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  4. Unspecified Verbs

What activity is taking place

In every sentence we speak an action is being described which is specified by a verb. In the sentence “I walk to the store”, the action taking place is walking. Like the subject, the action can be stated specifically or generally. In this example, we know that the action is walking, but we don’t know if it is a fast or slow walk, or even what route I am taking in my walk to the store.

What verbs can hide

Consider another example. Let’s say you receive a notice in the mail saying that the city is planning on improving public transportation in your neighborhood. This is generally good news. You will be able to get around the city easier, your property value will increase, and it will be easier for people to visit you. However, this information left out some important information — it didn’t specify how public transportation would be improved. If it involves building a subway under your house you may not be so happy. Furthermore, it could mean years of road construction which would make transportation much worse in the short term.

Clarifying the action

In order to better understand how something is happening, ask the questions “How specifically”. This will provide more information about how something is happening which will better inform you.

Unspecified Verb Summary

Verbs specify what action is taking place.

Verbs can hide important information about how something is happening.

To find more information ask “How specifically?”

Related Pages

Unspecified Nouns
Unspecified Verbs
Modal Operators of Possibility
Modal Operators of Necessity
Universal Quantifiers
Complex Equivalence
Cause and Effect
Mind Reading