printer friendly version | forms | site map | search

"Action Verbs" -- Definitions of Selected Functional Verbs

The verbs below are useful in concisely stating the functions of jobs. The list is intended to help you avoid the use of indefinite or ambiguous expressions.

Adapt -- Modify or change to fit specific or new situations.
Administer -- Manage or direct. (Generally requires some additional explanation to show specific detail. See "Manage".)
Advise -- Offer an informed opinion or give specialized information to others.
Analyze -- Identify the elements of a whole and critically examine and relate these component parts separately and/or in relation to the whole.
Allocate -- Assign or apportion for a specific purpose or to a particular person.
Appraise -- Judge as to quality; compare critically with established standards.
Approve -- Exercise final and decisive authority, causing action to use money, person power, materials, or equipment.
Arrange -- Make preparations for; put in proper order.
Assemble -- Gather from various sources in a pre-determined order.
Assign -- Specify or designate tasks and duties performed by others.
Assist -- Help or aid others in the performance of work where a senior employee assumes responsibility for the outcome of the work.
Authorize -- Approve or commit an act implying subsequent action by others.

Calculate -- Make mathematical calculations.
Commit -- Pledge or assign to a particular course of action.
Compile -- Put together information or assemble data in a new form.
Conduct -- Manage or carry on. Emphasis is on concept of immediate supervision or personal leadership.
Consult -- Seek the advice of another; confer; refer to.
Control -- Direct, regulate, or guide the use of money, methods, equipment, materials. Also, the process of monitoring activities to ensure conformance with planned results.
Coordinate -- Regulate, adjust or direct the related actions of others in order to attain desired results.
Create -- Produce through imaginative skill.

Delegate -- Entrust to another person tasks or duties that require exercise of some of the authority of the person originally responsible.
Determine -- Fix conclusively or authoritatively; decide; make a decision.
Develop -- Disclose, discover, perfect, or unfold a plan or idea, in detail, gradually. Implies study and/or experiment unless otherwise stated.
Devise -- Form in the mind by combinations of ideas, new applications of principles, or new arrangements of parts.
Direct -- Govern or control work operations by establishing objectives, practices, and methods.
Distribute -- Deliver documents, records, etc., to their proper destinations by mail or personal delivery.
Draft -- Write or compose papers or documents in rough, preliminary, or final form -- often for clearance and approval by others.

Edit -- Revise and prepare as for publication.
Establish -- Set up; institute; place on a firm basis.
Estimate -- Forecast future quantities, values, sizes, extents, etc., either on the basis of judgment or calculations.
Evaluate -- Appraise; consider the value of.
Execute -- Put into effect or carry out methods, plans, etc.

Facilitate -- Make easy or less difficult -- usually by doing something to advance the accomplishment of an act.
Forecast -- Predict future events based on specified assumptions.
Formulate -- Develop or devise a statement of policy or procedure; put in a systematized statement as in a statement of procedure.

Implement -- Carry out or fulfill by taking action.
Improve -- Make better.
Inform -- Communicate knowledge to others.
Initiate -- Set going or introduce for the first time, as a plan, policy or procedure.
Inspect -- Examine materials, equipment, reports, work, etc., to determine quality, suitability for use, etc.
Instruct -- Teach, demonstrate, or by other methods impart knowledge to others.
Interpret -- Explain to others (orally or in writing) the meaning or significance of something.
Investigate -- Uncover facts by systematically finding them, conducting a searching inquiry, and examining various sources.

Maintain -- Keep in satisfactory condition; keep up to date or current.
Manage -- Plan, organize, direct, control, and evaluate operation of an organizational unit, with responsibility for the output.

Negotiate -- Confer with others to reach an agreement.

Obtain -- Gain possession of; acquire.
Organize -- Arrange in functioning order through systematic planning.
Oversee -- Supervise a function or operation as distinct from supervising people.

Participate -- Take part in.
Perform -- Carry out or execute some action; carry out to the finish; accomplish.
Plan -- Devise, for a purpose, the outline of a procedure, or the general arrangement of a number of things.
Post -- Transfer or carry information from one record to another.
Propose -- Recommend or suggest for consideration or adoption.
Provide -- Supply for use; furnish.

Recommend -- Present a matter to another person for action or approval.
Refer -- Send or direct to a person or place for action, approval, etc.
Research -- Specific inquiry involving prolonged and critical investigation, having for its aim the study of new facts and their interpretation, the revision of accepted conclusions or theories that may be affected by newly discovered facts, or the practical application of such new or revised conclusions. Example: Technical research to develop new products for the company.
Review -- Consider or examine facts or results for accuracy, completeness, and suitability.

Secure -- Gain possession or control of.
Select -- Choose that which appears to be best suited for a specific purpose.
Specify -- State precisely, or in detail, or name explicitly.
Study -- Apply thought to any subject of investigation, in order to arrive at the most suitable conclusion.
Summarize -- Make an abstract; brief.
Supervise -- Personally oversee or control work performance and conduct of others, where there is opportunity for control or inspection of work performed.

Train -- Teach, demonstrate, or guide others in the performance or assigned work.

Verify -- Confirm or establish the authenticity of data by examination or other means.

Last modified: July 13, 2007
© Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute 2009. All rights reserved.