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Do you ever wonder why a grammatically correct sentence you’ve written just lies there like a dead fish?
I sure have.
But still the sentence doesn’t work.
Even Mark Twain was quoted, regarding adjectives: “When in doubt, strike it out.”
That’s not to say there’s no place for adjectives. I used three in the title and first paragraph of this post alone.
There’s no quicker win for you and your manuscript than ferreting out and eliminating flabby verbs and replacing them with vibrant ones.
How To Know Which Verbs Need Replacing
Your first hint is your own discomfort with a sentence. Odds are it features a snooze-inducing verb.
As you hone your ferocious self-editing skills, train yourself to exploit opportunities to replace a weak verb for a strong one.
At the end of this post I suggest a list of 249 vivid verbs you can experiment with to replace tired ones.
What constitutes a tired verb? Here’s what to look for:
3 Types of Verbs to Beware of in Your Prose
1. State-of-being verbs
What constitutes a tired verb? Here’s what to look for:
These are passive as opposed to powerful:
Am I saying these should never appear in your writing? Of course not. You’ll find them in this piece. But when a sentence lies limp, you can bet it contains at least one of these. Determining when a state-of-being verb is the culprit creates a problem—and finding a better, more powerful verb to replace it—is what makes us writers. [Note how I replaced the state-of-being verbs in this paragraph.]
Resist the urge to consult a thesaurus for the most exotic verb you can find. I consult such references only for the normal word that carries power but refuses to come to mind.
I would suggest even that you consult my list of powerful verbs only after you have exhausted all efforts to come up with one on your own. You want Make your prose to be your own creation, not yours plus Roget or Webster or Jenkins. [See how easy they are to spot and fix?]
Impotent: The man was walking on the platform.
Powerful: The man strode along the platform.
Impotent: Jim is a lover of country living.
Powerful: Jim treasures country living.
Impotent: There are three things that make me feel the way I do…
Powerful: Three things convince me…
Powerful verbs are strong enough to stand alone.
The fox ran quickly dashed through the forest.
She menacingly looked glared at her rival.
He secretly listened eavesdropped while they discussed their plans.
3. Verbs with -ing suffixes
Before: He was walking…
After: He walked…
Before: She was loving the idea of…
After: She loved the idea of…
Before: The family was starting to gather…
After: The family started to gather…
The Strong Verbs List
Positive Adjectives: The Ultimate List
Instead, using positive language is a great way to avoid problematic interactions, get a better communication experience, and create a friendly, supportive atmosphere for the other person!
Positive adjectives make it easy to compliment others and put them at ease.
But what exactly are positive adjectives? What are some examples of these adjectives? And finally, what are some synonymous adjectives you could use? We will talk about this more, but first, let’s start with a simple question:
What Are Positive Adjectives?
Positive adjectives describe a person, place, thing, idea, or experience in a good, positive way.
These words can express different positive emotions, such as love, hope, happiness, and joy. Using these adjectives can make others feel motivated, uplifted, confident, or encouraged.
Most importantly for non-native speakers, positive adjectives can help ensure that your conversations remain cheerful and friendly.
List of Positive Adjectives A-Z
So, in order to better understand positive adjectives, we will divide this list into two parts: adjectives to describe personalities (of people) and adjectives to describe appearance (people or objects).
For each word, we will provide a simple definition and a couple of synonyms. This way, you can learn more words and build your vocabulary!
Positive Adjectives for Emotions, Personality, and Feelings
While there are adjectives to describe pretty much anything, many positive adjectives are reserved for describing people. More specifically, many positive adjectives describe a person’s emotions, personality, general behavior, and feelings.
Let’s look at a few common positive adjectives for describing a person’s intangible characteristics:
A-C D-H I-P R-W Positive Adjectives for Appearance
Positive adjectives don’t have to describe personality and feelings. In fact, there are plenty of adjectives to describe the appearance of things as well. Many of these adjectives are positive and can apply to both people and things.
Let’s look at a few common positive adjectives to describe appearance:
Common Synonyms for “Good”
Some of the most common positive adjectives are simply variations of the word “good.” Rather than using the same word to describe everything that is positive, the following adjectives can be used in place of “good” to amplify its meaning:
We hope this list of positive adjectives was helpful! Remember, if you want to avoid being rude or accidentally expressing negative sentiments, the words above are a great place to start. You’ll also want to learn both positive and negative adjectives so that you will have a better understanding of which words to use at what time, depending on the context of your conversation. Adding any of these positive adjectives to your vocabulary will help keep your English conversations cheerful and friendly.
Now that you know what these adjectives mean, can you use them correctly in real life conversations? We’ve invited our lead instructor to shed some light on the usage of a couple of these words that are particularly challenging to students.
Many students falter on these adjectives because they don’t have opportunities to use them in their daily lives. SpeakUp is built to solve exactly that problem: you can practice newly learned vocabulary in live group sessions, with immediate feedback from an experienced native English teacher. This helps turn passive knowledge into active language skills. And you will get to understand the nuances of these words in context. Sign up for a trial today!
50+ Strong Action Verbs You Need To Use On Your Resume Now
Writing a resume is more than just listing out your work experience, dates of employment, and job responsibilities. In fact, an effective resume is much, much more than that. Resume writing is an exercise in persuasive writing in order to market yourself to recruiters and potential employers.
So how can you make your resume stand out from the pack? An important step to help you improve your resume is to stop using passive voice and passive terms on your resume; passive terms dilute the quality and value of what you offer the employer. One of the biggest mistakes people make when writing a resume is using boring words that don’t actually tell an employer or hiring manager anything about what you have achieved, or what you are capable of accomplishing for them should you be hired.
Review your resume, and if you’re using any of the following terminology on your resume, you need to make a change today:
Demonstrated mastery of…Responsibility for…Duties included…Worked with…Familiar with…Knowledge of (or) Knowledgeable in…Qualifications include…Accomplishments include…
These are examples of passive terms that are not action-oriented, and they make for a rather lackluster resume. Instead, show the employer exactly what you’re capable of achieving and bringing to the table!
Now you’re probably wondering if those are bad terms, what are good, relevant, action words for a resume?
Below you’ll find a list of 50+ strong action verbs that you can put on your resume NOW to spice things up and stand out to employers!
Why These Are Some of the Best Resume Words
Included in the action verb list above are words that not only sound a little more polished than the old standbys of “qualified,” “proficient,” “experienced,” etc., but are words that push you to improve the entire phrase or sentence that you are using it in. For example, if you currently just have your skills listed under a section that says “Skills” and then list things like:
*Strong Leader *Problem-solving *Effective Communicator
…you’re not actually telling an employer why any of those things matter, or showing that you actually do have those skills and have accomplished something using those skills. Chances are an employer is also seeing these words listed under nearly every other applicant’s skill set section.
But, when you take action verbs from the list above and incorporate them into your Skills section, you automatically need to reshape the writing in a way that better provides insight into your unique achievements and your career history. For example, your Skills section may now read something like this:
*Fostering an environment for the optimal use of staff talents
*Devising efficient, practical solutions to problems large and small
*Conveying ideas to internal staff and external partners
See how those sound much more professional-and more worthwhile-than those buzzwords anyone can just copy off a list of resume skills you find on the internet?
When you take the time to incorporate action verbs as you write a resume, you will find that your writing on the whole transforms and forces you to dive a little deeper into what you are trying to tell hiring managers about yourself.
Why Does Word Choice Matter?
We kind of delved into this a bit at the beginning of the article, but let’s go a little deeper-it matters because you don’t want to be just another resume and cover letter at the bottom of a recruiter’s pile. You want them to read your resume, pay attention to it, and go “Wow! This person has the experience and the skills we are looking for-and they sound motivated to work here!”
If you write a resume that just has the same old buzzwords as everyone else, it’s not actually saying anything. It’s not saying anything about your experience, and it’s not saying anything about what you can bring to an employer.
Your resume needs to SHOW what you are capable of. Word choice matters in doing this. Employers don’t want to just see soft skills listed because that’s what you think they want to hear-they want a demonstration of how you put those skills to use.
Action verbs do this. Passive buzzwords don’t.
STRONG action verbs do this well. Lazy action verbs don’t.
When you’re writing a resume, remember that a strong resume has strong words. Strong words often means verbs. Use the action verbs list above as a resource to find such words, and help you avoid weaker ones.
Here are some more examples of how word choice can make a difference in the marketing document that is your resume:
Current phrase: Manager of 10 employees
Improved phrase: Unified team of 10 employees behind company goals, resulting in improved sales
Current phrase: Switched company to using new technology
Improved phrase: Championed implementation of new technology at company, resulting in improved efficiency
Current phrase: Used data to discover underlying problem
Improved Phrase: Deciphered pattern in data to solve underlying problem
Doesn’t each of those changes convey a stronger role and a more impressive achievement? And, it does so without falling into the trap of writing your resume entirely using clichés.
If you’re starting a new resume from scratch, just start using these action verbs as you write! However, if you’re going through an old resume and trying to strengthen it by replacing words and phrases, STOP.
You cannot just take this action verbs list and swap out words on your resume. Instead, you need to use these to help reshape the entire way your resume is written. Your resume is a marketing document-do not forget that.
I recommend taking your old resume, pulling out the most important information on it, and making a list of hard skills, technical skills, accomplishments, responsibilities, etc. that you want to include on a new resume. Then, think about each item you have listed and how you want to convey it to a potential employer. Jot down one or two words from this list of action verbs beside each one that you think would be best suited for it.
From here, you now have a good base to reshape your writing. It might take a little longer than just getting out the thesaurus to replace words with a simple new word, but the results will be worth the time investment.
A professional resume needs to demonstrate your investment in the position and company you are applying to. Hiring managers can tell when someone has taken the time to really focus on their resume and to convey their value through the right words. They can also tell when someone has just taken a template and filled it out, or just googled “resume keywords” and plugged those words in.
The suggested resume action verbs in this article are developed from my years working in human resources and working as a professional resume writer, and includes some of the most effective words and phrases I have seen used and that I regularly use on resumes. Use them well, and you will likely start seeing a better response to your revitalized resume-perhaps even landing an interview for your dream job.
For even more examples of how to use strong language, peruse a sample resume or two on the Great Resumes Fast samples page.
Are you tired of your resume being rejected by applicant tracking systems? I know how frustrating it is to submit your resume and receive no response. I hate seeing qualified people never break through the screening process. It shouldn’t be that way. That’s why I created this guide and I encourage you to download the FREE PDF so you can start seeing better resume response rates!
Positive Verbs That Start With C
LIST OF POSITIVE VERBS STARTING WITH C
Call to announce or say with clear and carrying voice; to ask for the presence or a meeting of; convoke; summon; to label or designate; to give the signals or ordersCalm make or become calm, steady, serene or still.Camp to act in humorously vulgar, banal or artificial manner; to lodge or shelter in a camp; settle; to set up or make a camp.Can to know how to; to be able to accomplish, make or do; to understand; used to indicate capability of physical or mental ability.Candy to coat or become coated with something sweet.Canoodle to fondle, caress, pet or make love.Captivate attract; cause to be enamored.Care feel concern or interest; have care of or look.Caress to stroke or touch in a loving or affectionate manner; to treat kindly, fondly or favorably; to cherish; to move or touch as if with a caress.Carol to sing in a joyful, cheerful and loud manner; to celebrate or praise in or as if in song.Cast to bestow or confer; to arrange or give a form to; to throw, roll or draw.Cater to provide entertainment or food; to provide or satisfy what is required or needed; to be particularly solicitous or attentive.Cause give rise to; cause to happen or occur.
Celebrate to honor by solemn rites by ceremonies of respect and joy or by refraining from ordinary business; praise eloquently; to extol.Center to place at or in the center; to direct toward a central point or center; to be concentrated or concentrate; to be focused; to have central theme.
The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate. Oprah Winfrey TWEET THIS
Chair to install in a position of authority, (especially as a presiding officer).Champion to support, protect or fight for as a champion.Chance to do something in the hope of favorable outcome.Chant intone or to sing to a chant; to celebrate or praise in song; say repeatedly with a melodic voice.Chaperon to accompany; to escort.Character to describe or portray; to write, inscribe or engrave.Characterize to describe or determine the characteristics of; to make recognizable or distinct by distinguishing traits or marks.Charm cause to be more favorably inclined; gain the good will of; to attract irresistibly; to delight exceedingly; to enchant; to fascinate.Chat to converse in a familiar, easy and relaxed manner.Cheer to cause to rejoice; to gladden; to make cheerful.Cherish to treat with tenderness and affection; to protect and aid; to hold dear; to embrace with interest; to indulge; to encourage.Chill to relax or calm down; to keep company.Chime to produce music or musical sound by striking bells; to welcome, call or send by chiming; to make known or signal by chiming; to be in harmony; to agree or correspond.Chirp to make a short, sharp and cheerful note.Chit to sprout or shoot as a plant or seed.Chortle to chuckle gleefully; laugh with restraint or quietly.Chorus sing in a choir or the chorus.Chuckle to laugh in a suppressed or inwardly manner, as expressing inward amusement or satisfaction.Chug-a-lug to drink in large gulps without pausing.Chum to display good-natured friendliness; to live together or share rooms with.
Cinch to make certain; secure or guarantee.Civilize to educate in matter of culture, technology and refinement; make more sophisticated or polished; to raise from a savage or barbarous state to a more sophisticated stage of development.
The perfect antidote to dark, cold and creepy is light, warm and cozy. – Candice Olson TWEET THIS
Crack to break open; discover solution to.Credit to award or give; to believe or trust in; to attribute or ascribe to a person; to acknowledge a contribution, action or quality.Crew recruit; serve as crew member.
Culminate reach its highest point as of rank, quality, magnitude or power; complete; climax.Cure to heal or restore health; to become healed or healthy; to remedy, remove or set free (especially something harmful); to care or give attention.
ps. See also positive adjectives starting with c and positive nouns starting with c.
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