Some Vocabulary Actions and Verbs


Verbs have traditionally been defined as "action words." Nevertheless, nouns can also convey action, can even hide primary actions within them. In the sentence below, the crucial actions of the story – the answer to the question "What's really going on here?" – are hidden in the boldfaced nouns:

Extensive evaluation of the program will be conducted by the staff in order to achieve maximum efficiency in client servicing.

All complete English sentences have verbs: in this sentence, "was conducted." But the sentence isn't really about somebody conducting something; it's about somebody evaluating something, and it's about somebody serving somebody else. And so we rewrite the sentence with the actions in the verbs:

The staff will extensively evaluate the program so that we can serve our clients most efficiently.

When you express crucial actions and conditions not in verbs but in abstract nouns, your sentences will be full of polysyllabic words ending in -tion, -ence, -ment, -act, -ing, etc. When you revise so your crucial actions are in verbs, these words and all the filler they cart along with them (extra possessives and prepositions, for example) drop right away.

In order to find out whether your crucial actions are hidden in nouns rather than standing front and center in verbs, you need to be able to identify the verbs in a sentence. Here, LRS departs from traditional grammar, so rather than throw the handbook definition at you, we'll give you two simple ways to locate verbs:
 
1. Ask whether the action that the sentence describes takes place in the past, the present or the future. Whatever the time, change it by adding yesterday or tomorrow before the sentence. Whatever word (or words) you have to change is a verb. For example,

Extensive evaluation of the program was conducted by the staff in order to achieve maximum efficiency in client service.

This refers to the past. Change it to the future:

TOMORROW, extensive evaluation of the program will be conducted by the staff in order to achieve maximum efficiency in client servicing.

2. Infinitives are verbs. Therefore, another verb occurs after the word "to":

Extensive evaluation of the program was conducted by the staff in order to achieve maximum efficiency in client servicing.