School House Rock: Verbs

Let's get funky with verbs!

Verbs are for when you're feeling active. Verbs express action, being, or a state of being. A verb tells you what's happening!

The University of Ottawa Writing Center asks:

What is a verb?

The verb is perhaps the most important part of the sentence. A verb or compound verb asserts something about the subject of the sentence and expresses actions, events, or states of being.

In the following sentence, the verb appears highlighted:

     Dracula bites his victims on the neck.

The verb "bites" describes the action Dracula takes.

Verbs in workplace writing and your resume.

According to the OWL at Purdue:
An action verb expresses achievements or something a person does in a concise, persuasive manner.

Why is it Important to Use Action Verbs in Workplace Writing?

You should use action verbs in workplace writing because they make sentences and statements more concise. Since concise writing is easier for readers to understand, it is more reader-centered. Because reader-centered writing is generally more persuasive, action verbs are more convincing than non-action verbs.

The following job description uses a non-action verb:

     Was the boss of a team of six service employees

The job description below uses an action verb:

     Supervised a team of six service employees

The job description using a non-action verb is less concise. It contains ten words, and it focuses action on a form of the verb "to be" (was).

The job description using an action verb is more concise. It contains seven words, and it focuses action on an action verb (supervised). The job description using an action verb is more powerful and is more persuasive.

Use action verbs in resumes to describe all skills, jobs, or accomplishments. Using action verbs will allow you to highlight the tasks you can do. Word choice is critical in order to describe what you have done and to persuade potential employers to give you an interview.

Think you've got it? Great! Try this action verb test and check your skills.


  1. This video goes over a bunch of different action verbs. An action verb is basically the action of the sentence. It is something wee do, for example walking. It is good to use action verbs in your resume because they make it interesting and they are convincing. Employers wanr to know about you and what you can do for their company, so adding action verbs will prove to them what you can contribute to the job. Action verbs are persuasive and they are easier for a reader to understand. When an employer is reading your resume and they see a lot of action verbs you are most likey going to get an interview. Reading this blog taught me the importance of using action verbs, and watching the school house rock video on verbs showed me many options of action verbs to use.


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