What are action words, and why should you use them?

Well, action verbs, like the list below, convey an action, they move your story forward, they make your characters do something.
Action Verbs are more descriptive, they convey a situation, something the character does. Basically, if your character "is being" something, try to use an action verb instead.

For instance:

Joe is in the car. vs. Joe drives the car. Joe parks the car. Joe starts the car.

There are many more, but if you’re not sure, use your Thesaurus.

      
Action Verbs
abandon
abduct
abolish
abscond
abuse
accelerate
accuse
achieve
acquire
act
adapt
add
address
adjust
administer
advance
advise
aim
allocate
analyze
answer
anticipate
apprehend
approach
appropriate
arbitrate
arrange
arrest
ascertain
assault
assemble
assess
attack
attain
audit
avert
bang
bar
beat
berate
bite
blast
block
blow
brighten
broke
buck
budget
built
bump
bury
bushwhack
calculate
catch
charge
chart
chase
check
choke
clap
clash
classify
climb
clip
clutch
coach
collapse
collar
collect
collide
command
commandeer
communicate
compile
complete
compose
compute
conduct
conserve
consolidate
construct
consult
control
coordinate
counsel
count
cram
crash
crawl
create
creep
cripple
crouch
cut
dance
dart
dash
deal
decide
deck
deduct
define
delegate
delineate
deliver
descend
describe
design
detect
determine
develop
devise
diagnose
dictate
dig
direct
discard
discover
display
dissect
distribute
ditch
dive
divert
do
dodge
dominate
dope
douse
draft
drag
drain
dramatize
drape
draw
dress
drill
drink
drip
drop
drown
drug
dry
duel
dunk
ease
edge
edit
eject
elevate
elope
elude
emerge
endure
engage
enjoin
ensnare
enter
equip
erupt
escape
establish
estimate
evacuate
evade
evaluate
evict
examine
exert
exhale
exit
expand
expedite
expel
explode
experiment
explain
expose
extend
extirpate
extract
extricate
fade
fake
fall
falter
fan
fast
fear
feed
feel
fend
fight
file
fill
finance
find
finger
fix
flag
flap
flash
flatten
flaunt
flay
flee
flick
flinch
fling
flip
flit
float
flog
flounder
flout
flush
fly
fondle
force
formulate
fornicate
found
fumble
furnish
gain
gallop
gather
generate
gesture
get
give
gnaw
gossip
gouge
grab
grapple
grasp
greet
grind
grip
gripe
grope
grow
growl
grunt
guide
gyrate
hack
hail
hammer
handle
hang
harass
haul
head
help
hesitate
hide
hijack
hit
hitch
hobble
hoist
hold
 
hover
hug
hurl
hurtle
hypothesize
identify
ignore
illustrate
imitate
implement
improve
improvise
inch
increase
indict
induce
inflict
influence
inform
inject
injure
insert
inspect
inspire
install
instigate
institute
interchange
interpret
interview
invade
invent
inventory
investigate
isolate
jab
jam
jar
jeer
jerk
jimmy
jingle
jolt
judge
jump
keel
kibitz
kick
kidnap
kill
kneel
knife
lash
launch
lead
lean
leap
learn
lecture
left
level
lick
limp
listen
log
lunge
lurch
maim
maintain
make
manage
mangle
manipulate
march
mark
massage
maul
measure
meddle
mediate
meet
mentor
mimic
mingle
mobilize
mock
model
molest
monitor
motivate
mourn
move
mumble
murder
muster
mutilate
nab
nag
nail
needle
negotiate
nick
nip
observe
obtain
occupy
offer
officiate
operate
order
organize
oversee
pack
paddle
page
pander
panic
parachute
parade
paralyze
park
parry
party
pass
pat
patrol
pause
paw
peel
peep
penetrate
perceive
perform
persuade
photograph
pick
picket
pile
pilot
pin
pinch
pirate
pitch
placate
plan
play
plod
plow
plunge
pocket
poke
polish
pore
pose
pounce
pout
pray
predict
preen
prepare
prescribe
present
presented
preside
primp
print
process
prod
produce
program
project
promote
prompt
proofread
propel
protect
provide
provoke
pry
publicize
pull
pummel
pump
punch
purchase
pursue
push
question
quit
race
raid
raise
rally
ram
ransack
rape
rattle
ravage
rave
read
realize
receive
recline
recommend
reconcile
reconnoiter
record
recoup
recruit
redeem
reduce
reel
refer
regain
rejoin
relate
relax
relent
render
repair
repel
report
represent
repulse
research
resign
resist
resolve
respond
restore
retaliate
retreat
retrieve
reveal
review
ride
rip
rise
risk
rob
rock
roll
rub
run
rush
sail
salute
sap
save
saw
scale
scamper
scan
scare
scatter
scavenge
schedule
scold
scoop
scoot
score
scour
scout
scrape
scrawl
scream
screw
scrub
scruff
scuffle
sculpt
scuttle
seal
search
seduce
seize
select
sell
sense
serve
set
sever
sew
shake
shanghai
shape
sharpen
shave
shear
shell
shield
shift
shiver
shock
shoot
shorten
shout
shove
shovel
show
shun
shut
sidestep
sigh
signal
sip
sit
size
skid
skim
skip
skirt
slacken
slam
slap
slash
slay
slide
slug
smack
smear
smell
smuggle
snap
snare
snarl
snatch
snicker
sniff
snitch
snoop
snub
snuff
snuggle
soak
sock
soil
solve
spear
spell
spike
spin
splatter
splice
split
spot
spray
spread
spring
sprint
spurn
spy
squeak
stack
stagger
stamp
stand
start
startle
steal
steer
step
stick
stiffen
stifle
stomp
stop
strangle
strap
strike
strip
stroke
struck
stub
study
stuff
stumble
stun
subdue
submerge
submit
suck
summarize
summon
supervise
supply
support
surrender
survey
suspend
swagger
swallow
swap
sway
swear
swerve
swim
swing
swipe
switch
synthesize
systematize
tackle
take
tap
target
taste
taunt
teach
tear
tease
telephone
terrorize
test
thrash
thread
threaten
throw
tickle
tie
tilt
tip
toss
touch
tout
track
train
transcribe
transfer
translate
trap
tread
treat
trip
trot
trounce
try
tuck
tug
tumble
turn
tutor
twist
type
understand
undertake
undo
undress
unfold
unify
unite
untangle
unwind
update
usher
utilize
vacate
vanish
vanquish
vault
vent
violate
wade
walk
wander
ward
watch
wave
wedge
weed
weigh
whack
whip
whirl
whistle
wield
wiggle
withdraw
work
wreck
wrench
wrestle
write
yank
yell
yelp
yield
zap
zip