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Table of Contents
Action Verbs are words that describe actions that can be physical or mental. They express an action or something that a person, animal, force of nature, or thing can do. There are literally thousands of words in the English language (and in other languages) that act as action words. Action words can refer to something being done by a subject to an object – that would be a transitive action verb, or something just the subject does – that would be an intransitive action verb. But don’t worry, we’ll get to that.
Let’s first start with identifying action verbs.
Identifying Action Words
Here are some simple action verbs and sample sentences found in the English language:
- look – I like to look at magazines.
- eat – You shouldn’t eat so quickly.
- play – The dog plays with its new toy
- taste – This apple tastes good.
- smell – The perfume smells nice.
- hear – I can hear the children crying.
- see – I want to see the beautiful sunset!
- run – The dog runs quickly.
- walk – Let us walk towards the beach.
When using action verbs, the sentence structure will be Subject > Action Verb > The rest of the sentence. Let’s use the first example to break it down. I is the subject, look is the action verb, at magazines is the rest of the sentence. The magazine is a direct object.
More Examples of Action Verbs:
Mike is filming his brother play in the snow.
The action verb is filming and it describes what Mike is doing. His brother is the direct object.
The dog barks.
The action verb is barks and it describes what the dog is doing.
Candy went to the grocery store.
The action verb is went and it describes what Candy has done.
To find an action verb, we need to find the word in the sentence that is something someone or something can do. Remember that the action can be physical or mental. If you are unsure whether a sentence contains an action verb or not, look at every word in the sentence and see if an action can be done.
Below are sentences that contain action verbs:
- The boys laughed at the funny clown.
- A cow eats a lot of grass.
- My classmates chose me to be their class captain.
- The whale jumped out of the ocean.
- I asked the librarian for a fantasy book.
- The hurricane stirred the ocean into a frenzy.
- Jen thought about the math problem.
- Ian reads the bible every night.
- Kindly call your mom.
- Denise wants a doll for her birthday.
Other examples of action verbs:
Tense and Action Verbs
Action verbs have past tense, present tense and future tense. Here are three examples using the verb swim.
Past tense: We swam in the cold lake.
Present tesnse: I like to swim when it’s hot.
Future tense: Will we go swimming tomorrow?
Transitive Action Words
Now that we’re more familiar with what action verbs are, we can dive a little deeper and figure out the difference between transitive and intransitive action verbs.
Simply put, a transitive verb is a word that shows what one object or thing is doing to another object or thing. For example:
- My dog ate my homework!
My dog is one object, and my homework is another object. Ate is our action verb. So, putting it all together, ate is a transitive action verb because one object is doing something to another object.
Let’s try some more transitive action verb examples:
- Lindsay poked the wobbly jelly.
- My classmates chose me to be the class captain.
- Bobby painted his door purple.
- The cat is drinking the milk.
Intransitive Action Words
Remember we explained that transitive verbs are when one object does something to another object? Well, an intransitive verb is when something or someone does not have an effect on another object. In other words, it only affects the subject. For example: Mandy sighed with relief. Mandy is the subject, sighed is the action verb, with relief is the rest of the sentence. That’s it.
Here are some more examples of intransitive action words:
- The dog barked.
- The opera singer sang beautifully.
- I eat my breakfast quickly in the morning.
- I don’t like to run.
- I’m meeting our new dog today.
Action Verbs Worksheets
This bundle contains 5 ready-to-use Action Verbs worksheets that are perfect to test student knowledge and understanding of Action Verbs which are words that express physical or mental actions. It is merely expressing an action or something that a person, animal, force of nature, or thing can do.
Don’t Confuse Action Words with Linking Verbs
While they might seem the same, action words and linking words or linking verbs are different. Linking verbs can also be called helping verbs because they connect two things together. For example: The cookies taste delicious! Here, taste is a linking verb because it connects cookies and delicious.
Another example of linking verbs would be: Megan is happy it’s Friday. Our linking verb is “is” because it connects the subject Megan with the object Friday. Can you identify the linking verbs in these sentences?
- Mary is upset
- I feel uncomfortable in a suit
- Paul seems happy
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Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.