Sunday, May 25, 2014

Verb! That's what's happening!

By: Stephanie Burkhart 

I know, I'm dating myself here, but for those who can remember, do you recall School House Rock  in the 1970's? At the time, as a young girl, I thought those snippets were pretty corny, but I can recite the Preamble to the US Constitution, I know what a bill is, I heard the shot go 'round the world that kicked off the US Revolution, and I traveled the solar system with Interplant Janet.

On the grammar side of the house who could forget such classics as: Noun is a Person, Place, or Thing, Conjunction, Conjunction, what's your function, Lolly, Lolly, Lolly get your Adverbs here and one of my all time favorites: Verb! That's what's happening!

Here's my tip:

There's always a better/stronger verb.

Don't get me wrong, there are times when "was" and "had" work and work well, but whenever I write a sentence using those words, I usually pull back and see if I can write the sentence using a stronger verb.

Some of my favorites: sluiced, offered, approached, gestured, motioned, and marched.

Feedback: What are your favorite "go-to" stronger verbs?

Go here to visit the Verb! That's What's Happening video on You Tube:

PS: My boys were 9 and 4 when they found the School House Rock song on ITunes from the 1970's and LOVED them. Now I'm the proud owner of Season 1 and Season 2, and the kids can recite the preamble to the US Constitution, too.

Author Bio: Stephanie Burkhart is a 911 dispatcher for LAPD. She adores chocolate, enjoys coffee and  loves taking long walks.  She'll be participating in the 5K walk to end Alzheimers in Santa Clarita, CA in September. Her children's book, The Giving Meadow, is published with 4RV Publishing.








  1. Oh, so many memories in School House Rock on Saturday mornings. The Great American Melting Pot was one of my favorites.

    Nodded, glared, harrumphed, and strolled tend to find their way into my work. Like you, every time I see was or had I have to go back and see what I can do with them.

  2. Thanks for stopping by, Cheryl. I liked Schoolhouse rock a lot growing up. What strikes me is how much my kids love it 30 years later!


  3. Always a good reminder about using stronger verbs. Most of our mss can be improved with changing a few verbs.