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Action Verb

An action verb is a word that describes what action the subject of a sentence is doing. An action verb can convey a specific emotion or the purpose of the sentence subject.

What is an Action Verb?

It has been said above that you "arrived" at this post. In fact, "arrive" itself is an action verb. This is because in essence, an action verb is simply a type of verb that can be used in order to say that a given subject or character has done a certain thing (such as you arriving here). 

The idea of the action verb is thus somewhat self-explanatory; most of what you need to know about it can be found in its name itself. 

Examples of Use 

Here is an example of the action verb being used correctly in a sentence. 

"I was cooking dinner last night, but I stopped and walked over to the door when the bell rang."

In this sentence, the verbs "cook", "stop", and "walk" are all used in the proper way that an action verb is meant to be used. 

Now, here is an example of the action verb being used in an incorrect way. 

"I am looking like a fool, I'm sure, because I used a form a speech that a lot of people may not be able to understand."

In this context, the verb "look" is incorrectly being used as an action verb; the sentence should say, "I look like a fool." 

Simple Rules to Remember

In case you're still a little confused, here are some guidelines that can help you properly use the action verb. 

  1. Think about whether a verb can refer to your own body directly affecting the world in some way. If so, then it is probably an action verb. 
  2. Sometimes, whether a verb can be used as an action verb depends on the context. For example, "exist" is usually not an action verb; but it can be used as one, if you were to say: "I am existing in state of overwhelming joy." 
  3. Improper use of action verbs may be somewhat common for people speaking with a foreign accent, because this is a somewhat subtle aspect of English grammar

More on Action Verbs

In general, the action verb can be subdivided into two main categories. The first kind of action verb is the transitive action verb, and the second kind is the non-transitive action verb. The transitive kind is used when a verb generally implies an object. For example, the action verb "sent" cannot commonly be used without indicating what exactly was sent. On the other hand, the action verb "ran" could potentially be modified with details; or, one could simply say, "I ran." and this would be a legitimate sentence, as it contains both a noun, and an action verb describing the action taken by the noun.

When thinking about whether a verb is an action verb, it is very important to keep context in mind. For example, with the verb "hear", it might sound awkward if someone were to say, "I am hearing the orchestra." On the other hand, though, when someone in a business meeting says, "I'm hearing you", they actually are using "hear" properly as an action verb. Sometimes, turning a non-action verb into an action verb can be a way of really emphasizing that you are in fact doing what you say you are doing (such as, for example, hearing someone). The proper grammar can thus be flexible, at least to some extent. 

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