Shades of Meaning in Verbs

Using precise terms will make you a better communicator.

One way to be more precise is by choosing words with the appropriate level of intensity.

For example, think of the verbs rain, drizzle, and pour. Rain isn’t very precise. Telling me it’s raining doesn’t give me much information. Is it raining a lot, or just a little bit. Do I really need my umbrella?

But if you tell me it’s drizzling or pouring, I have a more accurate picture of what’s going on. (Drizzle means that it’s raining just a little bit, and pour means that it’s raining very hard.)

These differences between similar words are called shades of meaning.

Here are 10 charts showing the shades of meaning between similar verbs.

Also see Shades of Meaning in Adjectives.

Also see Shades of Meaning in Adjectives.

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Categorized as Synonyms

By Bradford Jones

Hi, I'm Brad. I've spent the last seven years teaching English and creating websites for English learners and teachers. I recently moved from Costa Rica to Orlando, Florida, where I teach intensive English classes at a state college. If you'd like to contact me, I can be reached via email at bradfordcjones@gmail.com.