Home > Articles > Business & Management > Personal Development

This chapter is from the book

Using Words in Special Ways

Words are used to paint pictures. Public speakers, teachers, radio broadcasters, and others who have an audience listening to a voice as their primary medium for communication paint pictures with words.

Weave in Beautiful Words

What words make you feel warm and happy? Sure, it’s different for all of us, but there are some words with universal appeal (at least in English). The British Council, which oversees education of the English language, conducted a study of the “Most Beautiful Words in the English Language.”

40,000 people participated in the study. The top ten words were the following:

  1. Mother
  2. Passion
  3. Smile
  4. Love
  5. Eternity
  6. Fantastic
  7. Destiny
  8. Freedom
  9. Liberty
  10. Tranquility

In our culture, there appears to be a growing trend of taking words that are nouns and converting them into verbs. Verbed (a word that has been used by many in the social media blogosphere to signify that so many nouns have become verbs in our everyday language) has made its way into the mainstream and is used in everyday language.

Some used more frequently are in regard to social media. The social networking site Facebook, which includes users from President Obama to our own mother and grandmother, has also become a verb itself used to describe the action of communication. Facebooking someone now means to send a message or post to his or her wall. The process works in reverse as well. The term for this is nominalization; when you turn a verb (or an adjective) into a noun, you nominalize it, creating a nominalization.

Examples include the following:











Some verbs do not change their form when nominalized, such as the following:







Another example of converting a noun into a verb is the search engine Google. Don’t know the answer to something? Then Google it. The same can be said for texts. The action of sending a text has become shortened and used as the verb texting.

Power verbs are vigorous, direct words and should be active not passive. An example of a passive approach would be, “The employee survey was conducted with a small sample.” A much better active approach would be, “We conducted the employee survey with a small sample.” The speaker should use the passive voice when it is important to focus on the object of or recipient of the action rather than on the actor.

Power verbs used in this book denote some sort of action. Our concept of action includes, but is not limited to, movement, feelings, cognition, attention, creation, transfer of something, or change of condition. However, there will be verbs that aren’t really full of action, per se, such as resemble, relate, and so on. So, one more exception to the many rules of English: Not all of our power verbs will express direct action.

Power verbs are a way to express a critical action or condition not as a noun, but as a verb.

For example, this sentence:

  • “The office manager made a decision in favor of an early closing due to the weather.”

could be replaced by a better construction:

  • “The office manager decided to close the office early due to the weather.”

Another example:

The sentence:

  • “Sufficient tests were conducted on the new hardware by the IT staff.”

could be replaced by a better construction:

  • “The IT staff tested the hardware sufficiently.”

In these examples, the power verbs gave the sentence more pop and more emphasis and the sentence was shortened, making it easier to read and understand.

We know we told you no grammar, but we have to support the purpose of the power verb. Verbs are the most important part of a sentence or phrase. They assert something about the subject and express action, event, or state of being. The verb is the critical element of what the sentence is about (predicate).

To determine the subject of a sentence, first identify and isolate the verb and then ask a question by placing who or what before it and your answer is the subject.

Note: Be careful of sentences that begin with there plus any form of the verb to be. In these cases, there is not the subject—it merely signals that the true subject will follow.

Sentences that give a command or an order differ from conventional sentences in that their subject, which is always you, is understood rather than expressed.

Sit for the exam. (You is understood before sit.)

The English language has three main types of verbs (there are more, but remember, this isn’t a grammar book):

  1. Transitive

    A transitive verb is a power verb that takes on one or more direct objects, which is another way of saying the power verb is followed by a noun or a noun phrase. The meaning of the power verb (transitive verb) is incomplete without the direct object(s). To determine whether a power verb is transitive, simply ask if the action is done to someone or something.

    Does the subject act upon someone or something? If it does, the power verb is transitive, and the person or thing that receives the action is the direct object.

    Of course, there is a grammatical term direct objects. Why? Because they refer to the object being acted upon.


    A way to identify the transitive verb is to invert the sentence, making it passive:

    1. The plan was read by my associate.
    2. The national sales contest was won by our sales team.

    The meaning of a transitive verb is incomplete without a direct object.

  2. Intransitive

    An intransitive verb is a power verb that does not have a direct object—power verbs that are not directly followed by a noun or adjective. Most of the time, intransitive verbs are followed by an adverb—a word that addresses how, where, when, what, and how often. The action ends or is modified by an adverb or adverb phrase rather than being transferred to someone or something else. Typically, an adverb or verb ends the sentence.

    To determine whether the power verb is intransitive, ask whether the action is done in some way, in some direction, or in some degree. Does a noun or power verb receive the action? The power verb does not pass on its act to anyone or anything in the sentence. Such intransitive verbs generally dissipate action in themselves.


  3. Linking

    Linking verbs are power verbs that do not show action; instead, the linking verb renames or describes the subject. Linking verbs do not act on an object but simply make English sentences flow correctly and smoothly. Their primary function is to connect the subject of the sentence to a complement, the part of the sentence following the verb, which is the word or group of words that complete the predicate.

    Power verbs cannot be followed by an adverb or end a sentence but instead must be followed by a noun or an adjective, whether in a single word or phrase.

    Current linking verbs indicate a state of the subject, such as appear, be, became, feel, look, remain, seem, smell, sound, stay, and taste.


    1. The chairman of the board looked worried.
    2. Tom remained a reliable employee.

    Resulting linking verbs indicate that the verb complement’s role is a result of the process described in the verb, such as become, get, grow, fall, prove, and run.

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information

To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.


Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.


If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information

Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information

Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents

California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure

Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact

Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice

We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020