How to Detect Hidden Verbs

A common problem when using the English language is that people tend to use a noun in defining an action instead of using just a verb. This method can cause hidden verbs. If you look at the basics, a verb is a word or complex phrases that makes assertions. Verbs bring whatever you write into life. They provide direction to your sentence. It makes your texts more interesting and keeps your message a lot more interesting. Using a hidden verb in a sentence can bring unsatisfactory effect especially if you are aiming for clarity.

What is a hidden verb?

A hidden verb is a verb that was converted into a noun. For it to make perfect sense, it sometimes needs another verb. The reason why readers do not favor hidden verbs is that it makes the verbs less effective. It also utilizes more words to convey a message while a shorter one is very possible.

Here is a summary why hidden verbs should be avoided:

  • They make your work sound uninteresting, boring and even pompous.

  • They do not show what the action really is. Readers may think that nothing really happened.

  • Sentences with hidden verbs are much longer because they use supporting words. Sentences with pure verbs are shorter and clearer. They are easier to read.

Hidden Forms

Hidden verbs come in two distinct forms. Most of them utilize word endings such as –ment, -tion, and –ance. These word endings are attached to verbs to transform them into nouns. Once converted, hidden verbs utilizes verbs such as achieve, give, reach, take, and make to convey to convey their intended meanings. You can also see hidden verbs between the words “the” and “of.”

Most of the time, hidden verbs are a part of a verb-plus-noun phrase. Take these examples: make a pretence, undertake an examination, reach an agreement. The following are examples of sentences that became shorter and clearer after the hidden verbs are uncovered.

 

Hidden: Althea made a pretence of caring for Joy.

Uncovered: Althea pretended to care for Joy.

 

Hidden: The other department will undertake an examination of the evidences.

Uncovered: The other department will examine the evidences.

 

Hidden: The warring tribes of the desert plains finally reached an agreement to create border lines.

Uncovered: The warring tribes of the desert plains agreed to create border lines.

 

Hidden: They took the decision to force their way out of the dungeon.

Uncovered: They decided to force their way out of the dungeon.

 

Hidden: I have been in contact with the leader of the fighter’s guild in the northern outpost.

Uncovered: I contacted the leader of the fighter’s guild in the northern outpost.

 

Hidden: The Wordslinger group has expressed an intention to find hidden words.

Uncovered: The Wordslinger group intends  to a find hidden word.

 

Hidden: The jail guards promised to effect improvements in the security system.

Uncovered: The jail guards promised to improve the security system.

 

Hidden: The governing nobles of this region carried out a review of the tax collections.

Uncovered: The governing nobles of this region reviewed the tax collections.

 

Hidden: The fence carried out an appraisal of the stolen royal artifacts.

Uncovered: The fence appraised the stolen royal artifacts.