All of these words show some kind of action. They express something that a person, animal, or object can do. That’s why we call them action verbs.
Examples of action verbs
Talking is something John can do.
Reaching is something Mary can do–especially if she doesn’t want to get wet.
Watching is something that Jennifer can do.
Exploding is something fireworks can do and they do it very well!
Churning and boiling is something water can do.
If you’re having trouble deciding if a particular word is an action verb or not, go through every word in the sentence and ask yourself, “Is this something a person or thing can actually do?”
Take a look at the sentence below:
Can you after? Is after something you can do? Can you sunrise? Have you ever seen anyone sunrise? Can you Farmer John? Can you work? Yes, you can! Can you at? I sure can’t. Can you his? Can you chores?
Obviously, there is only one action verb in the above sentence: worked.
Here’s a little story for more practice in recognizing action verbs.
Could you pick out the action verbs in that story? Action verbs are used when you want to show action or somebody doing something. The action verbs in this story are underlined.
A few more things to remember:
Action verbs can also be mental actions or things that can be seen, such as: Mary thought about her homework. She wanted a good grade.
Action verbs can have a present tense, past tense, or future tense. Examples:
Action verbs can also use a helping verb. For example,
You see, it really is easy to identify action verbs in a sentence. All you have to do is determine if it’s something that somebody or something could do and then you have it!
- Reading Skills