
  • She brings my lunch every day. (‘my’ is the direct object of brings.)

Intransitive Verb

Intransitive verbs are those verbs that do not need a direct object. Generally, they are followed by adjective, preposition, verb complement or adverb.

List of Intransitive Verbs

Swim, come, go, laugh, sit, rise, excel, run, cough, smile, act, cry, immigrate, lie, continue, die, explode, respond, emigrate, arrive, etc.

For example:

  • If she does not continue her work, the boss will fire her. (Continue is followed by no direct object.)
  • The bomb exploded in the Delhi Mall.

Some of the verbs are used as both transitive and intransitive, depending on their meanings. Such as:

  • Peon set papers down on the desk. (Transitive: ‘papers’ are the direct object to the verb ‘set’.)
  • The sun set low over an ocean. (Intransitive: ‘set’ doesn’t need a direct object and followed an adverb ‘low’.)
  • He manages the zoology department. (Transitive: ‘zoology’ department is the direct object of verb ‘manage’.)
  • She faced difficulty in managing family since his wife’s death. (Intransitive: ‘since’ is a preposition of time ‘managing’ doesn’t need a direct object.)

List of Common Action Verbs

Both, transitive and intransitive verbs can be used in any tense. Here are some verbs that can be used as both, transitive and intransitive depending on their meanings:

Write, set, leave, improve, sit, grow, smell, pay, dance, teach, eat, drive, manage, stop, run, burn, check, cost, go, give, sing, paint, climb, study, etc.

Rules/Tips to be Followed while using Action Verbs

Following are some rules and tips which we should remember while using action verbs in the sentence:

Action verbs can be physical or mental actions of the person, thing or object. Action verbs can use present tense, past tense, or future tense. Such as:

  • The snake runs faster than humans. (use of present tense)
  • The snake ran through the rocks. (use of past tense)
  • A lion will run down its prey. (use of future tense)

Action verbs can also use helping verbs, such as:

  • If you don’t notice your way, you will walk on the rocks.


1: Action Verb Exercises for you

Action verb exercises given below will help you in analyzing your knowledge about action verb. Just go through all the details given above about the action verb and check your skill by doing following exercises for action verb. We have used action verbs in the following sentences; you need to check your skill by identifying action verbs in each sentence:

  1. Painters have been painting for hours.
  2. She always gives money to the charity.
  3. Have you send all the proposals.
  4. Have you edit contents carefully.
  5. That perfume smells really bad.
  6. My new car costs me a lot.
  7. He owned a new car.
  8. Many people emigrated from India and Pakistan in 1947.
  9. He was waiting for last two hours.
  10. Are you sure you gave him all the books.
  11. Please send all the documents to the office.
  12. He giggles inappropriately in the library.
  13. He likes to drink a glass of iced tea.
  14. I watched a pretty woman in bikini at the beach.
  15. The squirrel climbs very fast on the tree.
  16. My alarm clock buzzed at right time.
  17. He vomited on the kitchen counter.

Answers: 1 – painting, 2 – gives, 3 – send, 4 – edit, 5 – smells, 6 – costs, 7 – owned, 8 – emigrated, 9 – waiting, 10 – gave, 11 – send, 12 – giggles, 13 – drink, 14 – watched, 15 – climbs, 16 – buzzed, 17 – vomited

2: Action Verb Exercises for You

Here are some more exercises on action verb for you. You need to find out whether given sentences have transitive verb or intransitive verb:

  1. I baked some pastries.
  2. I rode the motorbike.
  3. I moved the table.
  4. I stitched a bed sheet.
  5. I smiled.
  6. I laughed.
  7. I slept.
  8. He died.
  9. The horse won.
  10. The sun rise.
  11. She was reading all day long.
  12. I showed her marriage album.
  13. The doctor advised me to walk regularly.
  14. It was storming at that time.
  15. She laughed loudly at funny joke.
  16. I gave cookies to him.
  17. They slept in the street.
  18. I ate the mangoes.
  19. My sister does not drink black tea.
  20. I always carry my lunch in a bag.
  21. Heat expands metal.
  22. Metal expands on high heat.
  23. I stopped the bicycle.
  24. Bicycle stopped abruptly.
  25. He spoke the truth.
  26. I spoke loudly.
  27. I am flying the kite.
  28. Aeroplane is flying in the sky.
  29. I sank the paper boat.
  30. Paper boat sank suddenly.

Answers: 1 – transitive, 2 – transitive, 3 – transitive, 4 – transitive, 5 – intransitive, 6 – Intransitive, 7 – Intransitive, 8 – intransitive, 9 – intransitive, 10 – intransitive, 11 – Intransitive, 12 – Transitive, 13 – Transitive, 14 – Intransitive, 15 – Intransitive, 16 – Transitive, 17 – Intransitive, 18 – Transitive, 19 – transitive, 20 – Transitive, 21 – Transitive, 22 – Intransitive, 23 – Transitive, 24 – Intransitive, 25 – Transitive, 26 – Intransitive, 27 – Transitive, 28 – Intransitive, 29 – Transitive, 30 – Intransitive

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