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#WeekendWatch: Using Strong Verbs

#WeekendWatch: Using Strong Verbs published on 18 Comments on #WeekendWatch: Using Strong Verbs

Our #WeekendWatch focuses on revision strategies that strengthen your writing. Strong verbs can improve everything you write. They are particularly helpful in your job application documents, where strong verbs show off your capabilities.

The ideas in today’s video can apply to your Analysis project. In some of the columns of your table, you will most likely use fragments. Here’s an example for the kinds of writing I do, for instance:

Kind of Writing Description
  • Explains course goals and requirements.
  • Outlines the policies for the course.

The verbs in the Description column (in bold) strengthen the document. Just as a reminder: Your tables should include more information than just description.

Find out more about how to revise for strong verbs by watching the video (2m10s).


Note: This video has closed captioning, so it does not need a transcript.



I absolutely love the example at the end of the video. It samples a heavily technical sentence, possibly an abstract/summary of a study, and transforms it into a new sentence with much more clarity. I often find myself reading technical writings that start off on a long subject and lack any form to control the sentence. I have to reread it. I think strong verbs are important to strong writing skills–they engender purpose in its message.

I agree with you that the example at the end of the video was very helpful! Adding the verb to the beginning of the sentence because the subject was very lengthy, it allowed the sentence to be more readable/understandable. I feel that I need to do better about this when I am writing. So this video has helped me realize that I need to use strong verbs in order to make a sentence easier to understand. Using this technique will make the columns for the analysis of writing project easier for others to understand.

I think the video and article are both good examples of how we should write our resumes. In a resume you want verbs that jump out at you and keep you engaged with the reading. It’s important to have words like they said in the article that are more exciting to use. I also think it’s so true that when you’re reading something and the verb doesn’t come for a while, that the reader gets lost. In a lot of scientific writing that can be the case, but if the verb gets used near the beginning of the sentence it’ll be easier to understand the statement that they are trying to make.

I agree. When I visited the Smith Career Services, they emphasized the importance of using effective verbs in certain sections of the resume, especially the work experience. You want to say how you “analyzed” this case, or how you “conducted” that experiment (recruiters see value in that more than you do) . As for placement, verbs should be placed amongst the first few words in the sentence to allow readers to keep up with context and not get lost. Since I do a lot of data analysis, I’ll make sure I become a better story-teller by having better verbal skills and being as straightforward as I possibly can.

This is a really important topic for anyone who commits to change management systems, Git in particular. Strong verbs are a central part of writing high-quality commit messages.

Commit message quality, like most of the communication a professional software engineer does, relies on conciseness, preciseness, and completeness. Leading your commit message with a strong verb (in imperative mood and present tense) leads to much higher consistency and information density, which saves enormous time for everyone who subsequently needs to read that commit message (including your future self). The canonical Git commit message format includes just 50 characters for the subject line, so it’s easy to see the impact of saving a word or two from using a strong verb (instead of a noun phrase with a weak verb) and a couple characters from using present tense (instead of using past tense).

Sticking to this commit message format also provides a good way to determine the quality of the commit itself; if writing the subject of the commit message to start with a strong verb is difficult, it’s a good indication that your commit isn’t well constructed – it’s either trying to do more than one thing or doesn’t completely encapsulate the one thing it’s supposed to be doing.

I agree with the previous mention of the video’s last example being helpful. I appreciated the clarity of the message. I know I am guilty of making the same mistakes as this example journal, probably because I would read that format in a journal and assume it was the way it was done. I haven’t taken any writing or English classes since high school so I molded my collegiate writing style on documents that I assumed were written by people who knew best. Clearly, that assumption was wrong. I will actively work on improving and changing my style to include stronger words.

I really liked the writing style that this video was promoting. I think that writing should be kept as concise as possible while still getting the message across, which they did a great job of explaining in this video. Writers should work to remove unnecessary words or phrases from their writing, because it makes their writing less jumbled and emphasises the point they’re trying to get across. Additionally, active verbs make for much better writing than passive verbs. Also, just as a personal opinion about the video, I found the backgrounds kind of distracting.

There was one phrase in the video that really stood out to me. The speaker said putting a verb at the beginning of the sentence makes it “easier” to read. I was thinking the purpose of strong verbs and revisions is to make the sentence sound better and more sophisticated, but I understand that a nicely crafted sentence flows much better. This is important for resumes as you want an employer to easily and efficiently scan through your list of accomplishments. Wit h that in mind, we should make it a habit to read our work out loud and test how “easy” it is to read.

PSA here is a link with strong verbs to list on a resume. It is broken into job categories:

I believe that when it comes to writing, the more simple and easier it is to read, the better. At the beginning of the video, suggestions were made on how to omit certain words to make sentences better. Strong verbs are underrated because they can make or break you in terms of how you want to be portrayed (i.e to an employer, etc.). We always talk about choice of words, and that’s what this video is all about.
Great video! Very imformative

I found the video very helpful to talk about verbs, not just in using strong verbs, but also in not burying verbs in the sentence. Using strong verbs draws the reader in and eliminates wordiness. For example, a writer could use a strong verb, rather than using an adverb to describe the verb. This is especially important in the writing analysis project to decrease wordiness and increase clarity.

This is an interesting thing that talking about how to use verbs. But actually I found something common and it’s just what we talked about this time. For the long sentences with many confusing logic, some part of it is actually the meaning of one strong verb. Just like the examples in the video at the end. Many of these several words actually is just the meaning of a strong verb. Also, from the examples I can see that if you put the verb in front of the sentence, it makes a lot easier to understand the sentence since you don’t have to describe the meaning of the verb in the sentences. Sometime a strong verb is more powerful for people to feel the meaning of the writing.

I enjoyed this video because it was clear and concise, much like the message or lesson it was conveying. The use of strong verbs can avoid confusion for the reader and get to the point much faster. The example at the end of the video summed the points of the video up and displayed how effective strong verbs can be. Rearranging the structure of a sentence or paragraph can make a major difference.

This video taught me how to use verbs correctly. Using a verb currently and placing it in the right place can leave a better impression to the readers. I love the last example of this video. The modified version definitely stood up immediately. It brought up the verb to the front of the sentence and emphasize the meaning without lost readers’ attention.

I agree with what you said about leaving a better impression on the readers. When we substitute the words “obtain” with something more concrete that actually explains what you did, it keeps the readers engaged in what you’re saying because you’re using action verbs. These verbs make you think about what the reader is saying and appreciate their emphasis on what they see as important to share with the reader without using verbs that don’t have substance.

I found this video to be helpful when thinking about my Analysis assignment. It also reminded me of when I got to college and had help reviewing my resume. I got some very good advice, similar to the video, about using strong verbs, specifically to describe tasks from internships. Using strong verbs in my Analysis assignment will help it stand out.

Eventhough the video is quite short and simple but I really like the main lesson about it which is to just be direct in putting verbs for our sentences. The last example though really make me realised how sometimes I tend to do that by putting the subject and the verb farther from each other just for the sake of filling in the details. Now I know how to still putting out the details in our sentences but in a proper way that will not make the reader feeling confused or feeling exhausted reading it by making the subject and the verb close to each other.

While this video is short, it has helped me understand how to use verbs more effectively in my writing. The first example especially helped me realize that I have a tendency to bury a verb in a sentence. I believe that this is due to the fact that for many assignments I have had throughout my educational career there have been word counts that are easier to achieve if you use a bunch of “fluff” in every couple of sentences. This video made me realize that this actually makes a document harder to read as it might not be very reader friendly. Instead, getting straight to the verb in the sentence will help achieve the goal of getting your point across to the reader more clearly.

This video was very short, but informative at the same time. In a short period of time, I learned how to use verbs to make my sentences more readable. I did not realize the importance of verb’s placement until I watched this video. From now on, I will try to apply the knowledge I gained from this video especially when I’m writing my analysis assignment.

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