Clear Technical Writing
Engaging Action

Spot-On Verbs 2

Blurry verbs encourage reading minds to wander. Keep your reader engaged by choosing the verb that is perfect for your sentence.

Replace a verb + adverb

When we can't think of the perfect verb, we sometimes overcompensate by using an adverb that points in the direction we were thinking.

They carefully looked at the research data.

They analyzed the research data.

More examples:

actively encouragepromote

successfully clear upresolve

think carefully aboutconsider

Replace a stuffy verb phrase

Just because we write about something important does not mean we should use phrases that sound formal or legal.

The committee must afford an opportunity for customer feedback at its meeting.

At work, be direct and specific.

The committee must permit customer feedback at its meeting.

More examples:

obtain an answer tosolve

raise objections toquestion

make known to othersreveal

Rewrite a weak verb phrase

Sometimes a replacement is not enough.

Smoke from forest fires made air surveys impossible.

Smoke from forest fires prevented air surveys.

Inject a verb

Sometimes it helps to replace commentary with action.

The change in metal reduces weight, but only at the expense of a higher cost of production.

The change in metal reduces weight but increases the cost of production.

Edit your writing by underlining blurry verbs that can be replaced or rewritten.

We need to thoroughly investigate this antenna for manufacturing defects. We should also form an idea about the value of its effective radiated power. The antenna gain drops when there is a change in the polarity of the radio wave. Our new design increases performance for a more attractive cost of production.

Lesson: Spot-On Verbs 2
Module: Engaging Action
Course: Clear Technical Writing