Module 3, Verbs: Types, Tenses, and Moods, Lesson 1:

Action Verbs


What Is a Verb?

In Module 1 you learned about nouns, but as you've probably guessed, a sentence needs a lot more to make it interesting. It needs some "pep," something to get it moving—and that's where the verb comes in. You can think of the noun as the driver (called the subject), the verb as the engine (the predicate), and the entire sentence as the car. You need both a driver and an engine in order for the car to go anywhere.

Definition: When most people think about verbs, they think about the first type: action verbs, also called dynamic verbs. This kind of verb tells you what's happening or what someone is doing. Some action verbs describe physical actions, and they are easy to spot because you can observe them with at least one of your five senses. These are words such as jump, sing, and eat. On the other hand, some action verbs are more abstract, and they're easy to miss sometimes because you can't always observe them with your five senses. These are words such as think, learn, and decide. Take a look at the examples below to see how action verbs are used in a sentence.

Physical Actions

The neighbor's cats meow loudly.
You hear the meow and you may see the cat open its mouth to meow.

Trucks speed down the highway.
You can see the truck speeding and probably hear the motor too.

Waves crash on the shore.
You can see and hear the wave and even feel it crash if you're standing close enough.

Abstract Actions

Students learn new material every day.
You can't actually look into someone's brain and see the learning process, but learning is still an action.

I think my shoes are under the bed.
You can't really see the thoughts going through the person's mind, but thinking is still an action. It's what you're doing.

Practice What You've Learned

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Click on the action verbs in each phrase.
When you ride your jetski, always wear your life jacket.
If you cook that chicken, please thaw it first.
When I watch movies, I always eat popcorn.
I used my new camera when I took those pictures.
We often wonder what we will do after we graduate from high school.
The principal walked into the classroom, sat in the back row, and observed the class.
The fire burned brightly in the fireplace as the children roasted marshmallows.
My little cousin often pretends that she understands what our dog says.
My sister jumped into the pool and splashed water all over the dry towels.
On Saturdays we cook tacos and eat them while we watch television.