More Tools For Writing – Action Verbs and Descriptive Words

Are you revising that manuscript and find that much of your writing is too passive? Have you been going through it removing all the words such as that, was, and been? Sometimes we can just strike out those words from the page and the sentence still works but most of the time you have to reword the sentence.

Another thing to do is to add Action Verbs. But it’s not always easy to locate the right word in the brain. I found this great list in my internet travels and I keep it handy for when I need just the perfect verb.

Action Verbs

There was another list on that site that I love, Descriptive Words. This one is divided into five sections: Sound, Touch and Texture, Color and Visual Qualities, Smell, and Pattern and Shape. Using this, I can make my character’s eyes much more descriptive. Instead of blue I can say azure, cobalt, navy, aquamarine, or indigo. It’s much more visual.

Descriptive Words

Do you have any word lists that you use while writing?

10 Comment(s)

  1. Lara,

    Thanks for the help! As you know I’m currently in revisions. I hope to make headway and with great links it should be easier.


    Renee | Dec 19, 2007 | Reply

  2. Thanks Lara! Someone passed this page along to me as well and it’s super helpful.

    On a side not about passive voice:
    Using the word HAD in a sentence doesn’t make your writing passive. It’s called past perfect and it’s perfectly fine to use when describing something that happened in the past. I see people often get these confused.


    Sindee | Dec 19, 2007 | Reply

  3. Great links, Lara! Thanks. I love things like this that help spark just the right word! :0)

    Maura | Dec 19, 2007 | Reply

  4. These are excellent. Than you.

    Alice | Dec 19, 2007 | Reply

  5. I just found your site this evening, but I wanted to thank you immensely for the action verb and descriptive word lists you posted. They are truly a big help for me when I find myself stuck in the writing process.

    I am so grateful that you’ve shared this, I can’t thank you enough.

    Kenya | Sep 1, 2009 | Reply

  6. thanks so much these are honestly extremely helpful to me. i use a thesarus but sometimes the right word for my sentence just doesnt come to mind. ty!!

    Maryna | Jan 18, 2010 | Reply

  7. Writing my first book– finding the process exciting & love both lists.

    Lisa Burns | Feb 19, 2010 | Reply

  8. You kindness and generosity in sharing this list is truly appreciated!

    Patsy | Apr 18, 2010 | Reply

  9. Many thanks!these are quite helpful for me. i always feel that i can’t find the right word. thanks again.

    Lynn | Nov 20, 2011 | Reply

  10. I am teaching an academic writing class for freshman, and I was really excited to see these lists! But it looks like the links are corrupted. If you are able to fix them, please let me know, I would be eternally grateful!

    Elizabeth | Oct 8, 2012 | Reply

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