How to use forceful verbs to make your writing more powerful

Want to give your writing a bit more punch? Try these strategies and tips for using forceful verbs in your content.

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How to use forceful verbs to make your writing more powerful


Key quotes:

  • "Do you sound smarter when you use big words? According to a study published in Applied Cognitive Psychology, the answer is No"
  • "It’s good to emphasize what you know when you’re trying to sound intelligent, but the way you talk about it matters"
  • "Oppenheimer at Princeton University, and published in the journal Applied Cognitive Psychology suggests that using long, academic-sounding words instead of simple, more easily-understood words makes people think you’re less intelligent"
  • "And Here are some ways you can start sounding brilliant: Are you one of those people who uses words more for the sound than for the sense of them? That said, Long words don’t make you sound intelligent unless used skillfully"
  • "He thinks I don’t know the ten-dollar words"
  • "But there are older and simpler and better words, and those are the ones I use.” This one is frequently broken, probably because many people don’t know the difference between active and passive verbs"
  • "Then Bob pointed and laughed, and then my cheeks flushed.” sounds better as “I shut the car door and tripped over the sidewalk"
  • "These words don’t add information to a sentence"
  • "Again, these words don’t add information"
  • "If the sentence makes sense without these words, remove them."
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Key quotes:

  • "Even the most professional writers need help coming up with substitutes for common words like “great,” “task,” or “make.” There are some words we use so quickly that we don’t think twice about them"
  • "But using these common words can mean that your emails get lost in the shuffle"
  • "You can read your writing out loud to see which words you hear over and over again"
  • "You can keep a list of words you know you overuse and perform a search function for them in your text when you’re finished with a draft"
  • "Grammarly knows this—that’s why we flag overused words for Grammarly Premium users and offer synonyms for words when you double-click on them"
  • "We’ve compiled a list of the most common words for which our algorithms have suggested synonyms recently"
  • "Those of us with desk jobs write a lot of emails, so it’s no surprise that people get tired of writing the same words over and over again"
  • "Here are some of the most common: Sometimes, it’s okay to use the plainest verb to get your point across"
  • "Here are a few of the most common verbs that users wanted synonyms for: Want suggestions like these while you type? Check out the Grammarly Editor and get synonyms with a simple double-click."
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Key quotes:

  • "An adverb is a word that modifies (describes) a verb (he sings loudly), an adjective (very tall), another adverb (ended too quickly), or even a whole sentence (Fortunately, I had brought an umbrella)"
  • "Linking verbs, such as feel, smell, sound, seem, and appear, typically need adjectives, not adverbs"
  • "An adverb would describe how you perform the action of feeling—an adjective describes what you feel"
  • "Adverbs can also modify adjectives and other adverbs"
  • "At one time, the use of the word hopefully as a sentence adverb (e.g., Hopefully, I’ll get this job) was condemned"
  • "Like adjectives, adverbs can show degrees of comparison, although it’s slightly less common to use them this way"
  • "It’s usually better to use stronger adverbs (or stronger adjectives and verbs) rather than relying on comparative and superlative adverbs"
  • "He smiled warmly A hastily written note Putting the adverb in the wrong spot can produce an awkward sentence at best and completely change the meaning at worst"
  • "The first sentence means that all Phillip did was feed the cat"
  • "The second sentence means that Phillip fed the cat, but he didn’t feed the dog, the bird, or anyone else who might have been around."
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Key quotes:

  • "Excerpted from the HBR Guide to Better Business Writing by Bryan A"
  • "Garner"
  • "More In Latest by Michael Sanger, Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic Originally published at"
  • "Written by"
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Key quotes:

  • "Read on to get the nitty-gritty on those important steps, or jump straight to the suave and sexy synonyms that will make your resume words pop and let you ditch the duds like “dedicated,” “leader,” and “manage.” Here’s a tip: Want to make sure your writing always looks great? But whether the company uses an applicant tracking system or has a human reading resumes, including words related to the company’s mission shows that you did your homework and would be a good fit for the team"
  • "For example: “At previous company, created template for documenting analytic process and streamlining business flow.” Takes the language, tweaks it, and makes you look like you’ll fit right in"
  • "Based on the specific achievements and accomplishments you want to highlight, here are lists of power words that will make your resume stand out from the crowd"
  • "Regardless of the position you’re applying for, you likely want to demonstrate that you can think critically and come up with solutions to the types of problems your potential company might face"
  • "So, now you’ve got all the words down, but are you still thirsting for more tips on what a good resume looks like?"
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