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How to Find an Action Verb in a Sentence


Sentences are made up of two basic parts: the subject and the predicate. The subject tells what or whom the sentence is about. The predicate tells something about the subject or what the subject is doing. The subject and predicate can each be one or more words. Within the predicate, the action verb describes exactly what the subject is doing. You can practice finding action verbs by breaking sentences apart.

Read the sentence.

Identify the subject. The subject is the most important noun in the sentence, the noun that is doing something or being described. It might be a person, animal or object. The noun may have modifying adjectives, such as in the phrase, "the big, furry dog."

Find the part of the sentence that tells what the subject is doing. Isolate the action word. The action word may be an obvious verb, such as runs, throws or jumps. The action word may also be more subtle, such as helped, thought, or said. For example, in the sentence: "The big, furry dog runs," runs is the action verb.

Tip
  • Do not confuse an action verb with a linking verb, which connects the subject to a noun or adjective or action verb, but does not express an action itself (am, is, are, were, etc.).
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About the Author

Rachel Pancare taught elementary school for seven years before moving into the K-12 publishing industry. Pancare holds a Master of Science in childhood education from Bank Street College and a Bachelor of Arts in English from Skidmore College.

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