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30 awesome action verbs to replace "is," "are" and "was"

Sometimes, verbs of being are necessary. But a lot of the time, “is,” “are,” “was” and “were” are B-O-R-I-N-G, boring. We challenge you to run through your story and highlight every single verb of being. Then, think about which ones you can replace—try to replace as many as you can. Here are 30 fabulous verbs to get you started.


Ache, or suffer from continuous, dull pain


Bawl, or to weep loudly


Bellow, or to let out a deep, loud roar, typically in anger


Cajole, or to persuade someone to do something by using flattery


Chomp, or to chew vigorously (or fret impatiently)


Decipher, or to convert into a normal language


Dupe, or to deceive


Enchant, or to charm


Equivocate, or to use ambiguous language to conceal the truth


Falter, or to start to lose strength


Foretell, or to predict


Grumble, or to bad-temperedly complain about something in a quiet way


Hijack, or to illegally seize a vehicle in transit and force it in another direction, or use it for your own purposes


Hiss, or to make a sharp, sibilant “s” sound


Infuse, or to soak in liquid to extract the flavor or healing properties


Jabber, or to talk excitedly and quickly but make little sense


Jeer, or to make rude and mocking remarks


Knit, or to unite


Mine, or to dig or burrow in


Molt, or to shed feathers, hair or skin to make way for new growth


Ogle, or to state at in a lecherous manner


Peep, or to look quickly and furtively at someone


Pine, or to miss or long for the return of (someone)


Radiate, or to spread from a central point


Rave, or to talk wildly or incoherently


Savor, or to taste and enjoy completely


Scoot, or to go quickly


Snicker, or to give a smothered laugh


Thaw, or to melt or unfreeze


Vanquish, or to defeat thoroughly




What’s your favorite word, #inklings? Tell us in the comments!

published April 20, 2014