ELA 4: Using Strong Verbs instead of Weak Ones

Strong verbs are perfect for conveying heavier and more striking meanings to your sentences. They're a lot more exciting than weak verbs are. Just look at those muscles.

4th GradeLanguage Arts
Elementary and Middle School4th Grade
LanguageEnglish Language

Transcript

00:28

And it's always better to use strong verbs whenever possible.

00:31

If nothing else, they can always help you change a tire if the need arises. [Strong verb lifting a car up with one arm]

00:35

Weak verbs are verbs that have no power. [Weak verb with floppy arms]

00:38

Meaning that they're not very descriptive, or they're generic, or they just don't have [Coop pointing at a blackboard]

00:41

that oomph you're looking for.

00:43

Strong verbs, on the other hand, are to the point, descriptive, less common and important-sounding, [Dino pointing at a blackboard]

00:49

and they carry a whole lotta oomph.

00:52

We’re talking oodles of oomph. [Dumper truck with the word oomph falling out the back]

00:54

Now we know what you're probably thinking: “what in the world does that actually mean,

00:58

and why do I want my verbs to have oomph anyway?” [Guy looking thoughtful in front of his computer]

01:01

We get it.

01:02

It's a bit confusing, and a little hard to describe what exactly the difference is between them.

01:06

So, we’ll show you.

01:08

Look at this image.

01:09

Sure, you could say that Suzy is going to the store. [Suzy stood in a store car park]

01:12

But that would be weak.

01:14

“Going to” doesn’t really tell us much, aside from the basics.

01:18

Instead, we could say Suzy is walking to the store.

01:20

Okay…so now we know how she got there. [Suzy walking in the palking lot]

01:23

She didn’t take her bike, or fly there. [Suzy flying on her bike with ET in the basket]

01:26

But what if we said, “Suzy is skipping to the store.”?

01:30

Skipping.

01:31

Now that's a strong verb.

01:33

It's a bit unusual, in that you don’t see the word all the time…and it’s exciting,

01:37

and descriptive, and carries boatloads of oomph.

01:40

Check out Thomas here.

01:42

We could say “Thomas sat in the chair,” but that's so boring and weak. [Thomas sat on a couch]

01:46

Not you, Thomas. Chillax. [Thomas jumps out the couch and looks angry]

01:48

Instead, we could say that Thomas slouched in the chair.

01:51

Much stronger.

01:52

Much clearer.

01:53

When Jessica's goldfish died, some might say she cried. [Girl looking sad]

01:56

But since we're in the business of using strong verbs, we would say that she mourned.

02:02

Instead of “jump” we could use “leap.”

02:04

Instead of “threw” we could say “chucked.”

02:06

Instead of “laughed” we might try “cackled.”

02:08

You get the idea. [The weak and strong verbs being written on a blackboard]

02:09

When you're speaking and writing, you want your words to be as powerful as possible,

02:13

and that means using the strongest verbs you can come up with. [Weak verb and old guy in the gym turn strong when an explosion goes off]

02:16

So the next time you're writing, don't be weak.

02:18

Be strong! [Teacher crushes chalk]

02:19

It will make your sentences jump right off the page.

02:22

Sorry…leap right off the page. [The word leap jumps off a diving board]