Action Verbs

Suggested Action Verbs for Position Descriptions

It is recommended that departments use action verbs when describing the essential and nonessential duties on a position description. Since every function of a job should be a description of something an employee does, it makes sense to lead with a word that describes that action. An action verb is a word that conveys actions or behaviors, and reflects the type of performance that is to occur. Action verbs reflect behaviors that are measurable, observable, verifiable, and reliable. The following lists are action verbs that are frequently seen in position descriptions, with a brief definition of each.

Administrative Action Verbs

advises
Offers an informed opinion or give specialized information to others.
adapts
Modifies or changes to fit specific or new situations.
administers
Oversees the operational details of a process or program (generally requires some additional explanation to show specific detail.) See manages.
appoints
Sets, officially, arranges.
approves
Exercises final and decisive authority, causing action to use money, manpower, materials, or equipment.
arranges
Make preparations for, to plan.
authorizes
Approves or commits an act implying subsequent action by others.
checks
Proofs or reviews for errors
consults
Considers, asking advice or requests opinion of.
controls
Directs, regulates, or guides the use of money, methods, equipment, and materials. Also, the process of monitoring activities to ensure conformance with planned results.
coordinates
Regulates, adjusts or directs the related actions of others in order to attain desired results.
decides
Select a course of action.
delegates
Entrusts to another person tasks or duties which require exercise of some of the authority of the person originally responsible, as "To delegate an administrative assistant to represent the department at conferences."
deletes
Eliminates or wipes out.
determines
Fixes conclusively, regulates. To decide by choice of alternatives.
directs
Governs or controls work operations by establishing the implementing objectives, practices and methods.
enforces
Effects or gains by force. To carry out effectively.
establishes
Institutes permanently by enactment or agreement.
executes
Puts into effect or carries out methods, plans, etc.
initiates
Sets going or introduces.
manages
Plans, organizes, directs, controls, and evaluates operation of an organizational unit, with responsibility for the output.
orders
Arranges or commands to come to a specified place or decision.
organizes
Sets up an administrative structure for. Arranges by systematic planning and united effort.
plans
Designs or plots a scheme or project by means or method devised for doing something to achieve an end.
prevents
Keeps from happening or holding back.
rejects
Refuses to accept, consider or submit to.
requires
Asks for by right and authority, requests.
returns
Goes back in thought or action. Gives an official account to a superior.
stops
Keeps from carrying out a proposed action.
supervises
Personally oversees or controls work performance and conduct of others, where there is opportunity for control or inspection of work performed.
trains
Teaches, demonstrates, or guides others in the performance of assigned work.

Creative Verbs

creates
Produces through imaginative skill.
designs
Creates or fashions a plan or idea.
develops
Discloses, discovers, perfects, or unfolds a plan or idea, in detail, gradually. Implies study and/or experiment unless otherwise stated.
devises
Forms in the mind by combinations of ideas, new applications of principles, or new arrangement of parts.
establishes
Institutes permanently by enactment or agreement.
estimates
Forecasts future quantities, values, sizes, extents, etc., either on the basis of judgment or calculations. Frequently, estimating is shared with others, in which case it is more precise to use "estimate" as a noun, and to state the job's function in relation thereto, i.e., originates, analyzes, endorses, approves, etc., estimates of...
forecasts
Predicts future events based on specified assumptions.
formulates
Puts into a systemized expression or statement.
initiates
Sets going or introduces.
installs
Sets up for use.
originates
Begins or initiates.
plans
Designs or plots a scheme or project by means or method devised for doing something to achieve an end.
projects
Plans, figures, or estimates for the future.
schedules
Appoints a fixed time.

Helping Verbs

activates
Sets up or formally introduces with necessary personnel or equipment, to set in motion.
encourages
Gives help, inspires or pay patronage to.
expedites
Accelerates the process or progress of a plan, ideas.
furthers
Promotes or advances.
implements
Carries out or fulfills by taking action.
maintains
Keeps in satisfactory condition.
motivates
Provides incentive or drive.

Leadership Verbs

advises
Offers an informed opinion or gives specialized information to others.
aids
Provides with what is useful or necessary for achieving an end.
coaches
Trains by instruction, demonstration and practice. Provides performance feedback.
cooperates
Acts jointly with others. Acts or works with others to obtain a mutual benefit.
counsels
Advises or consults.
explains
Make plain or understandable.
guides
Directs, supervises, or influences the training of people.
instructs
Teaches, demonstrates, or by other methods imparting knowledge to others. Directs that a specific activity be performed, may include directing how it is to be performed.
participates
Takes part or has a share in a project, group.
protects
Maintains status or integrity of projects, ideas.
serves
Complies with the commands and demands of a supervisor, group.
shows
Proposes, presents or demonstrates an idea as workable or desirable.
suggests
Offers for consideration or action.

Research Verbs

accepts
Gives admittance or approval to.
accumulates
Gathers or amass.
acquires
Comes into possession or control of an item or items.
arranges
for Makes preparations for, to plans.
buys
Acquires possession, ownership or rights to the use of services, items.
collects
Gathers or exacts information or materials from a number of persons or sources.
compiles
Puts together information or assembles data in a new form.
delivers
Sends or brings a desired object.
distributes
Delivers or hands out to several or many.
exchanges
Gives and receives reciprocally.
forwards
Sends goods or information onward.
furnishes
Provides or equips with what is needed.
gathers
Brings together or collects parts of a group.
gets
Obtains or receives.
gives
Grants, yields or presents to another.
informs
Communicates knowledge to others.
inquires
Asks or searches into.
issues
Makes available through distribution.
keeps
Preserves or maintains in a good and orderly condition.
mails
Sends by postal service or emails.
notifies
Gives notice or reports on an occurrence or information.
obtains
Gains or possess. Collects, learns, gains
procures
Gets possession or obtains by particular care and effort.
provides
Supplies support to meet a need, make available.
pulls
Demands or obtains advantage by use of exertion or influence.
purchases
Gains or acquires by labor, money.
recalls
Calls back or cancels.
receives
Comes into possession of or acquires an item, idea.
recruits
Increases numbers of a group or bringing in new members.
renders
Delivers or hands down.
reports
Gives an account or makes a written summary or statement.
secures
Puts beyond hazard or receives lasting control.
sells
Gives up property in exchange for money.
sends
Delivers or dispatches as means of communication or delivery.
solicits
Makes a petition or request for services, money.
submits
Yields or surrenders to authority.
supplies
Makes materials available for use.
takes
Gets or seizes into possession.
transfers
Passes over from one person to another.
withdraws
Backs away or removes.

Resources used to develop this document