Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

Whether a piece of writing captivates the reader or not, largely depends on the verbs used. Adding one or two vivid verbs in a sentence can help readers visualise the characters’ actions better and make your story more interesting. Instead of passively telling the story, students can learn to show the characters’ actions with vivid verbs. This draws the reader into the plot.

Although this is easier said than done, with ample practice, most children should be able to use such verbs confidently.


Vivid verbs are verbs that show vividly what the subject of the sentence is doing physically or mentally. They show the actions clearly and help to paint a picture in readers’ minds.

Read these two sentences:

Sentence 1:
Kristin is angry.

Sentence 2:
Kristin clenches her fists and stomps out of the room.

Which sentence is more interesting? Which one paints a more vivid picture in your mind?

I think most of you would choose Sentence 2, am I right?

In Sentence 2, “clenches” and “stomps” are vivid verbs. They show you what a person does when he/she is angry. These vivid verbs help to paint a picture of an angry Kristin in the readers’ minds, thus making the story more interesting.

Here’s another example.

Sentence 1:
James is hungry.

Sentence 2:
James grabbed the sandwich and chomped on it immediately.

Which sentence is more interesting and paints a more vivid picture of the character in your mind?

Definitely Sentence 2, with vivid verbs “grabbed” and “chomped”.

As you can see from the above examples, adding one or two vivid verbs in a sentence can help readers visualise the characters better and make your story more interesting.


Here are some examples of vivid verbs that children can use in their writing:

  • approach
  • barge
  • bounce
  • catapult
  • chase
  • clamber
  • climb
  • cower
  • crawl
  • dance
  • dart
  • dash
  • dive
  • drag
  • flee
  • flounder
  • fly
  • frolic
  • glide
  • hasten
  • hike
  • hop
  • hurry
  • inch
  • jump
  • leap
  • limp
  • march
  • move
  • nod
  • pace
  • parade
  • plod
  • plow
  • pounce
  • prance
  • prowl
  • pursue
  • ramble
  • rush
  • sashay
  • saunter
  • scamper
  • scurry
  • scuttle
  • shake
  • skip
  • slide
  • slither
  • soar
  • spin
  • sprint
  • stagger
  • stomp
  • stretch
  • stroll
  • tiptoe
  • topple
  • toss
  • trample
  • tread
  • trek
  • veer
  • waddle
  • wade
  • walk
  • waltz
  • whirl
  • whisk
  • wiggle
  • wobble
  • writhe
  • zip
  • zoom

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