Verb Workout Writing Exercise

  1. Sit down with a stop watch or set the timer on your microwave and see how many action verbs you can write down in two minutes. Now, use your dictionary and/or thesaurus to find at least three synonyms and three opposites (antonyms) for each one. Memorize them all.
  2. Find a passage from a book or magazine story you’ve recently enjoyed and re-read it, marking (or making note of) all the verbs you can find. Analyze the passage critically, taking notice of such things as active vs. passive voice; action verbs vs. linking verbs; the specificity of the verbs (does the author use a lot of adverbs or do the verbs paint a clear enough picture all on their own?).
  3. Now look at that same passage on another level: Note any images that particularly touch you or spark your imagination. Can you identify what is affecting you? If so, try duplicating the technique in your own work (at this stage, imitation is a perfectly legitimate way to start finding your own voice as a writer).

This creative exercise came from the course Elements of Effective Writing I: Grammar and Mechanics

Do you remember the difference between the 8 parts of speech, and how to use them? Are you comfortable with punctuation and mechanics? No matter what type of writing you do, mastering the fundamentals of grammar and mechanics is an important first-step to having a successful writing career.

You will learn:

  • To identify the 8 parts of speech, and how to use them correctly
  • Noun/pronoun agreement and prounoun cases (subjective, possessive, objective)
  • Verb usage, including subject-verb agreement, verb tense, and active versus passive verbs.
  • To recognize phrases and clauses, and how to punctuate each.
  • About punctuation marks and their use.

Learn More About Elements of Effective Writing I: Grammar and Mechanics Today!