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Power and Pizzazz: No More Vanilla Verbs

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“Power verbs are emotionally edgy and powerfully positioned, with punch and pizzazz.”

~ Michael Faulkner with Michelle Faulkner-Lunsford

Power Verbs for Presenters

Of all the ways to express action in the English language, the most common and basic ones remain the blandest choices: be, do, come, give, go, have, see, seem, take, keep, make, put, send, say, let, get.

These words are among the first we learn to read and write. Nice, sturdy little words that function just fine in a vanilla-flavored world. But, as writers, little vanilla words limit us. Better to snatch up the sprinkles, hot fudge, and banana-split verbs to use instead. (Is it just me, or is anyone else scribbling: “Pick up ice cream sundae” on today’s to-do list?)

Your assignment this weekend is an editing task. Choose a paragraph you have written, find and highlight each of the sixteen vanilla verbs listed above (in any of their various forms and tenses). Next, rewrite those sentences and punch up those verbs with ones that have pizzazz.

Afterwards, seek out that ice cream sundae, and reward thyself!

Image credit Chocolate Ice Cream Sundae by TheCulinaryGeek via Flickr Creative Commons. (CC) Some rights reserved.
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