Ahh … verbs!

They carry your character from place to place, and from predicament to predicament.

They put the action in your tale.

They’re the engine that makes your story *go*.

But verbs can cut both ways, can’t they?

No matter how exciting your soccer-playing, Supermom, international spy — who also happens to be President of a first-world nation — seems, there will be plenty of time when she just “says” stuff.

And even when her world “explodes,” it will start to sound commonplace after the 10th or 11th time.

What you need is a way to spice up the movement in your story — something to keep the action fresh and, well, moving.

Active verbs, in other words. And plenty of them.

To help you out, I’ve compiled a list of 173 of the most active verbs you’ll find and brought them together below. Not only that, but they’ve brought along about 1300 of their friends — spicy synonyms that will add even more pep to your prose.

I used two rules for making this list:

1) All the verbs had to be active (duh!)
2) No repeats, either in the main words or the synonyms

In the end, that leaves you with nearly 1500 verbs to help bring your writing to life.

Enjoy. Or should I say, “savor”?

BONUS! Want a handy PDF version of this list of active verbs? Just click here to download your copy now.

Expand All | Collapse All

achieve

  • do
  • enact
  • reach
advertise

  • announce
  • bill
  • call attention to
  • make known
  • make public
  • promulgate
  • publicize
  • trumpet
 
agree

  • accept
  • acknowledge
  • comply
  • concur
  • consent
  • nod
 
allocate

  • allot
  • apportion
  • assign
  • dish out
  • dole out
  • give out
 
analyze

  • look over
 
answer

  • comeback
  • defend
  • deny
 
appear

  • arise
  • arrive
  • bloom
  • develop
  • emerge
  • flash
  • flower
  • manifest
  • materialize
  • show
  • spawn
  • surface
 
appraise

  • gauge
  • price
  • quote
  • rate
  • size up
  • value
 
approve

  • agree to
  • assent to
  • back
  • bless
  • consent to
  • endorse
  • recommend
  • rubber-stamp
  • subscribe to
 
argue

  • allege
  • assert
  • bicker
  • contend
  • disagree
  • dispute
  • insist
  • reason
  • squabble
  • wrangle
 
ask

  • cross-examine
  • demand
  • grill
  • inquire
  • interrogate
  • needle
  • plead
  • pose
  • proposition
  • query
  • question
  • quiz
  • request
  • solicit
 
attack

  • ambush
  • assail
  • assault
  • barrage
  • batter
  • battle
  • beat
  • beset
  • bombard
  • charge
  • clobber
  • combat
  • hammer
  • molest
  • overwhelm
  • raid
  • rush
  • smite
  • storm
  • strike
  • waylay
 
attempt

  • chance
  • embark
  • endeavor
  • gamble
  • seek
  • shot
  • strive
  • tackle
  • try
  • undertake
  • venture
 
balance

  • assess
  • compare
  • counteract
  • equal
  • evaluate
  • level
  • neutralize
  • poise
  • stabilize
  • steady
 
break

  • burst
  • bust
  • crack
  • damage
  • explode
  • fracture
  • fragment
  • pulverize
  • rend
  • rupture
  • shatter
  • smash
  • snap
  • splinter
  • tear
 
bring

  • carry
  • convey
  • deliver
  • fetch
  • gather
  • guide
  • import
  • lug
  • pack
  • pick up
  • retrieve
  • return
  • tote
 
build

  • construct
  • create
  • erect
  • fashion
  • firm
  • form
  • fortify
  • frame
  • layer
  • raise
  • reinforce
  • shape
  • stack
 
bump

  • butt
  • clatter
  • jar
  • jolt
  • jostle
  • knock
  • nudge
  • rap
  • slam
  • tap
  • thump
  • whack
 
caclulate

  • anticipate
  • figure
  • intend
  • mean
 
call

  • bawl
  • bellow
  • exclaim
  • hail
  • holler
  • proclaim
  • roar
  • scream
  • shout
  • signal
  • summon
  • utter
  • yell
 
catalog

  • index
  • inventory
  • record
  • tally
 
categorize

  • assort
  • pigeonhole
  • typecast
 
change

  • adapt
  • adjust
  • alter
  • blur
  • distort
  • evolve
  • fluctuate
  • flux
  • modify
  • mutate
  • reform
  • shift
  • switch
  • transform
  • twist
  • vary
  • warp
 
chart

  • delineate
  • lay out
  • map out
  • outline
  • sketch
 
chase

  • case
  • follow
  • hound
  • hunt
  • pursue
  • shadow
  • stalk
  • track
  • trail
 
choose

  • determine
  • draw
  • opt
  • pluck
  • prefer
  • select
  • vote
  • winnow
 
climb

  • ascend
  • crest
  • heave
  • mount
  • rise
  • scale
  • scramble
  • shimmy
  • spring
  • top
 
close

  • batten
  • cage
  • fasten
  • fold
  • lock down
  • plug
  • seal
  • secure
  • sheathe
  • shut
  • shutter
 
coach

  • school
 
code

  • encrypt
 
collect

  • accrue
  • amass
  • assemble
  • cache
  • compile
  • corral
  • garner
  • group
  • harvest
  • hoard
  • reap
  • save
  • scrape
  • stockpile
  • store
 
come

  • advance
  • approach
  • attend
  • converge
  • meet
  • show up
 
complete

  • actualize
  • cap
  • consummate
  • crown
  • supplement
  • wrap up
 
compose

  • concoct
  • devise
  • make up
  • think up
 
compress

  • abbreviate
  • constrict
  • restrict
  • shorten
 
conduct

  • manage
  • orchestrate
  • oversee
  • regulate
  • supervise
 
contact

  • communicate with
  • get in touch with
  • notify
 
convert

  • bring to god
  • evangelize
  • metamorphose
  • proselytize
  • re-educate
  • transfigure
  • transmute
 
counsel

  • admonish
  • caution
  • confab
  • kibitz
  • tip
  • tout
  • urge
 
cover

  • blanket
  • bury
  • cloak
  • clothe
  • cloud
  • conceal
  • crust
  • curtain
  • disguise
  • enclose
  • envelop
  • film
  • mask
  • obscure
  • screen
  • shade
  • shelter
  • shield
  • shroud
  • smother
  • veil
  • wrap
 
critique

  • appreciate
  • comment
  • criticize
 
cross

  • bridge
  • cut over
  • ford
  • glide
  • pass
  • traverse
 
cry

  • bray
  • cheer
  • hoot
  • howl
  • mewl
  • screech
  • shriek
  • squall
  • squeal
  • trill
  • wail
  • whimper
  • whoop
  • yammer
  • yelp
 
customize

  • contrive
  • custom-make
  • personalize
  • tailor
  • tailor-make
 
cut

  • axe
  • carve
  • chip
  • chop
  • cleave
  • crop
  • dissect
  • divide
  • hack
  • hew
  • nick
  • pierce
  • prune
  • saw
  • score
  • sever
  • shave
  • shear
  • slash
  • slice
  • snip
  • thin
  • trim
 
decide

  • adjudge
  • adjudicate
  • arbitrate
 
demonstrate

  • authenticate
  • exhibit
  • indicate
  • manifest
  • testify to
 
diagnose

  • distinguish
  • pinpoint
 
dig

  • burrow
  • core
  • delve
  • dredge up
  • drill
  • excavate
  • exhume
  • gouge
  • hollow
  • mine
  • rout
  • tunnel
  • unearth
 
direct

  • accompany
  • administer
  • command
  • control
  • escort
  • govern
  • usher
 
drag

  • haul
  • pull
  • tow
  • transport
  • trawl
  • tug
  • yank
  • yarn
 
educate

  • cultivate
  • discipline
  • enlighten
  • inform
  • rear
  • tutor
 
eliminate

  • destroy
  • do away with
  • eradicate
  • get rid of
  • put an end to
  • remove
 
enforce

  • bring to bear
  • impose
  • prosecute
 
enlist

  • engage
  • enroll in
  • get
  • join up with
  • sign up for
  • volunteer for
 
enter

  • access
  • barge in
  • board
  • burst into
  • drop in
  • encroach
  • infiltrate
  • intrude
  • invade
  • penetrate
  • trespass
  • wander
 
escape

  • avoid
  • bail
  • bolt
  • clear out
  • dodge
  • duck
  • elude
  • evade
  • flee
  • sidestep
  • slip out
  • sneak away
 
establish

  • authorize
  • base
  • domiciliate
  • found
  • inaugurate
 
execute

  • bring about
  • carry out
  • engineer
  • put into effect
  • render
  • stage
 
experiment

  • conduct research
 
explain

  • account for
  • describe
  • make clear
  • put into words
  • spell out

fall

  • buckle
  • collapse
  • crash
  • crumple
  • dive
  • drop
  • pitch
  • plummet
  • plunge
  • sink
  • slant
  • slip
  • slump
  • spill
  • stumble
  • topple
  • trip
  • tumble
fight

  • brawl
  • clash
  • duel
  • feud
  • grapple
  • joust
  • quarrel
  • scrap
  • scuffle
  • skirmish
  • spar
  • struggle
  • tussle
  • war
  • wrestle
 
file

  • alphabetize
  • docket
  • slot
  • tabulate
 
find

  • acquire
  • catch
  • detect
  • discover
  • expose
  • locate
  • notice
  • obtain
  • reveal
  • solve
  • uncover
 
fit

  • apply
  • arrange
  • blend
  • cram
  • force
  • implant
  • jam
  • lock
  • mold
  • nest
  • place
  • pound
  • press
  • rig
  • set
  • stuff
  • wedge
 
fix

  • cobble
  • correct
  • cure
  • darn
  • doctor
  • improve
  • maintain
  • mend
  • patch
  • rebuild
  • refit
  • renovate
  • repair
  • restore
  • service
  • tinker
 
forecast

  • foresee
  • foretell
  • predict
  • prognosticate
  • prophesy
 
formulate

  • hatch
  • thunk up
 
generate

  • cause
  • engender
  • provoke
 
get

  • accomplish
  • attain
  • earn
  • elicit
  • extract
  • gain
  • inherit
  • procure
  • receive
  • take
  • win
 
give

  • award
  • bequeath
  • bestow
  • confer
  • dispense
  • distribute
  • donate
  • gift
  • grant
  • hand
  • offer
  • parcel out
  • present
  • sacrifice
  • toss
 
grab

  • apprehend
  • appropriate
  • arrest
  • claim
  • clutch
  • grip
  • hook
  • net
  • seize
  • snag
  • snap up
  • snatch
  • steal
  • wrench
 
help

  • advise
  • advocate
  • aid
  • assist
  • befriend
  • boost
  • comfort
  • encourage
  • further
  • heal
  • intercede
  • nurture
  • relieve
  • serve
  • support
 
hide

  • camouflage
  • hole up
  • protect
  • smuggle
  • squirrel away
  • stash
  • stow
 
hit

  • bash
  • clap
  • deck
  • flog
  • poke
  • punch
  • ram
  • slap
  • slug
  • smack
  • smoke
  • swat
  • swing
  • wallop
 
hold

  • bolster
  • clasp
  • clench
  • cradle
  • grasp
  • handle
  • prop
  • shoulder
  • squeeze
 
host

  • have
  • put on
 
hurry

  • bustle
  • cruise
  • dash
  • expedite
  • hasten
  • hustle
  • pelt
  • quicken
  • scamper
  • scurry
  • scuttle
  • slide
  • speed
  • sweep
  • zip
 
illustrate

  • clarify
  • depict
  • embody
  • emphasize
  • epitomize
  • highlight
  • illuminate
  • mirror
  • personify
  • point up
  • portray
  • spotlight
  • typify
 
implement

  • fulfill
 
inspect

  • check
  • peruse
  • vet
 
install

  • ensconce
  • induct
  • insert
  • instate
  • site
  • situate
  • station
 
instruct

  • enjoin
  • mandate
  • prime
  • upskill
 
integrate

  • accommodate
  • assimilate
  • conform
  • consolidate
  • coordinate
  • desegregate
  • harmonize
  • incorporate
  • mesh
  • unify
 
interview

  • have a dialogue with
  • have a discussion with
  • talk to
 
join

  • add
  • adhere
  • affix
  • attach
  • cement
  • combine
  • couple
  • fuse
  • glue
  • graft
  • hinge
  • knit
  • link
  • marry
  • meld
  • merge
  • pair
  • pin
  • seam
  • splice
  • staple
  • stitch
  • tether
  • unite
  • weave
  • weld
 
judge

  • decree
  • moderate
  • pronounce
  • rule
 
jump

  • bounce
  • bound
  • hop
  • hurdle
  • leap
  • leapfrog
  • lurch
  • pounce
  • skip
  • surge
  • trounce
  • vault
 
kick

  • boot
  • dropkick
  • punt
 
know

  • discern
  • feel
  • identify
  • intuit
  • perceive
  • realize
  • sense
  • understand
 
lay

  • deposit
  • lodge
  • plant
  • position
  • put
  • rest
  • seat
  • settle
  • spread
 
lead

  • escort
  • lead the way
  • pilot
  • shepherd
  • steer
 
leave

  • abandon
  • defect
  • depart
  • disappear
  • ditch
  • evacuate
  • exit
  • forsake
  • maroon
  • quit
  • retire
  • scram
  • set forth
  • take off
  • vacate
  • withdraw
 
lecture

  • berate
  • chide
  • declaim
  • discourse
  • expatiate
  • hold forth
  • make a speech
  • rebuke
  • reprimand
  • reproach
  • reprove
  • scold
  • talk
  • upbraid
 
lessen

  • abate
  • bleed
  • blunt
  • cull
  • curb
  • curtail
  • cut back
  • dampen
  • decrease
  • deplete
  • diminish
  • dwindle
  • evaporate
  • fade
  • lighten
  • limit
  • minimize
  • mitigate
  • reduce
  • shrink
  • shrivel
  • slacken
  • taper
  • thin out
  • wane
  • weaken
 
lift

  • crane
  • elevate
  • heft
  • hike
  • hoist
  • jack up
  • raise/rise
  • uphold
  • winch
 
listen

  • eavesdrop
  • hear
  • heed
  • mind
  • monitor
  • overhear
  • tune in
 
look

  • behold
  • browse
  • eye
  • focus
  • gawk
  • glance
  • glimpse
  • leer
  • ogle
  • peek
  • peep
  • scan
  • see
  • squint
  • stare
 
make

  • beget
  • brew
  • conceive
  • design
  • forge
  • invent
  • produce
  • sculpt
 
market

  • hawk
  • merchandise
  • peddle
  • retail
  • sell
  • trade
  • vend
 
measure

  • compute
  • count
  • meter
  • plumb
  • quantify
  • size
 
mediate

  • conciliate
  • effect
  • effectuate
  • make peace
  • negotiate
  • reconcile
  • referee
  • umpire
 
motivate

  • influence
  • inspire
  • prompt
  • spur
  • stimulate
 
move

  • budge
  • displace
  • fiddle
  • jiggle
  • maneuver
  • pop out
  • relocate
  • work at
 
need

  • exact
  • require
 
open

  • bare
  • display
  • expand
  • free
  • gape
  • peel
  • release
  • unbolt
  • uncork
  • undo
  • unfasten
  • unfold
  • unfurl
  • unhinge
  • unlock
  • unroll
  • unzip
  • widen
 
order

  • adjure
  • buy
  • call for
  • tell
  • warn
 
organize

  • classify
  • codify
  • marshal
  • put in order
  • put straight
  • sort
  • systematize
 
overhaul

  • fix up
  • recondition
  • refurbish
 
perform

  • function
 
persuade

  • bring around
  • cajole
  • coax
  • coerce
  • convince
  • entice
  • induce
  • inveigle
  • lure
  • prevail on
  • tempt
  • wheedle
  • win over
 
photograph

  • reproduce
  • shoot
  • take a picture
 
pick

  • bag
 
plan

  • work out
 
play

  • act
  • caper
  • cavort
  • clown
  • dabble
  • dally
  • entertain
  • flirt
  • frisk
  • frolic
  • gambol
  • joke
  • kid
  • rejoice
  • romp
  • tease
  • toy
 
prepare

  • draw up
  • gird
  • strengthen

print

  • circulate
  • engrave
  • etch
  • impress
  • imprint
  • issue
  • mark
  • reprint
  • run off
  • send to press
process

  • deal with
  • dispose of
  • refine
  • treat
 
program

  • line up
  • timetable
 
project

  • calculate
  • cantilever
  • estimate
  • expect
  • extend
  • protrude
  • reckon
  • shed
  • shine
 
promote

  • contribute to
  • forward
  • foster
 
propose

  • come up with
  • nominate
  • suggest
  • table
 
provide

  • furnish
  • lend
  • yield
 
purchase

  • invest
  • redeem
  • shop
 
push

  • bulldoze
  • crowd
  • crush
  • drive
  • elbow
  • impel
  • muscle
  • prod
  • propel
  • shove
  • squish
  • strain
  • thrust
 
recruit

  • call up
  • conscript
  • draft
  • hire
  • levy
  • mobilize
  • muster
  • muster in
 
register

  • enroll
  • list
  • sign up
 
remember

  • call to mind
  • flash back to
  • memorialize
  • recall
  • recognize
  • recollect
  • reminisce about
  • revive
  • think back to
 
research

  • look into
 
reserve

  • defer
  • preserve
  • retain
  • set aside
  • withhold
 
resolve

  • clear up
  • iron out
 
respond

  • behave
  • come back
  • counter
  • react
  • reciprocate
  • rejoin
  • reply
  • retort
 
review

  • debrief
  • reassess
  • recapitulate
  • reconsider
  • reevaluate
  • reexamine
  • revise
 
ride

  • coast
  • gallop
  • jockey
  • surf
 
rub

  • brush
  • buff
  • caress
  • chafe
  • graze
  • grind
  • knead
  • lather
  • massage
  • nuzzle
  • polish
  • scour
  • scrub
  • smear
  • smooth
  • smudge
  • stroke
  • wipe
 
run

  • amble
  • barrel
  • canter
  • dart
  • fly
  • jet
  • jog
  • lope
  • race
  • scoot
  • sprint
  • stampede
  • streak
  • trot
 
say

  • address
  • articulate
  • banter
  • blab
  • blubber
  • chant
  • chat
  • converse
  • curse
  • dictate
  • discuss
  • drawl
  • drone
  • jabber
  • jibber
  • mouth
  • murmur
  • mutter
  • rant
  • rave
  • snarl
  • speak
  • spout
  • sputter
  • stammer
  • stutter
  • swear
 
schedule

  • appoint
 
schedule

  • book
  • card
  • set up
  • slate
 
search

  • examine
  • explore
  • ferret
  • forage
  • investigate
  • probe
  • quest
  • ransack
  • rummage
  • scout
  • sift
 
send

  • broadcast
  • cast
  • channel
  • publish
  • radiate
  • relay
  • route
  • ship
  • transfer
  • transmit
  • volley
  • wire
 
shake

  • agitate
  • churn
  • convulse
  • flutter
  • jerk
  • judder
  • palpitate
  • quake
  • quaver
  • quiver
  • rattle
  • ripple
  • shiver
  • shudder
  • slosh
  • spasm
  • squirm
  • thrash
  • throb
  • totter
  • tremble
  • tremor
  • twinge
  • twitch
  • vibrate
 
sit

  • crouch
  • flop
  • huddle
  • hunker
  • laze
  • lounge
  • park
  • perch
  • plop
  • recline
  • relax
  • roost
  • slouch
  • sprawl
  • squat
  • straddle
 
spearhead

  • originate
  • quarterback
 
split

  • halve
  • part
  • rip
  • separate
  • slit
  • sunder
 
start

  • activate
  • begin
  • birth
  • commence
  • dawn
  • erupt
  • initiate
  • launch
  • pioneer
  • sally
  • set out
 
stop

  • belay
  • cease
  • conclude
  • desist
  • discontinue
  • end
  • finish
  • freeze
  • halt
  • hitch
  • pause
  • refrain
  • rein
  • stall
  • suspend
  • terminate
 
submit

  • abide
  • acceed
  • acquiesce
  • appease
  • cede
  • concede
  • humor
  • relinquish
  • surrender
  • tolerate
  • truckle
 
succeed

  • benefit
  • overcome
  • prevail
  • prosper
  • thrive
  • triumph
 
supply

  • afford
  • cater
  • endow
  • equip
  • fill
  • hand over
  • turn over
 
test

  • tax
 
throw

  • catapult
  • chuck
  • discharge
  • fire
  • fling
  • flip
  • hurl
  • lob
  • peg
  • sling
 
touch

  • dab
  • finger
  • fondle
  • glove
  • palm
  • pat
  • pet
  • tickle
 
train

  • aim
  • exercise
  • ground
  • learn
  • point
 
translate

  • decipher
  • decode
  • express
  • gloss
  • paraphrase
  • rephrase
  • reword
 
trap

  • bind
  • capture
  • chain
  • corner
  • entangle
  • handcuff
  • imprison
  • pinch
  • restrain
  • shackle
  • snare
  • surround
 
turn

  • bend
  • circle
  • crank
  • curl
  • fork
  • lean
  • loop
  • pivot
  • revolve
  • rotate
  • round
  • spin
  • sway
  • swerve
  • swirl
  • swivel
  • tilt
  • twirl
  • whirl
 
update

  • amend
  • modernize
  • refresh
  • rejuvenate
  • renew
 
upgrade

  • ameliorate
  • make better
 
use

  • adopt
  • employ
  • manipulate
  • operate
  • practice
  • utilize
  • wield
  • work
 
validate

  • certify
  • confirm
  • corroborate
  • legalize
  • legitimize
  • ratify
  • substantiate
 
verify

  • double-check
  • find out
  • justify
  • prove
 
visit

  • call on
  • court
  • frequent
  • haunt
  • tour
 
volunteer

  • come forward
  • step forward
  • tender
 
wait

  • bide
  • delay
  • dwell
  • hang out
  • hesitate
  • hover
  • idle
  • lag
  • linger
  • loiter
  • procrastinate
  • remain
  • stand
  • stay
  • tarry
 
walk

  • clomp
  • clump
  • creep
  • limp
  • lumber
  • march
  • mosey
  • pace
  • pad
  • parade
  • plod
  • prowl
  • roam
  • saunter
  • shuffle
  • slink
  • slog
  • sneak
  • stamp
  • stride
  • stroll
  • strut
  • swagger
  • tiptoe
  • toddle
  • tramp
  • trample
  • trudge
  • waddle
 
want

  • ache
  • covet
  • crave
  • desire
  • dream
  • hunger
  • long for
  • lust
  • pine
  • thirst
  • wish
  • yearn
 
wash

  • bathe
  • clean
  • cleanse
  • freshen up
  • launder
  • rinse
  • shampoo
  • shower
  • sluice
  • soak
  • soap
  • swab
 
watch

  • contemplate
  • keep tabs
  • note
  • observe
  • regard
  • scope
  • scrutinize
  • spot
  • spy
  • survey
  • view
  • witness
 
whisper

  • confide
  • mumble
  • wheeze
 
wonder

  • consider
  • debate
  • doubt
  • meditate
  • mull
  • muse
  • ponder
  • puzzle
  • ruminate
  • speculate
  • study
  • think
  • weigh
 
write

  • communicate
  • correspond
  • dash off
  • email
  • jot down
  • log
  • pen
  • put down
  • take down
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