Whether you’re writing for business, creative writing, or copywriting, you’ll want to ensure your readers understand what you mean. The reader might misinterpret what you are trying to say if your words are vague and don’t add any additional detail to your sentences.
Using specific verbs and adjectives that get across the meaning accurately is the best way to improve your writing. They can also help you write more concisely and provide a better reader experience.
If you are learning the English language, strong forms and weak forms of verbs and adjectives are different from what we will discuss in this article. We’re going to focus on words that add detail to your writing, whereas strong forms and weak forms refer to the stress on words when they’re spoken.
This article will show you the difference between strong words and weak words and provide some example phrases and words for you to use in your writing.
What’s the Difference Between Strong Words vs Weak Words?
Weak words are abstract and have little to no meaning when used on their own. They add nothing to your sentence and do not convey the impact or meaning you are aiming for.
Some verbs are weak and require additional details or adverbs to get the point across. They can be grammatically correct to use, but you can improve the clarity of your writing by swapping them for a strong verb.
Strong verbs are concrete and provide a precise detail your reader will understand with no additional context. They don’t require an adverb to show the intended meaning.
Here are some examples of strong verbs vs weak verbs:
Weak: She walked quietly to avoid waking the baby.
Strong: She tiptoed to avoid waking the baby.
Weak: He inhaled sharply at the pain.
Strong: He gasped at the pain.
Even though all adjectives are categorized as descriptive words, there are weak adjectives that don’t provide specific details. Most writers add extra words, such as “really,” “so,” and “very,” but this doesn’t stop the description from being vague.
Strong adjectives give the reader a clearer picture in their mind of what is being described. They make the sentence more interesting and improve the readability because you won’t be using redundant phrases.
Here are some examples of weak adjectives vs strong adjectives:
Weak: The music in the club was very loud.
Strong: The music in the club was deafening.
Weak: After a long day, he was really tired.
Strong: After a long day, he was exhausted.
60 Strong Words in English
Here is a list of 30 strong verbs you can use in speaking and writing:
Here are 30 strong adjectives to better express details in your sentence:
60 Weak Words in English
Here are 30 weak verbs you should avoid using:
Here is a list of 30 adjectives you might want to replace in your writing:
How ProWritingAid Can Help You Use Strong Words
ProWritingAid can help you check your writing for any weak words that could be swapped out for stronger words. There are several features and reports you can use to edit your sentences for clarity.
If you run the Style Report, ProWritingAid will highlight any examples of weak verbs and adjectives in your writing. If you hover over the suggestion, you’ll see a pop-up with a stronger alternative you can add by clicking on it.
Another option when you find a weak word in your writing is to double-click on it to open the Word Explorer. You’ll be presented with a selection of synonyms to pick from. Once you’ve picked an alternative word, run the Style Check again to ensure it is a strong word.
If you cannot find a suitable synonym, and you think the entire sentence could do with being rewritten, you can use the Rephrase feature. Simply highlight the sentence, and you’ll see the Rephrase button appear. Clicking on it will bring up some options for rewriting.
When using the Rephrase feature, click on the Sensory option to see suggestions that add more concrete descriptions to your writing. This will ensure you’re using strong words, so the reader can easily understand your sentence.
If you’re looking for more writing tips that will help you identify strong words and weak words in your writing, check out some of the other articles on the ProWritingAid blog.